FENDERS! Parts of the C&O are like riding through Dagobah to yoda’s house, so if its rained in the last week, you will get muddy. And if it rains on the PA portion of the trail, you’ll get that trail grit all over your legs and back, and you’ll have a crunchy drivetrain all the way home.
Have you camped on the C&O before? If you haven’t the campsites have wells, and the water out of most of them is actually pretty good (all of the ones with handles have past recent safety tests, but some taste better than others).
Mick, can you clarify about the detour at Williamsport? Which travel direction does it pertain to? We’re probably going to take a detour over to Antietam anyway to see the battlefield, so this would be good to know. Also, is the food thing a bear precaution?
If you are coming from DC, leave the trail at Antietam (not sure how to recognize the place) or a few miles earlier at Lock 37, where there is only one road out (more like a driveway), named “Mountain lock Road”.
Take Harper’s Ferry Rd to Sharpsburg, then Rt 65 through the battlefiled to Bakersvile Rd to Rt 63, to Williamsport.
In the other diredction, just reverse it.
The trail takes a detour that is unnecessarily hilly a few miles East of Williamsport, anyhow, might as well skip it.