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C&O Canal Path
8 Photosets

mini location map2022-07-15
19 by photographer avatarkingsnake
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C&O Canal MP 112.2-124.5, MD 
C&O Canal MP 112.2-124.5, MD
Road Biking28.81 Miles 198 AEG
Road Biking28.81 Miles   3 Hrs   17 Mns   8.77 mph
198 ft AEG
1st trip
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In Maryland to celebrate my son’s 40th and my 60th birthday. My first wife actually went into labor on my 20th birthday, but my son was not born until the next day. I’ll never forgive her … Kidding! 😇

This was my first “away” bike ride: Today, on the C&O Canal, from Hancock to Ft. Frederick, then back (MP 112.2-124.5). Wait. Take tha back. Just remembered a couple of bike rides in the Netherlands years ago ( [ photoset ] )!

I rented a Trek hybrid from C&O Bicycle in Hancock. Since they don't have bike racks for rent, I would have to first ride from Hancock to Ft. Frederick, then double back for my GoPro video.

I started biking southeast, “downhill” towards Ft. Frederick, at 8:50 a.m. I rode for about seven minutes on a single track, then stopped to check my GPS. When I restarted, my rear tube literally unraveled from the tire, wrapping itself around the axle. There was no fixing that mess! The tire would not rotate, so I was forced to literally push the bike 1⅓ miles back to C&O Bicycle. I slid it along the grassy towpath edge to lessen the resistance, but my arm was still sore the next three days. 😫

The good folks at C&O Bicycle were very understanding, replacing my bike, getting me back in the saddle by 9:35 a.m. I used my ride out from Hancock to Ft. Frederick to take photos, and fix in my mind where the cool stuff was for the return ride, when my GoPo would be rolling. Including stops, I made the 12½ miles to Captain Wort’s Sutler at Ft. Frederick in just over 90 minutes.

After refreshing with an ice cold ice tea and ice cream drumstick at Captain Wort’s Sutler Shop, I began my filmic extravaganza. The only real elevation change of the day was 60 ft. downhill in ⅓ mile to the C&O Canal.

The first interesting feature of today’s segment is Big Pool, a lake at the bottom of Ft. Frederick’s hill. Part of the canal itself, Big Pool is 1½ miles long, and 250 yds. at its widest. I saw some folks fishing on it. Just past the north end of Big Pool, the towpath passes under a branch of a decommissioned railroad bridge (MP 113.9). I was surprised there was no graffiti. 🎣

MP 114.4: There is a connector across the canal to the Western Maryland Rail Trail, which parallels the north side of the canal from the hamlet of Big Pool (pop. 85), 28 miles to even tinier Little Orleans (pop 54).

MP 116.0: Licking Creek Hiker Biker Campsie has the usual portapotty, picnic table, grill, fire pit, direction & distance sign and doggie doo bag dispenser. The well hand pump had a handle, but a dozen pumps did not produce a drop. Camping is free. Just beyond the campground is Licking Creek Aqueduct, the shortest on the canal at only 50 ft. long.

MP 120.2: Another connector across the canal to the Western Maryland Rail Trail, and a paved trailhead with room for several dozen vehicles. Not sure if it has pit toilets: I didn’t check. This milepost is the eastern end of Little Pool, another canal lake, which is half the length & width of Big Pool. The west end of Little Pool is coated with lilypads.

MP 120.7: Little Pool Hiker Biker Campsite has the usual amenities. Camping is free. The well hand pump had no handle, which I thought odd, as I assumed the ones I noted missing back down the canal were purposefully removed by the Park Service during winter. 🤔

MP 122.7: Lock 51’s highlight is the ruins of limestone and red shale lockhouse. Lock 52 is 300 yds. past Lock 51. The Bowles House, which doubles as the Hancock Visitor Center, is on the far side of the canal. Another hundred yards on is Tonoloway Aqueduct. The cement to build Tonoloway Aqueduct came from someone actually named Captain Hook. Argh! 🏴‍☠️

MP 124.2: Other than climbing ten feet out of aqueduct crossings, the only other elevation gain between Ft. Frederick and Hancock is a 10 ft. mound anchoring the bridge to the Western Maryland Rail Trail’s Church St. trailhead. From there, it’s “downhill” the final ⅓ mile to the Hancock Boat Ramp (MP 124.5).

🚵🏻‍♂️ Bike Video:
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
I only remember spotting two species, and those in Hancock. One chicory, the other undetermined.
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