So when America’s Walking Club - AVA.ORG started a special program to walk at least 4 K’s in all 14 states that the A.P. trail passes through, I was immediately on board. Once we signed up for the Special Program, we completed the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia all in one week a couple of summers ago. Those trails were a good taste of what was to come.
Georgia: We walked part of the trail near Helena, Georgia, a destination in its own right. Helena is a German theme town in the Georgia Appalachian Mountains. We did the town walk also, which I highly recommend. We walked this with a group of walkers from Georgia and the AVA Legend Bob Gambert.
Tennessee: The highest point on the A.P. special program is in the Smoky Mountains National Park is New Found Gap 5046-feet. This was a leisurely walk along the mountain ridge. 2.5 K’s out northbound and 2.5k’s back southbound. Too bad, it was in a driving rainstorm that was in the process of turning into a snowstorm. It was still a fun walk.
North Carolina: This walk started in Hot Springs, NC, a through-hikers rest station and fun little town. We hiked along the French Broad River and then the Lovers Leap Lookout. Afterward, we had lunch in the Artisun Gallery and Cafe. Virginia: Damascus was a walk through a small laid back resort town. The trail runs through the middle of town. This was one of the only walks that had a physical walk box. It was located at the Damascus Old Mill Inn. Its also home to the Virginia Creeper Bike Trail.
We originally wanted to finish this special program in the summer of 2020. But unfortunately, the pandemic had other plans. So we had to skip a year. Our first stop was Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where both the walks in West Virginia and Maryland originated from the same town.
Summer of 2021Maryland: One of the highlights of our walk yesterday into Maryland was hiking on the C & O Canal Towpath. This is now a significant biking and hiking destination in the D.C. area. We hope to stop and ride some of it back from Maine.
“The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, abbreviated as the C&O Canal and occasionally called the “Grand Old Ditch,” operated from 1831 until 1924 along the Potomac River between Washington, D.C., and Cumberland, Maryland. The canal’s principal cargo was coal from the Allegheny Mountains. Construction on the 184.5-mile (296.9 km) canal began in 1828 and ended in 1850 with completing a 50-mile (80 km) stretch to Cumberland, although the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad had already reached Cumberland in 1842. Rising and falling over an elevation change of 605 feet (184 meters) required the construction of 74 canal locks and 11 aqueducts to cross major rivers.”