the 65th anniversary
of the Douglas Hike
By Steve Dean
Join us for a weekend of camaraderie, great food and canal hiking during May 3rd through 5th as we celebrate the 65th anniversary of Justice William O. Douglas’ memorable hike to save the C&O Canal. This is the third full weekend celebration we’ve hosted, and the previous events in 2014 and 2016 were well received.
This year’s Douglas celebration will feature two nights of camping at a private campground in Williamsport and two days of bus-supported towpath hiking. For non-campers there is a choice of convenient nearby lodging, so you don’t have to miss the fun. The traditional Douglas dinner and program will be held Saturday at the Potomac Fish And Game Club.
We will be camping at the Hagerstown/Antietam KOA campground, located about 4 miles from the center of Williamsport at the end of a scenic country road. This site features campsites along the Conococheague Creek. On Friday and Saturday night we will have gatherings and happy hours. There are clean bathrooms, showers, a laundry room, plenty of parking, as well as electricity and water at each campsite.
There are also accommodations at the campground for people who prefer to have a roof over their heads. They can reserve cabins located within yards of the tent sites. For those who desire more comfort, the Red Roof Inn in Williamsport is about 5 miles from the campground. See the article on page 5 for further discussion of the arrangements, costs and travel directions for the weekend.
The weekend will feature two days of hiking on the towpath. Weekend participants can arrive at the campground Friday afternoon after 2 p.m. Breakfast will be served at the campground on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Packed lunches from the Desert Rose Café, with a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian selections, will be provided for the hikers on both days as part of the weekend package.
On Saturday hikers will meet at the Four Locks boat ramp and travel via bus to one of three upstream starting points. The bus for long- and medium-distance hikers will depart at 9:30 a.m. The long hikers will start at the Bowles House in Hancock for a walk of just over 14 miles back to Four Locks. The medium hikers will start at the lower end of Little Pool for a walk of just over 11 miles.
The short hikers’ bus will depart from Four Locks at 11 a.m. The bus will make two stops. The first is at Ernstville Road, leaving them with a 5.75 mile walk back to Four Locks. The second short hiker bus stop will be at Fort Frederick, for a 3.6 mile walk.
All of the Saturday hikers will appreciate lush green wooded parts of the canal and blue bells as they approach Four Locks. The medium and long hikers will enjoy the expanses of Big Pool, with its varied wildlife. The longest hikes will provide views of Little Pool and a mixed landscape of woods and farmland.
On Sunday all hikers will meet at the Big Slackwater boat ramp parking area at 10 a.m. A bus will take hikers to one of three destinations. The first stop will be at Lock 38, for a 12.6 mile return hike. The second stop will be at Snyders Landing, for an 8.75 mile trek back to Big Slackwater. The last stop will be at Taylors Landing, for a 3.5 mile return hike.
All Sunday hikers will be greeted by the roar of Dam 4 and a fine view of the river as they approach the end of their hikes. The medium hikers will also see Lock 40 and some interesting and accessible culverts. The longest hikers will also pass Locks 39 and 40. Hike maps and directions to the bus meeting points will be provided to the Saturday and Sunday hikers.
The Douglas Dinner will take place Saturday. We will gather at the Potomac Fish And Game Club at 4:30 p.m. for a cash bar happy hour, to be followed at 6:00 by a dinner buffet and an evening presentation. The presentation will feature Champ Zumbrun, for an engaging discussion of an extraordinary story, through the eyes of Captain Michael Cresap, of the invaluable contributions made by crack elite riflemen from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania who served as “George Washington’s Continental Army Shock Troops.” Some of the men from Cresap’s rifle company traveled between Oldtown and Frederick along sections of present C&O Canal on their march to Boston and helped to save Washington’s army when they were at their weakest during the Siege of Boston in 1775.
Don’t miss this opportunity to experience western Maryland, walk the towpath, and enjoy the fellowship of other Association members as we celebrate the Douglas Hike.
Food, Lodging and Activity Details
The Douglas Memorial Weekend offers options for participation in the full weekend, or participation only in the hikes or in the Annual Douglas Dinner. The events are outlined in the article on page 4. A registration form is included in this issue of Along the Towpath or you can pay online at www.candocanal.org/calendar.html. The reservations must be received by April 17, 2019, after which no cancellations or additions will be honored. Note that there are no refunds for prepaid meal reservations and prepaid bus reservations. Be sure to check the Association website at www.candocanal.org for any updates regarding the Douglas Weekend. Please note that participation in the full weekend package is limited to C&O Canal Association members and their guests, but the hikes and dinner are open to the public. If you have questions, contact Steve Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meal and Hike Participation Options
Full Package: The full weekend package for meals and hikes is available for a cost of $75. This includes dinner for Friday night, breakfast for Saturday and Sunday, and packed lunches for the two hikes. Additionally, the package includes the Douglas Dinner Saturday night and fees for the hiker buses.
Douglas Dinner: Those who do not want to participate in the full weekend can participate in the Douglas Dinner for $20.
Hiker-Bus Fees: The hiker-bus fee is $10 per day, when paid in advance, for those who do not participate in the full package. The fee is $12 if paid on the day of the hike. Please bring exact change.
KOA Campground: Camp Sites: 12 tent camp sites are on hold until April 7. This is in advance of the registration deadline, notify the program coordinator by April 7 to reserve a tent site. The sites have water and electricity. The sites are $20 per person for the two nights. The KOA requires that campers pay the Association directly for the camp site fees. The cost of a tent site is separate from and in addition to the package.
Cabins: Six cabins are on hold until April 7. Four are one-room cabins and two are two-room cabins. All cabins have electricity and no bathrooms. Linens are not provided. The one-room cabins sleep up to four people. The two-room cabins sleep up to six people. The cost of a cabin is separate from and in addition to the package, and is paid directly to KOA. To reserve a cabin call Sherri at 301-331-2583. Identify yourself with the group name “C&O Canal Association” to receive a discounted rate.
Lodging at the Williamsport Red Roof Inn: To reserve a room, call the hotel directly at 301-582-3500.
Hagerstown/Antietam KOA: The campground is at 11759 Snug Harbor Lane, Williamsport, Maryland 21795. A contact number is 301-223-9871 and further information is available at www. hagerstownkoa.com. From I-70, take exit 24 for MD Rt. 63 south. Turn left onto MD-63 south, go 0.4 miles, then turn right onto Everly Rd. Turn left in 500 feet onto Rock Hill Road, then turn right in 0.2 miles onto Kemps Mill Road. Proceed 1.4 miles on Kemps Mill Road and continue onto Snug Harbor Lane.
Red Roof Inn: The Red Roof Inn is located at 310 East Potomac Street, Williamsport, Maryland 21795. It is easily located after exiting I-81 Exit 2.
Potomac Fish And Game Club: 14241 Falling Waters Rd., Williamsport, MD 21795