Monday, September 7, 2009

C&O Canal Bike Ride

A friend from church invited me to join him for a 13-mile bike ride along the C&O Canal (Chesapeake and Ohio Canal - for reference, see National Park Service site, Wikipedia article, C&O Canal Bicycle Guide).

It was a great ride, and I'm really glad I went.

My friend's wife drove us up and dropped us and our bikes off under the Rt. 15 bridge that goes over the Potomac River at Point of Rocks, MD. She drove back down to the White's Ferry landing and read a book while she waited for us.

Starting off under the Point of Rocks bridge.

The trail was all hard-pack dirt and gravel, and almost entirely under a tree canopy.

The trail is well-marked with mile markers like this. They're actually telling you how many miles you are from Washington, DC. We stared off just before mile marker 48 and got off after mile marker 35.

The first highlight of the trip for me was seeing the Monacacy Aqueduct.
(National Park Service and Wikipedia references)

The aqueduct was built in 1833 for the canal barges to travel over the Monacacy River.

In 2005 it was refurbished to look like it did back in 1833, but there were some parts that showed definite signs of age as if they were the original.

You could tell some sections of the iron railing were newer than others. This section looked pretty old.

Old stonework

The second highlight of the trip was seeing the locks and the lock-keepers house.

Lock 27 and Lock-keeper's house

You can still see some of the hardware and
the curved stone for the gate hinges.

Panorama of Lock 26 and a magnificent maple tree.

We spotted a woodland duck and some sort of egret or heron.

There were a few camping sites along the path, and each had a well like this and a port-a-potty (didn't think you needed a picture of that).

End of our trip for today. Note the line of cars waiting to board the ferry across to Virginia.

When we got to the end of our trip at White's Ferry, we found this list of rules for bicycles on the path. Sound producing devices required - who knew?

Trip Stats:
13.3 miles
Moving time 1 hour 52 minutes
Stopped time 52:27
Average speed 7.1 mph

Boarding the ferry ($4 one-way)

The weather was perfect for our ride today. It was probably mid-70s out and overcast with a 50% chance of rain. It didn't rain at all on us during our bike ride, but it rained after we got off the ferry and started driving back home. Perfect timing!

I'm really glad I got out to see the C&O Canal. I look forward to exploring more segments of the canal path in the future.


Hilary said...

Thanks for taking me along for the ride. Boats.. bikes.. you sure do get around. And you take cool photos along the way. Thanks for that. :)

C said...

Very cool!

Loping Squid said...

Sound producing devices are required all the time around here. That said, do to the proliferation of the infernal iPod, they are about 80% useless.

(although it does scare the bejeeses our of horses!)