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C&O Canal MP 44.6-58.1, MD
mini location map2021-04-05
25 by photographer avatarkingsnake
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C&O Canal MP 44.6-58.1, MD 
C&O Canal MP 44.6-58.1, MD
 
Hiking avatar Apr 05 2021
kingsnake
Hiking15.49 Miles 351 AEG
Hiking15.49 Miles   4 Hrs   43 Mns   3.28 mph
351 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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Thankfully, this morning was 15° warmer ( [ photoset ] ), so I was able to hike to the Weverton Cliffs without any extra layers. Don’t get me wrong: I thought about wearing my hoodie, but it was expected to warm up quicker, and to a higher temperature, than on Friday. In the meantime, I could overcome mid-morning coolness by generating body heat.

Per my usual on “away hikes”, I carried no hiking gear, just a 20 oz. bottle of water and a snack — which in this case was gorp made by my mom, and included a note, just like she used to pack lunch when I was in grade school. 🤗

There were some rather large trees along the Noland’s Ferry to Weverton Cliffs segment of the towpath: One had a “cave” in it that two hikers and their gear could have sheltered from the rain in! Coincidentally, that tree is also about where the train tracks and C&O Canal basically merge. (The towpath on the Potomac River side of the canal; the tracks on the other side of the canal) Between CSX, the MARC commuter line, and Amtrak, 35-40 trains pass by each day, but I only saw maybe four in five hours. The tracks continue to follow the C&O Canal until they split off into Harpers Ferry. 🚂

The well hand pump at Calico Rocks Campground (MP 47.6) had no handle. I wonder if the handle broke, was stolen, or if it was removed because maybe the well freezes in winter? I suppose, if necessary, you could filter from nearby Kanawha Spring.

When I first planned this hike several years ago, today’s segment was shorter, and included a short diversion up to the Point of Rocks Overlook, which has good views of the US-15 bridge, and passing trains. With many more miles ahead, I forged on.

The well hand pump at Bald Eagle Island Campground (MP 50.3) was also missing its handle. Gotta be some seasonal park service shenanigans. What the campground does have is a picnic table, grill, firepit, direction & distance sign, doggie doo bag dispenser that was empty and a portapotty that was full. (Though not to the level of Easterville, in northern Manitoba: There was no pit below the seat, so when crap piled up to ass level, they picked up the outhouse and moved it over a few feet. No lie.) 💩

When hiking the C&O Canal Towpath, I normally don’t spend much time reading the many history signs. Though not as spectacular as the Monocacy Aqueduct, I made an exception for the Catoctin Aqueduct (MP 51.5), which was restored, stone-by-stone, in 2005, after being collapsed for decades. The towpath detours around the next stone bridge, which is itself collapsed. This is about where the Brunswick Railyard begins. The “seven mile long” railyard was apparently the largest owned by a single company (the B&O Railroad).

For that ¾ of a mile, from Brunswick Family Campground (MP 54.0) to where “Canal Towpath Road” turns into town, the hiking trail is down the middle of the gravel road. I took a final break at the Brunswick Boat Ramp (MP 55.0), finishing my sandwich. I don't spend enough time just sitting in parks.

I only noticed there is an old hobo camp at MP 57.1 because there was a tiny icon on whatever GPS map set it is I have loaded on my crappy Garmin 62S. I tried balance beaming across the watery canal bed, but ended up getting muddy. All that’s left of the hobo camp is random bits of rusty equipment.

There were a lot of people walking and biking between Brunswick and Lock 31 (MP 58.0), which is halfway from Brunswick to Harpers Ferry. Considering how far I walked, I felt pretty good. After drinking my traditional post hike V-8 (for sodium and potassium replacement), I changed into loafers, and my wife & I were off to our hotel in Hagerstown, to get a good night’s sleep before flying home to Phoenix the next day. ✈️

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/536331335
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
At least a dozen different species, including Virginia bluebell, Dutchman's breeches, common grape hyacinth, purple dead nettle, arrow-leaved violet, wild daffodil, cutleaf toothwort, spring beauty, lesser celandine (fka fig buttercup) and speedwell.
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