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Gap c & o

Old 06-26-23, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl
The best time to go is during an extended dry period. Of course, that's typically not known in advance. Finishing riding on the canal about 6 days ago would have been ideal. Beginning to ride on the C&O 6 days ago would have turned into a mudfest as the region went from a mini-drought to localized flooding in just a few days. One advantage of the summer is that unpaved trails dry out much more quickly than in cooler temperatures. Water routinely sits in small pools on the C&O towpath in DC during the winter. Perhaps areas upstream which have been resurfaced fare better now after rain than they did in the past.
Yep, it was nice right up until the last couple days of spring, with only a couple hot days.

It's been a monsoon around here the last five days with the exception of a cool, humid Thursday. I did get some riding in Sunday late morning. Poured within an hour of me getting back. (I don't ride far, just about 4 miles round trip)

Still pouring.......
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Old 06-26-23, 05:32 PM
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Well, I prefer riding when it is warm, or hot. When it rains it is still comfortable. In October when the rain comes, it is a cold rain. I hate cold rain, and temps at night can be in the upper 30s and lower 40s. I had nights like that on my tour across Northern Indiana and Ohio in June of 2019. It would get into the 40s at night. Not bad, but you have to be prepared. I don't see the mid to upper 80s to be particularly hot. I grew up in Iowa where it would get into the 90s and 100s and be humid as well. I ran a track meet when it was 106F. I moved to Pittsburgh in 1985, and that summer I kept waiting for summer to hit. It was in the 80s and I was waiting for it to get warmer to use the pool. I asked when summer hit, and they said this, "This is it."

The GAP and the C&O is heavily wooded. There is plenty of shade if you need it, and a lot of the trail itself is in the shade. There will always be bugs, especially on the C&O because, well, water.
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Old 06-26-23, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes
I grew up in Iowa where it would get into the 90s and 100s and be humid as well. I ran a track meet when it was 106F.
Oof. When I crossed the country BITD we spent maybe 4 days riding in Iowa in late July. It was miserably hot and humid. The high in Dyersville was something like 102. None of our group of 13 rode out to the Field of Dreams. We were hosted in Davenport for 2 days. Air conditioning was such a relief. During our rest day I rode to Moline, IL to visit the John Deere Pavilion. I roasted on the way back to the house. The day before we got to Davenport we cut the day short after we were invited to stay in an air conditioned senior center in Oxford Jct.

I honestly donít know how I survived IA, IL and IN. In Fletcher Lake, IN, the forecast low was 85, and there was no breeze. I slept naked in my tent with a shirt covering my groin because my tent fly was off.

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Old 06-27-23, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by StarBiker
That's me. And today's weather is just horrible.
The thing is everyone has a different idea of what great or horrible weather looks like. I rode from San Diego, CA to Pensacola, FL with a young guy who grew up in south Florida. It was mid Feb thru mid Mar and there was frost many nights. It generally got into the 50s pretty quickly most days, but never got real warm, certainly not hot much if at all. I thought it was great. He hated it. He complained a lot and was kind of miserable. The last or close to the last day it finally got hot and humid and I said something about it being oppressive. He was incredulous. He said, "Are you kidding? This is the first nice day of the whole trip." Then after thinking for a moment, he noted, "This is the first time the whole trip I have heard you complain at all about the weather." I'll note that the trip included at least one day of 50F with wind and hard rain and at least one night in the mid teens F.

My point being that it all depends on the individual. To a large extent we can tolerate a lot that is outside what we prefer though. I'd prefer to not need to ride with temps above the upper mid 60s or maybe the low 70s if the humidity is very low, but I have needed to tolerate 110F+ on some tours. When you plan multimonth tours weeks ahead you get what you get. Also when you try to thread the needle between passes and services opening as snowpack is cleared and before summer heat kickes in you can't always get it right. I know that even when I plan based of historic temps and predicted openings I seem to very often see record heat when/where I tour. It seems to find me.

These days I live in Tallahassee so I live with hot humid weather. for daily riding I mostly trail ride starting before dawn with a helmet mounted light when it is hot. It is still warmer than I prefer, but I manage. If I do a long tour like weeks or months long I just live with the heat figuring it is unavoidable. I do try to choose a cooler time for some routes though. You won't see me at Needles or Big Bend in August.
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Old 06-27-23, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
The thing is everyone has a different idea of what great or horrible weather looks like.
You're reminding me that I once went for an overnight on the C&O during the summer with a friend who had a very different tolerance for mosquitoes from mine. Neither of us brought any repellent and while I cowered in my tent, he just sat outside letting mosquitoes bite him for the whole evening. I was so miserable that I had my wife pick me up the next morning and left my friend to ride back home on his own.
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Old 06-27-23, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
The thing is everyone has a different idea of what great or horrible weather looks like. I rode from San Diego, CA to Pensacola, FL with a young guy who grew up in south Florida. It was mid Feb thru mid Mar and there was frost many nights. It generally got into the 50s pretty quickly most days, but never got real warm, certainly not hot much if at all. I thought it was great. He hated it. He complained a lot and was kind of miserable. The last or close to the last day it finally got hot and humid and I said something about it being oppressive. He was incredulous. He said, "Are you kidding? This is the first nice day of the whole trip." Then after thinking for a moment, he noted, "This is the first time the whole trip I have heard you complain at all about the weather." I'll note that the trip included at least one day of 50F with wind and hard rain and at least one night in the mid teens F.

My point being that it all depends on the individual. To a large extent we can tolerate a lot that is outside what we prefer though. I'd prefer to not need to ride with temps above the upper mid 60s or maybe the low 70s if the humidity is very low, but I have needed to tolerate 110F+ on some tours. When you plan multimonth tours weeks ahead you get what you get. Also when you try to thread the needle between passes and services opening as snowpack is cleared and before summer heat kickes in you can't always get it right. I know that even when I plan based of historic temps and predicted openings I seem to very often see record heat when/where I tour. It seems to find me.

These days I live in Tallahassee so I live with hot humid weather. for daily riding I mostly trail ride starting before dawn with a helmet mounted light when it is hot. It is still warmer than I prefer, but I manage. If I do a long tour like weeks or months long I just live with the heat figuring it is unavoidable. I do try to choose a cooler time for some routes though. You won't see me at Needles or Big Bend in August.
I hate heat. Always have. Sweaty butt riding, everything sticking to me. Christ I went outside to get some water out of the planters this morning and in 90 seconds had three mosquito bites. I hate this time of year.

The tolerance is folks wanting to ride thousands of miles........

I like the pics in this sub forum. Mainly what I come on this site for...

A side note unrelated to this thread...I really need a proper distance bike which I don't have, and since my knee bothers me if I am not careful for any long distance I am not spending the money. I would rather spend the money on a modern integrated amp, than an expensive bike. Something I know I can use until I croak, and will use all the time. (I pull everything out of thrifts)

BOL to the OP.
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Old 06-28-23, 07:34 AM
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Careful out there......https://www.weather.gov/hazstat/
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Old 06-28-23, 03:33 PM
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I did it 3 years ago over July 4th weekend. I would definitely recommend riding in a cooler month, as the 90-degree heat and relatively uninteresting landscape for 90% of the trail made for a particularly grueling 3-day tour. There were plenty of campsites and water wells along the way, though the water was very bitter due to what I presume to be iodine that was added. Brunswick and Shepherdstown were some nice towns along the river worth checking out. Little Orleans was also quaint and made me feel like I was back in rural SC.
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Old 06-28-23, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by denizen2
There were plenty of campsites and water wells along the way, though the water was very bitter due to what I presume to be iodine that was added.
They no longer are putting iodine in the wells as of this year. This means that you have to carry some means of treating water, either chemically, or extra fuel for boiling it.

On the other hand, it also means that all the pumps are always open- there no longer is the danger of running out of water, and finding the next couple wells have had the pump handles removed (they used to remove the pump handles when the water in a given well was not potable).
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Old 06-28-23, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ignant666
They no longer are putting iodine in the wells as of this year. This means that you have to carry some means of treating water, either chemically, or extra fuel for boiling it.

On the other hand, it also means that all the pumps are always open- there no longer is the danger of running out of water, and finding the next couple wells have had the pump handles removed (they used to remove the pump handles when the water in a given well was not potable).
Ugh, why did they stop? I hated the iodine taste, but that was easily remedied with some Gatorade powder.
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Old 06-29-23, 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by phughes
Ugh, why did they stop? I hated the iodine taste, but that was easily remedied with some Gatorade powder.
The water was pretty terrible even with gatorade powder. If it tastes okay now I would be fine with running it through a filter. Carrying a Sawyer Squeeze, Mini, or similar and using it isn't to big of a hassle. Better than dealing with a taste that made it pretty unpatalable despite being safe before.

The question is was the bad taste due to the added iodine or do some of the wells just naturally taste terrible?

Aditionally there is some question of the safety of iodine use. It is generally considered safe in low dosage for short term usage, but I recall a couple I knew back in the 70s who biked all around asia for a very extended period. They used iodine and both later developed thyroid issues that they blamed on the iodine. I have some minor thyroid issues already and would prefer not taking any chances with even short term iodine usage as a result.

As bad as it tasted I'd just as soon not trust them on the dosage. The fact that they stopped makes me wonder if they had enough concerns about their iodine usage that they were more worried about it than the danger of the untreated water wrt liability.

What are they doing now? Is there a treat, filter or boil sign? If so is it only on the ones that were treated before or all of them. As I recall it was only some that tasted bad, at least decades ago when I was last there.
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Old 06-29-23, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
What are they doing now? Is there a treat, filter or boil sign? If so is it only on the ones that were treated before or all of them.
There is signage on most of the pumps indicating that the water is untreated. A few of the pumps have treated water and different signage reflecting that.

The untreated water is definitely different from before. At Huckleberry Hill last month, the water was clear until it was heated and it then turned a deep brown color. I thought maybe it was due to algae or some other source of protein that would denature at boiling point.
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Old 06-29-23, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ericoseveins
There is signage on most of the pumps indicating that the water is untreated. A few of the pumps have treated water and different signage reflecting that.

The untreated water is definitely different from before. At Huckleberry Hill last month, the water was clear until it was heated and it then turned a deep brown color. I thought maybe it was due to algae or some other source of protein that would denature at boiling point.
How was the taste? I could barely drink from some of the pumps before. It is hard to stay hydrated when the water tastes really terrible.I wonder if a filter would have removed that stuff.

When I was there it was especially bad because I had no idea which ones were bad. If I had known I might have stocked up in the places where it was okay or even filtered water from the river or side creeks. I am really not that fussy about the taste of water, I rode across the country twice and did a lot of long tours and the only places where I couldn't tolerate the local water the locals didn't drink it either. That was pretty rare, like where it was sulphur spring water.
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Old 06-29-23, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
How was the taste? I could barely drink from some of the pumps before. It is hard to stay hydrated when the water tastes really terrible.I wonder if a filter would have removed that stuff.
It was woodsy, honestly I don't know how else to describe it. The brown color was really off-putting but I didn't have a filter, just an ultraviolet water treatment lamp and my stove. I guess I haven't been really that bothered by taste of the iodine treatment, the water from the treated pumps on the Canal tasted just fine to me as they have in the past. The intensity of the iodine flavor does seem pretty variable though.
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Old 06-29-23, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ericoseveins
It was woodsy, honestly I don't know how else to describe it. The brown color was really off-putting but I didn't have a filter, just an ultraviolet water treatment lamp and my stove. I guess I haven't been really that bothered by taste of the iodine treatment, the water from the treated pumps on the Canal tasted just fine to me as they have in the past. The intensity of the iodine flavor does seem pretty variable though.
My recollection of the bad taste is from decades ago and I do not know if it was due to the iodine or not. I do recall it being spotty, some pumps had it and some didn't. I have no way of knowing for sure if it was even the treated ones, but it seems likely it was. I probably could/should have researched it ahead of time to plan on other sources where possible,
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Old 06-29-23, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
The water was pretty terrible even with gatorade powder. If it tastes okay now I would be fine with running it through a filter. Carrying a Sawyer Squeeze, Mini, or similar and using it isn't to big of a hassle. Better than dealing with a taste that made it pretty unpatalable despite being safe before.

The question is was the bad taste due to the added iodine or do some of the wells just naturally taste terrible?

Aditionally there is some question of the safety of iodine use. It is generally considered safe in low dosage for short term usage, but I recall a couple I knew back in the 70s who biked all around asia for a very extended period. They used iodine and both later developed thyroid issues that they blamed on the iodine. I have some minor thyroid issues already and would prefer not taking any chances with even short term iodine usage as a result.

As bad as it tasted I'd just as soon not trust them on the dosage. The fact that they stopped makes me wonder if they had enough concerns about their iodine usage that they were more worried about it than the danger of the untreated water wrt liability.

What are they doing now? Is there a treat, filter or boil sign? If so is it only on the ones that were treated before or all of them. As I recall it was only some that tasted bad, at least decades ago when I was last there.
Yeah, it was pretty bad, and the taste I got from it was definitely iodine. Now, whether or not it tastes okay without the iodine remains to be seen.
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Old 06-29-23, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes
Yeah, it was pretty bad, and the taste I got from it was definitely iodine. Now, whether or not it tastes okay without the iodine remains to be seen.
My guess is that stopping the treatment is budget-related. If you treat, you probably have to test periodically to make sure the treatment is working. That costs money. If you donít test and someone gets sick because the treatment system failed, you likely expose yourself to the potential of liability.

During a tour in Montana in 2016 I stayed at the fishing access campground in Ennis, on the Trans Am route. The water pump was closed. I had stayed there in 2000, when it was operational. I asked a maintenance worker what had happened. She told me they didnít have the money to test the water so they shut it off. Fortunately, the Lionís Club park was close by. It had potable water, but camping there was not allowed. The silver lining was that I decided to eat out and had the best walleye Iíve ever eaten.
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Old 06-30-23, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
My guess is that stopping the treatment is budget-related. If you treat, you probably have to test periodically to make sure the treatment is working. That costs money. If you don’t test and someone gets sick because the treatment system failed, you likely expose yourself to the potential of liability.
When I was researching the GAP&CO a few years back for a ride we did a couple years ago folks were complaining about all the pumps with the handles removed. I remember reading...somewhere(may have talked to the Park people)..that they removed the handles due to the iodine treatment not working well (no pun intended) enough. That can be interpreted many ways..but in the end, the groundwater is pretty bad and throwing lots of money and iodine at it wasn't going to make it better. That and, as you mention, attempting to treat it, though ineffectively, just invites liability.

..Vague memory from the research..and I could be confusing it with other articles, but I think there were some issues with this water that goes beyond killing bugs with iodine. can't really remember. Our planned solution at the time was to pack in extra water at certain points along the trail and skip reliance on the pumps even if they were open..

In the end, we bailed on the C&O as the day we rolled into Cumberland, after finishing the GAP, it rained 2+ inches and more was coming down-trail. We hopped the Amtrak and spent a few days(planned C&O trail days) in DC instead. Overall we had a great trip.
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Old 06-30-23, 01:51 PM
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I got used to the iodine, and actually kind of liked it. One thing I started doing was lubing the pumps. It makes a big difference in how easy it is to get the water. If I do it again, I'll carry some extra chain lube.
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Old 07-01-23, 11:12 PM
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From my experience GAP and C&O generally have good shade (compared to, for example, the Erie Canal) and are doable in the summer. OTOH the Paw Paw tunnel is anticipated to open mid-late summer.
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Old 07-04-23, 12:11 PM
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We rode the GAP once in the middle of July with one day of intermittent rain and another day of 5 hours of steady rain. That second day found us getting colder and colder. When we got to Ohiopyle, we used the restroom hand dryers to warm up, repeatedly hitting the buttons around the room until we got the temps up. I don't recall the outside temperature getting out of the 60's and being wet with the wind chill (and unprepared with no rain gear), it felt like hypothermia was setting in. All in the middle of July. The weather in Pennsylvania can be unpredictable.

My preferred temp riding around the city is in the 60's or upper 50's, if it's dry. Those temps scare off some people and the river trails feel more open with the lower crowds.
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Old 07-05-23, 02:21 PM
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^
The weather can get unpredictable in the mountains anywhere.

The GAP has a higher elevation at it's peak than the C&O.

The C&O peaks at over 600 Feet In Elevation, the GAP at over 1700 Feet.

You bet your bippy you could get some chilly rain in July on the GAP depending upon where you are on the trail.

One thing has surprised me about some of the comments. No rain gear, and no bug repellent. Both would be needed for any long distance.
Certainly not much to carry.

If I am using bug repellent I use lotion, not spray. Much better stuff, lasts longer, and takes much longer to wear off.

I used bug repellent lotion for almost 20 years working in an uncontrolled environment in the warmer months. Never got a bite with that stuff on.
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Old 07-05-23, 05:12 PM
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I rode from Pittsburgh to DC from May 8 to May 14, 2013. Temperature was good, but we had a lot of rain.



There were three of us. Tires ranged from 35mm to 50mm width, all of us were happy with our tire choices.
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Old 07-05-23, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I rode from Pittsburgh to DC from May 8 to May 14, 2013. Temperature was good, but we had a lot of rain.



There were three of us. Tires ranged from 35mm to 50mm width, all of us were happy with our tire choices.
We were in a drought until the last 10 days. Still about 5 Inches below for the year.......this is to the east, but it was quite dry in western Maryland to the east.

Spring was great around here, and mostly dry, and comfortable. Even into mid June it was nice. Then.....

Anyway, useful site for precip totals....https://www.cocorahs.org/ViewData/To...ipSummary.aspx
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Old 07-06-23, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by StarBiker
...
Anyway, useful site for precip totals....https://www.cocorahs.org/ViewData/To...ipSummary.aspx
I am more inclined to look at drought vs wet conditions instead of precip totals when I go somewhere. For Pennsylvania:
https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Curre...onitor.aspx?pa

USA map. You can click on a region, then state.
https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap.aspx

Updated weekly with a delay of a few days for analysis of the data, so it can be slow to update for recent large precip events.
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