The sun was out for a change and it was the perfect weather for a walk after a week of constant downpours. The river and the creek were running high. The puddles along the trail did little to dampen the spirit, perhaps they added a positive element to the experience in spite of our complaints.
We met her on the trail while walking north of Riley’s Lock on the C&O canal towpath. She overtook us on her bicycle shortly into our walk. The panniers on the bike were loaded with stuff, and I remember thinking to myself that she must be riding a long way. She seemed to be riding at a very relaxed pace.
We found her again when we reached the Horsepen Branch Hiker/Biker campsite where she had stopped for a break.
It was just coincidence that we had decided to leave the trail to try to find a way down to the river side from this campsite. As we were walking by I asked her where she was going. She informed us that she was headed for Pittsburgh. We got to talking.
She was from San Francisco and she was doing this ride on her own. She thought she might complete the ride in 8 days, but she really was not stuck on a schedule. She was camping out at the Hiker/Biker sites along the towpath during the nights. She was not clear yet on where she was going to stay along the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP). Her bike could be folded and she figured that she could pack it up and take a bus if anything went wrong anywhere along the way. When I spoke about the possible challenge crossing the mountains after Cumberland, she informed us that she covered those kinds of elevations when biking to work in the mornings. This ride should not be a problem!
We heard that she had just biked from Washington DC to Richmond and Williamsburg in Virginia. She was really enjoying the experience of riding the trail after having been on the roads during that ride.
We thought she was pretty gutsy to do this kind of a ride on her own, and her mindset in tackling something like this was quite refreshing. She did not appear to be naive about the kind of risks involved in this kind of an endeavor, but I could not be sure. In the end we wished her good luck and parted ways.
This encounter was a bonus to the wonderful walk that we had.