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Pack Horse Ford River Walk Returns

By Staff | Sep 6, 2013

A local end of summer tradition returns this weekend; the Pack Horse Ford River Walk will be held this Sunday, Sept. 8.

Original organizer and native Shepherdstown resident, Jay Hurley will once again lead the march toward the Potomac.

Though this year’s walk won’t feature the historic commentary of years past, Hurley said it will still be a fun opportunity to enjoy the river.

“It’s just a fun thing to do,” he said.

Those interested in joining the nearly two mile trip are instructed to meet at the “the wall,” in front of McMurran Hall, before the walk down river road to Pack Horse Ford.

At approximately 1 p.m. guests will ford the river on foot until they reach the C&O Canal’s Towpath on the Maryland side.

In what Hurley described as a “flotilla of unusual watercrafts,”

attendees will then make their way back to Shepherdstown to attend a potluck picnic near the boat ramp.

Those unable to take part in the “full adventure,” can simply come and attend the picnic at 2 p.m.

Hot dogs and hamburgers will be provided by Blue Moon Cafe, though guests are asked to bring a covered dish and beverages to share.

Town Council member and local resident Dave Springer has participated in the walk every year and said he looks forward to keeping the tradition alive.

“It’s just a real informal opportunity to get out and enjoy the river,” he said.

Organizers instruct those participating to bring proper river shoes and a towel, as well as a walking staff.

“The bottom is terribly uneven. There will be boulders on the bottom that you’ll have to negotiate.” Hurley said, emphasizing the need for proper supplies.

Though Hurley said the water at the ford is low and “meandering,” he said it can get up to three feet tall depending on rainfall.

“Typically people get their waist wet,” he said.

Hurley said the event has boasted more that 70 attendees, many of whom return each year, though new guests join all the time.

“You just never know,” he said.

The event is free and open to the public.