January mid-week bikepacking overnighter to Killiansburg Cave Campsite

10th – 11th January 2023

Taking inspiration from Alistair Humphreys with his microadventures, Beau Miles with his backyard adventures, and, my own brother, who has been a strong advocate for mid-week getaways, I headed out for a little overnight adventure of my own this week.

The idea is to leave after a normal work day, head out for your overnight adventure, and then return the following morning, so you can go back to work without missing a beat. Theoretically, it doesn’t eat into work time, and only requires a minimal amount of time away from the family.

Day 1: Home to Killiansburg Cave Campsite, 16.8 miles

I left at 3pm — it gets dark by 5.30pm in January — so I could reach camp in the daylight.

It was fun to load the bike up again in bikepacking mode. It’s been a while! I also had a rucsac with me for camp stuff, since the winter sleeping bag took up the whole seatpack.

Cannondale cyclocross bike loaded up, at the steps to Harpers Ferry
The ride was a straight shot ~17 smooth(ish) miles along the C&O canal
A typical hiker biker campsite along the C&O canal – this one is Killiansburg Cave campsite.
Home from home – a Nemo Hornet 1p. Very comfortable and very light weight. I’m looking forward to more field testing soon.
Had just enough daylight left to squeeze in my dinner before it got dark…
…but not enough daylight to also make my hot chocolate. That was enjoyed in the dark!
Plenty of time in the tent — there was 14 hours of darkness — to write in the journal and read on my kindle.

Day 2: Killiansburg Cave Campsite to home, 16.8 miles

I slept ok, but not as well as those nights on the A.T. last year. The 17 mile ride hadn’t tired me out nearly to the same extent. I sleep best in the tent when I’m completely beat up after a super long day.

I woke naturally as the dawn broke, at around 6.30ish. I popped out the tent and made breakfast in the half-light, then retreated back to the warmth of my sleeping bag to eat the breakfast.

Bizarrely, I managed to tweak my neck during this lying-down breakfast, which made the rest of the day uncomfortable. Curse you, old age!

I got away around 8ish and enjoyed a quiet ride home along the canal, only passing a handful of dog walkers. I was warm and comfortable, despite the temperatures in the low 30’s F (a little above freezing C). It was only my extremities that took a while to warm up.

The campsite at dawn, around 6.30am.
Breakfast with a view, even if it was a tad chilly (the temperature, not the breakfast).
Miles of quiet gravel trail – buenisimo!
The C&O canal and towpath at Antietam Campground
Reflection in the Potomac River, from Antietam Aqueduct
Back at Harpers Ferry, beneath the Maryland Heights cliffs, just before crossing the pedestrian bridge back into town.

3 thoughts on “January mid-week bikepacking overnighter to Killiansburg Cave Campsite

  1. Donna Fish

    Awesome! Love hearing about your escapades and happy to see that all ended well. Hardly enough time to enjoy the great outdoors and all the beauty it holds.

  2. Pingback: Winter Season 2022/23 | Ben Collins Outdoors

  3. Pingback: March mid-week bikepacking overnighter to Big Woods hiker biker campsite | Ben Collins Outdoors


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