50-Mile Kennedy Walk (now starts at Cabin John VFW)

Event Details

50-Mile Kennedy Walk (now starts at Cabin John VFW)

Time: February 8, 2014 from 4am to 9pm
Location: Great Falls Tavern Park's Cabin John VFW
Street: 11511 MacArthur Blvd‎
City/Town: Potomac, MD
Website or Map: http://kennedy50.org
Phone: Ray Smith (703) 732-7724
Event Type: kennedy, walk, (march), historic walk, rfk, jfk, 50-mile, 50-mile hike, great falls, harpers ferry
Organized By: Ray Smith/Paul Kiczek
Latest Activity: Feb 6

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Event Description

As of 2:00 pm, EST, from Great Falls to Harpers Ferry, we have days of bright sun until Saturday. No snow or ice here on the ground to speak of. The temperatures are to be between 27 and 40 degrees during Saturday's walk. We do have precipitation predicted that morning between 10 am and 2 pm, flurries accumulating to 0.11 inch. We are scheduled to pass through Poolesville then, where we will have two volunteers, supplies, lock house 25 & an outdoor fire ring. We have three or four volunteers at our lunch stop, White's Ferry and several vehicles to sit and warm in.

It's always "the hawk," wind gust potential that concerns me. We are blessed with the "winds at our backs," coming from the east and negligible 3-4 mph Saturday. The towpath is in a lowland valley with trees to act as windbreaks anyway. It's also a well-graded for draining and great overall walking surface, even with precipitation, right? Last year, even with strong head winds and a bit of ice, we all did well.

Great Falls, 22066 area code: http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/great-falls-va/22066/hourly-weather-forecast/9160_pc?hour=49


Last year our crew of two, received many kudos as the element that really made our event. This year we have seven volunteers and five full support stops. We still need a volunteer driver for those two walkers who have requested a vehicle ride back to DC on Saturday night.

Remember, it's not a race it's an adventure? It's a learning process and you will get farther each time you walk with us, OK? We challenge you to entertain each other. Comedy relief goes a long way, right? Quinn's Pub, our finish, is going to provide us a singer and two special soups. Celebrate with us there and find out if you win the special en route Story Teller Challenge prize. 

There are changes that you should know about.  

1) We will be picking up guests at the Bolger Center (Potomac) and bringing to the start at 3 a.m. “sharp”  on Sat morning.

2) The exact starting point has moved to the VFW hall on MacArthur Blvd about 1/2 mile from the Great Falls Tavern.

3) We'll end at Quinn's Pub and lights out at either the Town's Inn or the Econo Lodge in Harper's Ferry see attached for more information.

4) Rides will be provided back to the start and Wash DC on Sunday morning. Saturday night return to DC driver volunteers please contact us if you have room.


The route is flat, well maintained and takes place on the towpath trail. However, the trail can be dangerous for walking in the winter months due to ice and mud, especially near the finish and in the dark.

NOTE: The FreeWalkers will now offer SAG support services as an option for $15 per person. There will still be an option to walk the route independently with the group free and without support.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Robert Quinlan on January 27, 2014 at 11:00am

Ray- how's the snow down there?

Comment by Ray Smith on January 22, 2014 at 9:53am

Here's the new start location; the Cabin John VFW. It's within Great Falls Tavern Park on McArthur Blvd, en route to the C&O Towpath.  It adds .8 mile and gets very close to what we believe RFK walked in 1963. 


Comment by Jim Boyer on January 2, 2014 at 12:04pm

Did it last year looking forward to this year. My crew is waiting and ready to go. See You at 4 AM Feb 8

Attending (30)

Not Attending (4)

Great Canal Walk 2014

Congrats to our 33 FreeWalkers who completed the 40-mile Great Canal Walk.
Let the games begin for the Cross-Jersey Walking Challenge! 
Remember: if you missed some mileage in the last 2 walks, you have until the end of the year to catch up.

Diane Glace 40
Paul Kiczek 40
Tom  Nisonger 40
Al Walker 40
Tom Glynn 40
Rob Spector 34
Wilma Vargas 34
Francis Boero 32
Kelly Boero 32
Renata Luisi 30
David Ascher 28
Rick Cordner 28
Daniel Jeffrey 28
Nancy Jonap 28
Ken Kurland 28
Risa Olinsky 28
Tim Habinak 24
Jackie Dockery 21
Ron Palochko 21
Leila Vitale 21
Mike DeVoe 20
Diane DeVoe 20
Cory Storch 20
Ilene Silver 14
Pedro Castro 12
Brian Hodge 12
Sally Hodge 12
Yohana Osorio 12
Karen Rose Tank 9
Anand Nataraj 8
Mackensie  Roe 8
Joe Potaro NA
Erick Spector NA

Anyone can view the survey results so far. Click here to review results.
As usual, add your photos, video and blog on this website for everyone to share. 

Words to Walk By

Why We Walk

Why choose this as our goal? Why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do these other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

-From President Kennedy’s 1962 speech at Rice University

Why We Don't (Walk)

Why choose doing as little as possible as our goal? Why take a long nap? Why, 35 days ago, insist on flying first class across the Atlantic? Why does Texas play Rice?

We choose to look at the moon. We choose to utter platitudes in this decade and do few other things, not because they are hard, but because they are easy, because that goal will serve to attract votes, because true challenges are those that we are unwilling to address, ones which we are willing to pass onto others, and ones which we intend to ignore.

From FreeWalker, Art McDonald, Rock Hill, SC

Read Art's inspiring essay "On Walking RFK's 50"

Walking History

1 Man, 1 Canal, 1 Long Walk: Creating a National Park

On January 3, 1954, an editorial article appearing in the Washington Post which became a flashpoint for those that opposed the U.S. government's building a parkway that would pave over the old 185-mile C&O Canal. It was a long hike proposed by Associate Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas that would settle the matter and set a trend toward preserving nature and history.

The Long Walk that Saved the Canal

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Distant Thoughts

A Winter's Walking Challenge

40 hearty FreeWalkers faced a cold and dreary February for 17 hours to re-kindle the Kennedy can-do spirit.

The Sounds of a Long Walk

Just a few days ago, I noticed, maybe for the first time, the sounds of the Great Canal Walk. For most of the 40 miles and 15 hours that day there was an absence of sound in this body of water as still as glass on that calm day....


X-Jersey Challenge

Final list of entrants for the Cross-Jersey Challenge. The goal was 100 miles across NJ in 2013.

Divia Arpino 100
Glenn Markulin 100
Paul Kiczek 100
Albert Walker 100
William Radkovich 100
Jessica Wachtel 74
Daniel Jeffrey 55
David Ascher 54
Hua Davis 42
Jim McRoberts


In Their Footsteps

These FreeWalkers have demonstrated our spirit of determination, adventure and community and help set the standard for the rest of us. Awards were presented at the June 23rd Celebration Event. Click here to learn their personal story and what it means to be a FreeWalker.

© 2014   Created by Paul Kiczek.

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