Location: Potomac, Maryland. Originally known as Patawomeck. The ancestral home to the Patawomeck, Tutelo, Saponi, Shawnee, Ohio Valley tribes & likely more.
Round trip/Gain: 6ish miles/200ish elevation gain
So, this was my first big out of town Unlikely Hikers meet-up & group hike. It was ultimately a great experience and I met a lot of incredible people. I didn’t take the best photos, as I’m wont to do on group hikes because I’m too busy paying attention to everyone’s movements, but C&O Canal National Historic Park was lovely. There’s a tow path that runs through the park so that you can make almost any trail into a loop. That’s what we did with Sections C & B. We started in section C, then connected to the tow path, did section B, looped back up to the tow path and connected again with C. There are great maps linked below.
I did A TON of research, crowd-sourced, etc., on this trail before picking it because I didn’t have the time to do it once before we all got together. While this trail was awesome and I would absolutely do it again, it was not right for the group hike.
So Many Rock Scrambles.
Rock scrambles are not for everyone and it was super hot, 86 and humid in October?!?! Some of us really struggled.
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When I lead group hikes, I ask everyone to stay together. “No hiker left behind,” I say. It increases support, community and teamwork. It keeps the vibe right. I hang back to be able to see how everyone moves, gauge body language and be a supportive presence for the hikers who move slowly and deliberately. At the D.C. group hike, our group got separated near the end. The five of us in back, kept on at the pace that felt good for us. We were nearly finished when we came across another one of our hikers who was having trouble and ultimately needed medical attention. This person was alone. The five of us didn’t have to communicate that we would stick together and work this out and do whatever needed to be done, we just did it. Every single one of us played a part in working out this tricky situation none of us expected to be in. . One of us executively made a call for help when I wasn’t yet sure what to do. Two of us hiked out to bring a car closer in. Another, was a pillar of calm and compassion to lean on. . These are my people, my community. They embody what Unlikely Hikers is all about and they make it look damn good while they do it. . Location: Billy Goat Trail, C&O Canal National Historic Park, Maryland #billygoattrail . #sponsored #REI #ForceOfNature #OptOutside . First photo taken by @veggiepants