Walk Across Maryland (WAM-31)
GOOD NEWS! We're doing at least one more WAM event. WAM-31 will take place
on June 3, 4 & 5, 2016.
Thirty years ago, I had a crazy idea. Karen and I had recently moved to western Maryland, and I was intrigued to find that we lived just a few miles from the Appalachian Trail.
I had always loved hiking, so I decided to host a hike of the Maryland AT...a distance of about 40 miles, that we could cover over a three-day weekend.
Besides being new to Maryland, I was also new to Mensa. I decided to host an event with Maryland Mensa to cover the 40 miles. That first year, we had a total of four hikers.
One thing led to a bunch of other things, and it turns out that lots of people enjoyed coming on the hike. Mensans and friends have joined together, covering the same ground every year, for 30 years now.
Karen and I have done the hike every year. Each of our four kids grew up with the AT hike as a tradition every spring. Another hiker, who has also done the walk every year, got married, moved to California, had a daughter...and he and his family have also walked across Maryland every year. The daughter is a Stanford grad student, and she's hiked the WAM every year of her life (although she was carried for most or all of a few early years).
You are cordially invited to join us this year, for our 31st annual hike.
Here's some of what you need to know:
You can carry whatever you'd like; our only requirement is that you have enough water and food--meals and snacks--to get yourself through the hike. Most of us treat the hike as a series of three one-day-hikes, meaning that we don't try to carry tents, sleeping bags, or other nighttime gear with us. If you have a masochistic streak, or if you're getting in shape for a backpacking adventure, feel free to load on the weight. But if you'd like to leave most of your gear in our support cars, and reclaim it at the end of the day, that's what most of your fellow hikers will be doing.
You're welcome to join us for one, two, or all three days. Our support crew will return you to your car. If you need to stop before you've finished a full day, we'll try to help you, but you may be on your own to backtrack or check with Uber to return to your vehicle.
Most of the Maryland AT is pretty well supported with cellphone access...in fact, some cell towers share the ridge with the AT.
This hike is not a commercial venture, and the level of support is not what you might expect if you were working with a commercial outfitter.
This hike is a group of friends who like hiking and being outdoors.
Over the years, we've added a number of amenities to the hike. But please don't forget that our support is provided by volunteers, and limit your expectations to the times and places that will be announced at the beginning of each day.
Humans of all ages and descriptions are welcome to participate in any or all of the hike. Other animals are not welcome unless they are well-trained, and under the complete control of their human. If your animal does not meet this standard, i.e., under your complete control, your animal will not be permitted to mingle with other WAM hikers on the trail or at WAM meals, campsites, or relief locations.
So what kind of support can you expect?
Support cars will meet the hikers at the beginning and end of each day's hiking, and they'll occasionally cross paths with us during the day, as well. If you're not sure you're ready for a three-day, 40-mile long ordeal, you can bail out anytime you see a support car.
And the support cars provide more than emergency transportation. They bring us goodies. Treats. Water. Cool drinks. Popsicles. They are the embodiment of trail magic.
We'll announce the hours for each meeting place at the beginning of each day. Please do your best to meet the support cars during the stated hours; if you're running behind, you might find that the support cars have left before your arrival.
We charge fees to pay for the support cars, the treats, and the meals we provide. For three days, it's $45 per person. For Sunday only, it's $30 per person, and Friday and Saturday are $10 per day per person. You should bring your own gear, and food for all the meals we don't provide.
We'll stop each night along the trail at campsites, where hikers are welcome and encouraged to sleep in tents, in AT shelters, or under the stars.
If you'd rather stay in a commercial motel, or if you want to come out a day early and need a place to stay, we recommend that you stay in Hagerstown, Maryland. It's less than 10 miles from the Friday night and Saturday night camps, and perhaps 16 miles from Friday's starting point. If you're interested in making hotel reservations or if you're curious about what you might find in the Hagerstown area, just click here for a guide to Hagerstown.
To stay in Harpers Ferry, where the hike concludes on Sunday evening, you have lots of choices. Regrettably, the venerable Hilltop House, a shabbily-chic 1880s vintage hotel, is closed indefinitely. There's an Econo Lodge, a Quality Hotel, and several charming bed and breakfasts in town. For more information about options in Harpers Ferry, click here.
To learn more about the trip, click on the buttons on the left.