|C&O Canal MP 124.5-130.7, MD|| |
C&O Canal MP 124.5-130.7, MD
|Hiking||6.98 Miles|| 2 Hrs 14 Mns ||3.13 mph|
|125 ft AEG|
|Today, I hiked he C&O Canal from Hancock (MP 124.5) to Cohill Station (MP 130.7). Hancock is a “trail town”, complete with a canal-side bicycle shop (C&O Bicycle). Cohill Station, is a just a name on a map for what was once a Western Maryland Railway siding. |
I started hiking at 8:10 a.m., almost an hour earlier than planned, due to rain being expected late morning all across Washington County. Even though I was not bike riding, I still wore my Camelbak, and good thing too as it was 94% humidity!
Unfortunately, besides threatening to rain later in the morning, it had rained the night before, so every time I stopped I got swarmed by mosquitoes. At least the towpath drains well.
Berm Rd. closely parallels the north side of the C&O Canal for 1½ miles. There is no potential bail point until almost five miles later at Cohill Station.
MP 126.5: White Rock Campground has the usual handleless well hand pump, portapotty, picnic table, grill, fire pit, direction & distance sign and doggie doo bag dispenser. Camping is free, and I saw a bike tourist taking advantage of the site. I was surprised he was still in his tent at 9 a.m.
Somewhere along the way, I stepped off the C&O Canal towpath into the what appeared to be a firm, or at least not watery, canal bed. I immediately sank into 4″ of mud.
Round Top Hill (1,358 ft. el.) is a stand-alone ridge that stretches two miles south-southwest from MP 127.2 to near Leopards Mill Campground. It is exceptionally steep at its northern end, above Devil’s Eyebrow, climbing 950 ft. in only ¼ mile (a 38% grade). As I approached Round Top Hill, the upper ⅔ was shrouded in low-lying clouds.
MP 127.4: The first feature of Round Top Cement Mill I noticed was the stone-faced kilns 30 ft. up on the bluff-side of the canal. Trying to beat the rain, I skipped exploring the kilns like I did back down the C&O Canal near Dargan Bend. [ photo ]
Round Top Cement Mill, in operation from 1838 to 1903, provided cement for the construction of the Washington Monument — the one in DC, not the original along the Appalachian Trai [ photo ] — and the U.S. Capitol building being most prominent.
MP 130.0: Camping at Leopards Mill Campground is free. The campground has a portapotty, picnic table, grill, fire pit, direction & distance sign, doggie doo bag dispenser and … DRUM ROLL! … the first functional water pump in over 20 miles. No joke. I’m serious. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.
Lock 53 is just past Leopards Mill Campground and is the first C&O Canal lock I remember that is impassable due to dense brush. The canal sure, but not any lock I recall. Lock 53 also had some foundation and cement steps that appeared to be lockhouse remains.
MP 130.7: I arrived at Cohill Station just as a light sprinkle began. There’s a boat ramp to the left, but a narrow footbridge to the right, so the only “boat” getting across that is a kayak. Parking is in a pull out just across the bridge.
Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/735430515
||Wildflowers Observation Light
Phlox paniculata, white bergamot, dame’s rocket, European black nightshade, Japanese wineberry, Carolina vetch (???), crown vetch. The Maryland Biodiversity Project is a great resource! https://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/
I was surprised at the lack of fungi.
|http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.|