89-year-old woman walks 184 mile hike along C&O Canal

West Virginia

An 89-year-old Shepherdstown woman makes the journey of a life time along the C&O Canal in Maryland. 

Helen Burns completed the last 3 1/2 mile of an 184 mile journey along the C&O Canal in June. She started nearly a year ago.

Burns’ goal was to finish the trek along the C&O Canal by her 89th birthday. She was always fascinated with the idea of walking. 

“I love it. I’ve always loved it. I started walking with my parents and we walked through the woods,” said Burns. 

She started walking the towpath in May of 2017, all the way. At times, greeted by passersby cheering her on. 

“One memorable day was up near Little Orleans where it was freezing mist and the mist was landing on my jacket,” said Burns. 

Those like Marty Hager come to the C&O Canal, Lock 38 three to four times a week and enjoy the scenery. 

“It’s quiet, a day like today I run into a few people but it’s pretty secluded,” said Hager.  

C&O Canal officials say they get so many people hiking along the trail every year, but Burns’ journey is definitely an accomplishment. 

“We can’t say for sure she’s the oldest, but she’s definitely one of the vast majority of the towpaths,” said Ben Helwig, Partnership Coordinator at the C&O Canal. 

At the end of her journey on June 25, she was presented with a medallion and certificate and even through rough days, she persisted. 

“I did it,” said Burns. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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