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C&O Canal Path - 1 member in 9 triplogs has rated this an average 2 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Apr 05 2021
kingsnake
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 Guides 96
 Routes 231
 Photos 9,191
 Triplogs 722

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
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
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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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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Apr 02 2021
kingsnake
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 Guides 96
 Routes 231
 Photos 9,191
 Triplogs 722

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
C&O Canal MP 77.0-88.1, MD 
C&O Canal MP 77.0-88.1, MD
 
Hiking avatar Apr 02 2021
kingsnake
Hiking12.83 Miles 289 AEG
Hiking12.83 Miles   3 Hrs   58 Mns   3.23 mph
289 ft AEG
 
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The distance from MP 77.0 to MP 88.1 is 11.1 miles. Duh. But my mileage is greater due to exploring, and backtracking. 😉

-----

in 2019, I decided to day hike the C&O Canal Towpath during our biannual trips to visit family in Hagerstown. My plan was to do two 8-12 mile segments on each visit, finishing in Spring, 2025. Then, Chinese Lung AIDs happened. My Easter, 2020, hikes got delayed to Halloween. Trying to make up for lost time, I stretched my next hike from Edward’s Ferry to Noland’s Ferry ( [ photoset ] ), got a massive blood blister, and had to cancel my second hike. 🤨

That second Halloween, 2020, from Noland’s Ferry to the Weverton Cliffs, was supposed to be this Easter’s first hike. But it was so cold in Hagerstown before Easter, that I did today’s shorter / closer to town hike first, so I could start later in the morning, when — theoretically — it had warmed up.

When I arrived at Snyder’s Landing, on the outskirts of Sharpsburg ( [ photoset ] ), at 9:50, it was 27℉, by three degrees the coldest I’ve hiked. (The Appalachian Trail, on South Mountain, from Crampton Gap to Turner’s Gap.) At least this time I was smart enough to layer up.

⅔ of a mile past the Horseshoe Bend CG (MP 79.7), on the river side of the trail, a rusty fifth wheel trailer frame is wrapped around a tree. Wrecks are a fairly common find in the wilds of Arizona — heck there are three in the small canyon behind my house! — but that is the first I’ve seen along the C&O Canal. 👨🏻‍🔧

About a mile past Big Woods CG (MP 82.5), on the canal side of the towpath, I spotted a cave with a steady trickle of water running out of it. The inside of the cave was wet & slippery, so I only went in about 50 yards. 🔦

Dam 4 (MP 84.6) is heard before it is seen. The original Dam 4 was rebuilt in 1856, after being destroyed by floods. The current hydro-electric gravity dam was built in 1913 and modified in 1994. Dam 4 is 800 ft. across the Potomac River and 20 ft. tall or — more accurately — deep, as none of it shows above the river’s surface. The wooden building over the C&O Canal is the winch house for the stop gate, which prevented river floods from entering the canal channel. The calm waters above Dam 4 is Big Slackwater.

200 yds. past Big Slackwater Boat Ramp (MP 85.5), is Guard Lock 4, its control gate and inlet weir. Together, they allowed boats and water back into the C&O Canal.

Big Slackwater was necessary for canal boats to navigate in the Potomac River, as cliffs made digging a canal bed cost prohibitive. However, the boats still needed to be towed, and starting at MP 86.6 the towpath hugs the cliffs. In 1996, severe flooding wiped out the dirt towpath. From 2010-2012, a new concrete path was built. The wind was strong enough, I could hear waves lapping the underside of the path, like a boat dock. The temp had warmed up to 34℉, but the windchill sucked. 🥶

I don’t like hiking on roads, but the Big Slackwater concrete path was the highlight of my day!

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/535242698
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Icicle
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Wildflowers Observation Moderate
I had only been hiking on the C&O Canal Towpath for a few minutes when it became obvious that there were two species of flowers which were loving the freezing temperature: common grape hyacinth and Virginia bluebell. Both were common, the latter moreso, and often found in large patches from Snyder’s Landing until the canal disappears at Big Slackwater.
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Oct 30 2020
kingsnake
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 Guides 96
 Routes 231
 Photos 9,191
 Triplogs 722

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
C&O Canal MP 31-44.6, MD 
C&O Canal MP 31-44.6, MD
 
Hiking avatar Oct 30 2020
kingsnake
Hiking15.23 Miles 208 AEG
Hiking15.23 Miles   4 Hrs   40 Mns   3.26 mph
208 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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I had originally planned to hike the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath eleven miles from Edward’s Ferry to Monocacy Aqueduct for my first Easter hike, and then nine miles from Monocacy Aqueduct to Lander Lock 29 for my second Easter hike, but the coronavirus panic scotched those plans.

I really want to be able to complete the C&O Canal’s 184 miles with two day hikes, twice a year, so to get back on schedule I planned two 14-mile hikes for our Halloween visit: First Edward’s Ferry (MP 30.9) to Noland’s Ferry (MP 44.6) on Friday, then Noland’s Ferry to Lock 31 (MP 58.0) at Weverton Cliffs on Monday. 💪

Since the C&O Canal is basically flat as a board, and the towpath is smooth & obstacle free, that effort was within the gift of a 58-year old fat man’s abilities.

This year, rather than flying, I drove from Phoenix to Maryland. Having passed through the hills of southern Ohio, West Virginia and western Maryland, the fall color was well past peak. Basically browns, with only scattering of rotten banana yellow leaves. So, I was not expecting much from hiking the C&O Canal, other than the usual array of interesting engineering and Civil War markers. (Primarily from the Antietam Campaign.)

At Edwards Ferry, we saw some folks walking in the door of Lockhouse 25, , so we followed them, figuring it was a tour. Nope! They were staying overnight as part of the Canal Quarters program. That was embarassing … 😊

There is some controversy over whether the C&O Canal structure at Broad Run was a culvert or aqueduct. There are tons of culverts along the towpath, but none I have so far seen have the heavy stone structure that is at Broad Run. On the other hand, if Broad Run was an aqueduct, it’s awful small compared to Seneca Creek Aqueduct or Monocacy Aqueduct.

At Whites Ferry, it was cold enough, I bought a hot coffee in the bait shop. (There is a restaurant open in warmer months.)

Woods Lock 26 had a lockhouse, but all that’s left is the foundation. I assume all locks had a lockhouse at some point, but many I’ve spotted on my C&O Canal hikes have not. The cool part, though, was that perched on the edge of the lock, right in front of a spooky old tree, somone had left three jack-o’-lanterns. 🎃

Rather than refilling my water bottle from an iodine-treated campground well pump, I met my wife at the Dickerson Conservation Park trailhead for a fresh bottle. My left foot was getting tingly, but with only a ⅓ of my hike remaining to Nolands Ferry, I pressed on.

Where the trees were mostly empty of leaves early on, the fall color got steadily better — though never great — the further I hiked.

The massive 853MW Dickerson Generating Station is powered by coal, gas & oil. The plant borrows up to 400 million gallons of water out of the Potomac River every day, to cool steam pipes. The warmed water is returned to the river via a 900 ft. long concrete discharge channel lined with boulders. The discharge channel doubles as an Olympic-level kayak course. I was not expecting to see any kayakers training, but was hoping to at least take a look at the course. No such luck: It was gated & locked. 😕

By the time I got to Spinks Lock 27, I was starting to suspect my left foot tingle was more than just a hot spot: It was getting painful to walk on.

The Monocacy Aqueduct — whose seven arches span 516 ft. — is one of the highlights of the C&O Canal. Each aqueduct was made of whatever stone could be locally quarried, white & pink quartz sandstone in Monocacy’s case. Of particular note, Monocacy Aqueduct is so massive, Confederate general D.H. Hill was unable to blow it up during the Civil War. 🧨

My ever faithful shuttle driver, aka wife, was at Nolands Ferry waiting for me. I had left loafers and regular socks in my SUV. When I took my left hiking shoe off, I discovered a massive blood blister under my big toe callus. Yikes! Even after two days of resting, I did not think it was wise to push the matter and do my second planned 14-miler to Lock 31 on Monday. Relucantly, I cancelled. Not sure what I’ll do now about completing my C&O Canal “thru” hike …

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/477365633
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Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
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Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Oct 30 2019
kingsnake
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 Guides 96
 Routes 231
 Photos 9,191
 Triplogs 722

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
C&O Canal MP 20-31, MD 
C&O Canal MP 20-31, MD
 
Hiking avatar Oct 30 2019
kingsnake
Hiking18.35 Miles 319 AEG
Hiking18.35 Miles   5 Hrs   36 Mns   3.28 mph
319 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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Today was my second of two Halloween week hikes along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath.

My first hike, on Sunday ( [ photoset ] ), was supposed to be from Carderock Recreation Area to Pennyfield Lock 22, or milepost (MP) 11 to 20, but I bailed at Great Falls Tavern (MP 14.4) due to heavy rain. I considered a number of options, including skipping the six miles I did not complete, but when I finish hiking the C&O Canal, I want to be able to honestly say, “I did the whole thing.” 😇

So, today I did the missing six miles from Great Falls Tavern to Pennyfield Lock 22, then did my planned Wednesday hike, the next eleven miles to Edward’s Ferry at Lock 25 (MP 31.0).

Despite the clouds, the lack of rain meant there was decent enough light to take pictures of canal artifacts and low-hanging leaves. (Leaves high up in trees still appeared black in my viewfinder, requiring a bit more post-processing to draw out their natural color.) 🍂

Getting pictures of the fall colors was especially important to me because the Potomac River appeared just past peak, whereas usually on Halloween I’m lucky there’s any color left at all.

For the most part, I had the towpath to myself. Maybe because I was hiking 18 miles? 🤔

If you don’t have anyone willing to shuttle for your 11- or 18-mile hike, you can do an out & back hike from any lock / trailhead to any other lock / trailhead in roundtrip distances ranging from a mile on up.

The picnic areas and campgrounds scattered along the C&O Canal typically have a picnic table, grill, fire pit, well hand pump, outhouse and doggie doo bag dispenser. Unlike hiking in Phoenix, bags full of canine crap were not scattered along the C&O Canal. Camping is only legal at designated camp sites, but it’s easy to mistake a picnic area for a campground as they have all the same amenities. 😇

I picked up a fresh water bottle from my wife at Pennyfield Lock 22. (I rarely bring any hiking gear on my flyaway hikes.) I refilled my water bottles from the water fountain at Riley’s Lock 24 and the well hand pump at Horsepen Branch Campground. The well water looked clear in my hand, and tasted okay, but was tan / yellowish in my bottle. But all pumps are treated with iodine, so it didn’t give me the squirts.

The best fall colors today, on the C&O Canal, were between Great Falls Tavern and Violette’s Lock 23: A smorgasbord of yellows, oranges and reds. Past that to Edward’s Ferry, with this notable exception [ photo ] , yellow predominated. 📸

The first nine miles today, I averaged 3.4 mph. That dropped to 3.3 mph in the third quarter of my C&O Canal. After taking my only sit down break of the day, at Horsepen Branch Campground, I got my average back up to 3.4 mph. I was truckin’.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/481659435

In 1917, Thomas Edison's film crew took a silent cruise in the opposite direction, downstream.

Fascinating footage:
Part 1: [ youtube video ]
Part 2: [ youtube video ]
Part 3: [ youtube video ]
Meteorology
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Autumn - Color Foliage
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Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
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Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
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Oct 27 2019
kingsnake
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 Guides 96
 Routes 231
 Photos 9,191
 Triplogs 722

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
C&O Canal MP 11-20, MD 
C&O Canal MP 11-20, MD
 
Hiking avatar Oct 27 2019
kingsnake
Hiking5.39 Miles 168 AEG
Hiking5.39 Miles   1 Hour   58 Mns   2.74 mph
168 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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My plan for this week was to hike from Carderock Recreation Area (MP 10.5) to Pennyfield Lock 22 (MP 19.6) today, then hike from Lock 22 to Edward’s Ferry (MP 30.9) on Wednesday. Roughly halfway on today’s hike, I would meet my wife at Great Falls Tavern, so we could ride the historical Charles F. Mercer canal boat, which runs only on weekends.

It was predicted to be rainy today, but I really couldn’t put off the hike to Monday or Tuesday, and still have time to rest for the hike from Great Falls to Edward’s Ferry on Wednesday. Plus, I was hoping it would clear up. 🙏🏻

The rain stopped by the time we arrived at Carderock. Wearing a just-in-case rain jacket, off I went.

No sooner had I started down the C&O Canal towpath than it began drizzling.

The Marsden Footbridge is at MP 11.5. The bridge crosses the C&O Canal to a pullout on MacarthurBlvd. that can hold about six vehicles. Anglers Footbridge, at MP 12.3, crosses the canal to Old Anglers Inn, where there is parking for dozens of vehicles. Anglers would be a good option for a short out & back to Great Falls followed by one — or several — cold refreshing beers at the Inn. 🍻

By the time I reached Widewater (MP 12.6), the drizzle had changed to rain. Nothing I couldn’t deal with the next seven miles to Pennyfield Lock 22. Though Widewater looks like a lake, it is actually the ancient remains of the Potomac River. Other than Great Falls, the towpath along Widewater was my favorite part of this segment, as it edged along boulders and even among pine trees. 🌲

By the time I reached Lock 15 (MP 13.6) at the north end of Widewater, the skies were pouring buckets. Lockhouse 16 (MP 13.7) is boarded up, so I was relieved to find shelter under the Stop Gate at MP 13.8. I stayed under Stop Gate for about 15 minutes, until the rain sufficiently relented that I could continue my hike without washing down to Washington, D.C. 🌧

Normally, the C&O Canal towpath drains pretty well, but I was sloshing through big puddles. By the time I reached Lock 17 (MP 14.1) I had decided to bail when I met my wife at Great Falls Tavern. (Unfortunately not serving adult beverages, nor with a warm fireplace.)

The Great Falls Overlook Trail intersection is at the upstream end of Lock 17. It’s only a ¼ mile, one way, to the overlook on Olmsted Island. I didn’t realize at the time how spectacular the Great Falls are: I was happy with the first cascade. 🤗

Unfortunately, the Charles F. Mercer was already in drydock for the winter, between Lock 18 (MP 14.2) and Lock 19 (MP 14.3). Great Falls Tavern, located across a bridge at Lock 19, now houses a National Park Service visitor center. The rangers there were very friendly, and I picked up a couple of maps. Thankfully, my wife had no problem meeting me at my intended halfway point. Now, instead of handing me a fresh bottle of water, we instead skedaddled back up MD-28 and MD-85 to Frederick.

We encountered the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen while driving, on I-70 just west of Frederick: On a Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m., both sides of the freeway — three eastbound lanes, and two west — were at a near standstill for several miles. I thought maybe there had been a mass accident. Then I thought “climate protesters”, but the road was not actually blocked. I wondered if Pokemon Go was still a thing because there were vehicles on both shoulders, and in the median, with people milling aimlessly about. Weird! 🤪

Hiking Video: https://vimeo.com/482007802
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
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Apr 20 2019
kingsnake
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 Guides 96
 Routes 231
 Photos 9,191
 Triplogs 722

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
C&O Canal PathDC, DC
DC, DC
Hiking avatar Apr 20 2019
kingsnake
Hiking12.63 Miles 374 AEG
Hiking12.63 Miles   4 Hrs   10 Mns   3.03 mph
374 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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Sorry for babbling on. Lots of detail! 😉

---------

Last year ( [ photoset ] ), after hiking my second segment of the C&O Canal, I mused about the possibility of doing the whole thing. This winter, I looked closer as possible planning, eventually breaking the remaining 168 of 184.5 miles up into 17 segments of 8-15 miles. I will day hike the segments, with my wife shuttle driving, doing one or two segments every Easter and Halloween visit, to my son & his family in Hagerstown, through Easter 2025. I'll throw in a few side hikes, just off the C&O Canal, such as Maryland Heights (overlooking Harpers Ferry) and Fort Frederick. All the segments are anchored by trailheads accessible by paved road.

The only problem I had to puzzle over was the huge gap of nothingness in the Green Ridge State Forest, between Little Orleans and the [ C&O Canal Towpath - Paw Paw Tunnel ] . It's 20 miles from pavement to pavement, with only 4x4 accessible dirt trailheads in between. I was able to get it down to 16 miles, which I will hopefully still be able tto manage when I am 60 years old in 2023.

Yes, this is my next long range project, now that my four years long Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway survey hike project ( [ photoset ] ) is nearing its end. (Btw, ADOT is already planning a 202 expansion spur west along Baseline, or something like that, to Avondale / Buckeye.)

So, today's hike was from Georgetown (MP 0) to Carderock Recreation Area (MP 10.5ish) ...

----------

I didn’t realize C&O Canal mile 0 is at the Thompson Boat Center, just south of the Rock Creek Park trailhead, so instead I started hiking north along Rock Creek Parkway to where the towpath actually begins.

There’s lots of traffic on the C&O Canal Path, more tourists and joggers in Georgetown, tending towards bicyclists further out. Dog walkers too. I should have lived my young professional life in Washington D.C.: There’s eye candy for everyone! 😍

There’s so many historical markers along the C&O Canal Path that I did not have time to read them all.

There’s so many interesting things along the C&O Canal Path’s first ten miles that despite my best intentions I shot 119 photos and 94 video segments. The first cut of my hike video -- 📽 [ youtube video ] 📽 -- was 13:30, but I managed to whittle it down to 5:45. Less is more. 😉

The Locks 1 to 4 are located on the first ¼ mile of the towpath, between Rock Creek Parkway and Wisconsin Avenue, in the shadowy canyon between Civil War era factories & warehouses, converted to lofts, tech businesses & restaurants. There’s an insignificant detour around Lock 3 and Lock 4 which are fenced off for restoration work. The memorial to Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas — who led efforts to prevent turning the C&O Canal into a roadway — is currently behind the fence.

Adjacent to the Potomac Boat Club, there is a small trailhead at the terminus of the Capital Crescent Trail. (The Capital Crescent Trail is a paved trail which parallels the C&O Canal Path for 3.3 miles, until it crosses over the Arizona Avenue Bridge, heading north to Silver Spring.) There’s a number of crossovers, so you could easily head out on one, then back on the other.

There’s audible heavy flow in the C&O Canal in Georgetown, but the flow is normally placid west of Lock 4. Instead of the soothing sound of flowing water, I was accompanied by the cacophony of traffic along Canal Rd. NW and Clara Barton Parkway all the way to I-495 at MP 9.5.

The Abner Cloud House & Mill (c. 1801) and Fletchers Cove are located at MP 3.1. There’s clean, flush toilets, picnic tables, grills, watercraft & bicycle rentals, a bait shop / snack bar, water fountain, and lots of parking. I took an ice cream break. (Drumstick! :y: )

To minimize my luggage, the only gear I typically carry with me on a fly away hike are my GPS, my pocket camera and a bottle of water. I had intended to bring some Off!, but forgot the bug juice in Hagerstown. Luckily, despite the rain, and abundant vegetation, there were few gnats and absolutely zero mosquitoes. happy dance icon

It was a beautiful day. Perfect.

The Chain Bridge (MP 4.4) is the last pedestrian crossing to the south bank of the Potomac River for the next thirty-one miles to White’s Ferry.

Lock 5 (MP 5.0) has an adjacent guard lock. Also known as an “inlet lock”, it was designed to maintain flow in the C&O Canal. Lock 5 has a small parking area, a couple of porta potties, a water fountain and a bench. It’s a good place to turn around if you are hiking from Georgetown and don’t have a shuttle driver waiting at Carderock Recreation Area like I did.

There were lots of turtles sunning themselves on the logs. 🐢

there were lots of flowers along the C&O Canal Path. But the most impressive flowers were not down low, but up high, amongst the trees: Endless thick clusters of pink & purple blooms. Despite all the flowers, unlike Arizona, no allergies!

Lock 6 (MP 5.4) has the first lockhouse on the C&O Canal. Lockhouse 6 is one of six lockhouses which can be rented for $110-160 / night from the National Park Service under their Canal Quarters program ( https://www.canaltrust.org/programs/canal-quarters/ ). Before they became rustic hotels, the lockhouses served as the home & office for each lock’s operator.

The dam at Little Falls (MP 5.8) was the original start point of the C&O Canal. It looked like a still active facility, and there were warning signs about dangerous undertow. 🚫🚣🏻‍♂️

I took my second break at Lock 7 (MP 7.0). Though not for rent, Lockhouse 7 is one of 26 still standing lockhouses on the C&O Canal. Lock 7 was the first lock where there were well preserved gears I could get a close up look at, and even turn an inch or two.

Lock 8 (MP 8.4) is the first of the Seven Locks, which raise the C&O Canal fifty feet in just over a mile to Lock 14 on the west side of I-495. Fifty is not even noticeable elevation change when you are hiking, but fifty feet is a lot for moving water. Thus, the Seven Locks. There is a picnic table in front of Lockhouse 8.

Lockhouse 10 (MP 8.8) is the second lockhouse the NPS rents out overnight. The C&O Canal Path diverts to the north bank for a ¼ mile, to Lockhouse 11, due to restoration of Rock Run Culvert, which flows under the canal. Lock 10 has a picnic table, water fountain, and parking area.

Lock 12 under I-495 to Lock 14 (MP 9.3 to 9.5) are now basically dry locks. There might be some pooling, but the only flow is that of the constant traffic on the Capital Beltway.

The Billy Goat Trail (MP 10.0) splits to left. That can be taken to the Carderock parking area, but I stayed on the C&O Canal Path for another half mile where there is a dirt towpath access road for maintenance vehicles that is the most direct route to the Carderock Recreation Area, which has picnic tables, grills, restrooms, water fountain, and lots of parking.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/491603144
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
3 archives
Nov 01 2018
kingsnake
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 Guides 96
 Routes 231
 Photos 9,191
 Triplogs 722

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
C&O Canal MP 69-77, MD 
C&O Canal MP 69-77, MD
 
Hiking avatar Nov 01 2018
kingsnake
Hiking9.06 Miles 275 AEG
Hiking9.06 Miles   3 Hrs   6 Mns   2.92 mph
275 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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Last year, I hiked milepost 61-69, from Maryland Heights to Antietam Aqueduct. [ photoset ] Continuing northwest, this year I hiked milepost 69-77, from Antietam Aqueduct to Snyders Landing. 🛶

There is very little elevation gain on the C&O Canal towpath, even hiking ‘uphill’: The eight miles from milepost 69-77 only gain 55 ft. (My 275 AEG on the day, is due to climbing down to the Potomac River, or up to Killiansburg Cave.) So, hiking the C&O Canal either direction saves no appreciable effort. Besides hiking south, other options for those without a shuttle driver, include hiking Antietam Aqueduct to the Rumsey Bridge trailhead (6.6 mi.) and Snyders Landing to the Rumsey Bridge trailhead (8.4 mi.)

The quarter mile section of the C&O Canal between Antietam Aqueduct and the campground was filled with water. The remainder of the old canal bed varied from dry to soggy, depending on how exposed to the sun a section is.

The Antietam Creek Campground has 20 numbered spots, each with a firepit, grill and picnic table. The campground has a well handpump, pit toilet and several portapotties. The fee is a whopping $20/night and stealth camping is illegal. 😇

Between Antietam Aqueduct and Rumsey Bridge, the north side of the C&O Canal is paralleled by Canal Rd. From Rumsey Bridge to Snyders Landing, the side opposite the towpath is bluffs & cliffs.

Just short of Packhouse Ford, on the other side of Canal Rd., there is a large, sloped lawn. At the bottom of the hill is a pond, and atop it is the Conococheague Sportsmens’ Club. Thankfully, despite the presence of numerous loud geese, the firing range is in back.

Packhouse Ford, also know as Boteler’s Ford and Blackford’s Ford is a rocky, hip-deep (under normal conditions), Potomac River crossing used numerous times during the Civil War, when the Union was invading Virginia, or the Confederates were invading Maryland.

My wife met me at the C&O Shepherdstown Trailhead, a half mile short of Rumsey Bridge. I topped off my water, then continued on. (There is another trailhead at the bridge, beside Lock 38.) Between the two trailheads, there are four bridges: The old railroad bridge, the current Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge, the old Rumsey Bridge and the new (c. 2006) Rumsey Bridge. On a bluff across the Potomac River, is the Rumsey Monument, dedicated to James Rumsey who, in Shepherdstown, in 1787, 20 years before Fulton, built the first successful steam engine.

From Rumsey Bridge, the C&O Canal towpath passes Ferry Hill, before arriving at Lock 39. There were a number of use trails from the towpath up the bluffs to Snyders Landing Rd.

The Killiansburg Cave Campground, at milepost 75, has only one spot, but at least is free, not a wallet gouging $20. There is also a picnic table, firepit, well handpump and portapotty.

A quarter mile on, I spotted two small caves, which I later found out are the Snyders Landing Caves. The one on the right I had to crawl into; the one on the left, I could stand up. Neither went more than 30 ft. into the bluff.

A couple hundred yards further, halfway up the bluff, is Killiansburg Cave, a large hole where the citizens of Sharpsburg sheltered from the battle.

From Killiansburg Cave, it is only another mile to Snyders Landing. I had hoped to stop at nearby Barron’s C&O Canal Museum for a post-hike ice cream, but unfortunately they are only open on weekends. 🚫🍦😥

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/494811432
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Autumn - Color Foliage Sunburst
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Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
Lots and lots of yellow, fading to brown, with many leaves already on the ground. No red or orange at all. This year, Halloween was a week past peak fall color in Washington County and Allegany County.
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Oct 31 2017
kingsnake
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 Guides 96
 Routes 231
 Photos 9,191
 Triplogs 722

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
C&O Canal MP 61-69, MD 
C&O Canal MP 61-69, MD
 
Hiking avatar Oct 31 2017
kingsnake
Hiking10.02 Miles 233 AEG
Hiking10.02 Miles   3 Hrs   10 Mns   3.16 mph
233 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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On previous Easter visits, I’ve hiked [ Antietam National Battlefield ] and completed the Maryland segments of the Appalchian Trail.

I have roughed out some ideas for hiking the Appalachian Trail south of Harpers Ferry, and also in Pennsylvania, but the drives to those hikes are getting longer than I’d prefer. I want to keep the driving to a minimum, so my wife & I have time to do what we actually visit Maryland to do: Visit family.

So, in order to avoid burning out the nearby A.T. segments, I’ve decided to do those during our Easter visits, while doing some other hike during our Halloween visits. The historical Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Path fit the bill.

The C&O canal itself, is now mostly dry or swampy, with many fallen trees, and only scattered pools. For the most part, bluffs & small cliffs line the side of the canal oppposite the towpath and Potomac River. In the old days, when the canal was still in operation (1834-1924), the space between the towpath and canal would have been free of obstacles, so boats could actually be towed, now there are many trees in that narrow strip of land.

After crossing the footbridge at Maryland Heights, the towpath parallels the final set of Potomac River ‘falls’ (really more like rapids) to a cluster of points of interest: Inlet Lock 3, Lock 35, the ruins of Dam 3, and Lock 36, at MP 62. Dam 3 was first built in 1799, to provide power to the Harpers Ferry Armory.

The Huckleberry Hill Campground, at MP 63, is 1.6 miles into the hike. There are a number of camping spots, grills, picnic tables, a well hand pump and, most importantly, a portapotty. (Note: Camping on the C&O Canal is only allowed at designated sites.) The Dargan Bend Boat Ramp is 3.6 miles into the hike and has a pit toilet. Those are the only designated pee stops from MP 61-69 (inclusive).

A third of a mile past the boat ramp, at MP 65, is an old lime kiln, on the bluff side of the canal. It consists of an old coal bin, on the verge of collapse, and two ovens. The ovens are faced in stone, and lined with red brick. Just a few hundred yards past the lime kiln was the quarry from which the limestone was extracted. The quarry includes a tunnel that is maybe 100 ft. deep.

After rounding Dargan Bend, Lock 37 and its lockhouse, are located at MP 67. Unfortunately, the lockhouse is not only boarded up, but screened, making it impossible to peer into, or take zoomed photos of the interior. :?

The final two miles, from the lockhouse to the Antietam Aqueduct, at milepost 69, there are no points of interest to speak of. Just mellow trail walking.

The Antietam Aqueduct was a water bridge over water. In other words, a way from the canal to cross Antietam Creek without interfering with the creek’s flow, or the passage of boat traffic on the C&O Canal. I didn’t realize it at the time, but there is another lime kiln, just up Antietam Creek, which was where an ironworks was built in 1764. Antietam Creek, itself, gave its name to the Civil War battle, which remains the bloodiest day in American history.

After my wife picked me up at Antietam Aqueduct, we headed back to our hotel for a shower & post-hike libation, before heading off to trick-or-treat with our grandaughter Boo. (Appropriate nickname, no? :scared: )

Hike Video: [ youtube video ]
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Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
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Mar 23 2013
kingsnake
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 Guides 96
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59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Georgetown LoopDC, DC
DC, DC
Walk / Tour avatar Mar 23 2013
kingsnake
Walk / Tour8.14 Miles 872 AEG
Walk / Tour8.14 Miles   2 Hrs   35 Mns   3.15 mph
872 ft AEG
 
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Trip to the east coast to visit family in Philadelphia and Hagerstown (for Easter with our 3-year old grandaughter), so decied to stop for a few days of touristing in DC as well. As driving in DC is so difficult, me and my wife either walked or took public transportation. In three days, I logged (on my GPS) over 16 miles walking; my wife, with the bad feet, half that. (She's a champ!) First morning, I went on a solo tour around Georgetown, where we were staying, to see some of the local sites, such as the Exorcist Steps, Georgetown University, some cemeteries, Embassy Row, the Watergate Hotel, the Potomac River Walk, the C&O Canal path, and the Francis Scott Key Memorial, among others. Most of what there is to tell is in the description I created and the photos I uploaded.

Things that stood out to me:

1) Georgetown is like a combination of 1860s border-south and San Francisco in many ways: Architecture; cost; traffic; restaurants; hills; attractive, athletic, professional members of the opposite sex, etc. (If you are single, move there!) 8)

2) Lots of people ride bikes (there is a bike share), jog, or walk dogs -- noticeably more so than in Phoenix. :wlift:

3) They love beeping their car horns, often for no apparent reason. :oplz:

4) There are cops everywhere, even well away from the White House. (I didn't take as many embassy photos as I planned, because I got paranoid someone would freak out.) :scared:

5) Once you get into the parks, you don't hear traffic noise like you would on, say, Trail 100. (Probably because the trees abosorb it.) :FG:

6) People wait in line, all day long for cupcakes. :roll:

... two weeks later ...

7) p.s. Forgot to add that the Georgetown U campus has hand cleanser dispensers *everwhere*. You can't walk more than 100 feet without bumoping into one. :D
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
average hiking speed 2.83 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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