Sep 302015
Day 76 - Chisel Branch Hiker/Biker Campground, (C&O) to Valley Ridge Circle Fairfax, Sept.30, 2015 In Safe Hands My last night at one of the "primitive" but very enjoyable campgrounds along the C&O was over and my old friend Omar in Fairfax was expecting me "for lunch" so I set off on the last 75 km around 7 am. When I reached Chain Bridge across the Potomac the quiet rural and wooded times were over. The path itself had shielded me from DC traffic for 30 km but now I climbed up from the river to Arlington and on to Fairfax in quite steep inclination. After 3 days riding very flat this was a welcome change in exertion! I got onto the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Track which took me further southwest to Fairfax which I reached just hours before the rain set in. ... Seeing old friends again after more than 20 years is a happy moment! At this point I was looking forward to a day or two with rest, good food and showers and then was hoping to continue my trip to Fredericksburg, Richmond, Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown, to tour the old heritage sites of the Founding Fathers of the US. Let us wait to see how the weather develops.  

Some Early Bird-Watchers ...


The closer I get to DC the better is the state of the locks on the C&O, in fact this one looks fully operational.


8 bunk beds in this "romantic" lockmaster's house for 100$ a night seems like a nice adventure. The two people in the picture arejust coming out after having spent the night there.


One of wuite a few herons on the canal


The last miles of calm wooded serenity before DC


The guesthouse near the Great Falls on the Potomac ...


For tourist purposes only but a hundred years ago coal boats clearly dominated.


These falls of the river Potomac formed a serious challenge to the engineers who were trying to construct the canal.


During the ice age the river changed its bed more than once and left very uneven terrain

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Leaving the towpath at Chain Bridge to turn upwards to Arlington and Fairfax


Back in the city ...


... with a little respite provided by this Rails to Trails - Track


A very warm welcome by old friends

 Posted by at 6:10 PM
Sep 292015
Day 75 - Cumberland Valley, (C&O) to Chisel Branch Hiker/Biker Campground, (C&O) Sept 28, 2015 Antietam National Battlefield Harpers Ferry (intersection with Appalachian Trail ) Brunswick Urban Sounds! work in progress  
 Posted by at 1:36 AM
Sep 282015
Day 74 - Indigo Neck, MD (C&O) to Cumberland Valley, (C&O), Sept. 27, 2015
80 49,71 6541,2 4064,51 17 18,71 146 36054 10 - 22
A nice day with a bad ending The day was quite uneventful as I rode along the towpath. Squrrels scrambled to get out of my way, a deer family slowly crossed the path, and after 47 km I reached Fort Frederick State Park. ... After climbing the Rocky Mountains, surviving dangerous single trail paths on the Big Divide Mountain Bike Trail, after suffering hundreds of mosquito bites, being chased by dogs, balancing precariously on narrow shoulders with trucks just waiting for a mistake that would enable them to crush me, after going out of my way in more than a thousand ways to stay safe and unharmed - fate got to me when I least expected it: I was collecting wood in the dark (why exactly did I not stop earlier????) for a nice campfire and I sprained my left ankle on a rock and that pain was VERY unwelcome. After a night spent worrying about what consequences this little accident might have for the remainder of my adventure I set out in the morning to find out that although the ankle hurt when walking I could cycle without too much impediment. What a relief. So I'll just have to take the bike to the loo from now on 🙂  

The Potomac as I follow it for about 300 kms....

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This rock formation is known as "The Devil's Eyebrow".

 Posted by at 12:45 AM

Day 73 – Frostburg, MD to Indigo Neck, MD (C&O)

 C&O Canal Towpath, Maryland, On the Road  Kommentare deaktiviert für Day 73 – Frostburg, MD to Indigo Neck, MD (C&O)
Sep 272015
Day 73 - Frostburg, MD to Indigo Neck, MD (C&O), Sept 26, 2015
106 65,865 6461,2 4014,80 18 18,74 507 35908 10 - 22
Frostburg is the last town on the GAP before the road winds down gently along the former railroad trail to Cumberland which became important because of the narrow gap in the mountain ringe allowing for the move westward on a fairly small inclination. I only stopped shortly but it was morning and everything was shut down. The town did make a very touristy impression on me. A selfie at the very end of the Chesapeale - Ohio Canal, known as the "C&O" with the cultural and technological winner in the race for open transport lines west, the railroad, I set of south east. The track is quite different from the well-paved GAP trail. Packed limestone with stretches of dirt and interspersed with tree roots slowed down my speed considerably. And the long and winding river more than doubles the direct distance from Cunberland to Washington DC. 184.5  miles or 296 km is the offcial distance, every 5-6 miles there is a primitive campground and the few towns are far off the canal and up extremely steep hills. One of the few exceptions is Hancock, which I will reach tomorrow ... I have decided to eat the first half of my "emergency food packet" which I bought in Germany before leaving home!  

At Cumberland the "GAte to the West" with the end of the C&O Canal behind me. I will be following this canal for the next 300 kms being to lazy to climb up and down the Allegheny Mountain Range.


When these locks were built they promised a new access for trading goods with the west, but by 1850, when the canal was not even close to its original aim, the Ohio river, the railroad had long turned out to be the winner ...

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The duties of a lockmaster are explained in this restored lockmaster's house.

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In front of the Paw Paw tunnel, 1 km long, narrow and slippery path next to the canal: Better to have additional light, no lighting in the tunnel and several collisions have occurred over the last years.


A pump at a primitive campground - the lady at lock 75 informed me that there were issues with the water quality so I was prudent enough to use my water purification tablets for the first time since the Canadian Rockies!

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 Posted by at 5:00 PM