Day 73 - Frostburg, MD to Indigo Neck, MD (C&O), Sept 26, 2015
||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 ...
The duties of a lockmaster are explained in this restored lockmaster's house.
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!