On October 2nd I mounted my bike and departed Cumberland MD on the C&O Canal towpath with full intentions of riding 184.5 miles east to Washington DC. The C&O as well as all national parks was closed due to the government shutdown, at some unknown point I fully expected to meet an official of the NPS or local law enforcement that would ask me to leave the towpath, if so I would abide and make other plans to finish the trip.
As I rode past the farms in Western MD the debate continued in my head…turnaround or preservere…the land(s) known as national parks belongs to me and all tax paying U.S. Citizens…I continued.
C&O Lock Keepers house
All water pump handles had been removed due to the shutdown, a stop in the town of Paw Paw West Virginia was necessary for water and lunch. My bike became a water wagon and felt like it with the added weight.
Paw Paw Tunnel, 3,118 feet from end-to-end
Devils Alley Hiker Biker camp, H/B camps are located along the towpath approximately 5-10 miles apart, shady with picnic tables, firepits, water pumps when working and a view of the Potomac River.
Gossamer Gear tent the One would be home for the night
Morning fog over the Potomac River
Foundation and chimney are all that remains of this lock keepers house
Paw Paws are mighty tasty and welcomed treat
Round Top Cement Mill remains
C&O Bicycle shop in Hancock, MD, excellent shop and nice owner…thanks for the water
Desert Rose Cafe in Williamsport, good eats here…thanks for the water.
Removing dust from bike components was a daily event…dust is much like water…it gets into everything.
Half way there mile 92
West bound bikers at Big Slackwater
McMahon’s Mill at Big Slackwater
Another peaceful riverside camp
Morning view of West Virginia across the Potomac River
Harpers Ferry, WV
Sunrise over the Potomac
The Outfitter in Harpers Ferry, more tourist souvenirs this time of year than hike/bike, still it’s a good stop…thanks for the water
From this point back to Harpers Ferry the Appalachian Trail joins the C&O for 3-miles
Giant Maple tree
White’s Ferry store and grill…good BBQ here…thanks for the water.
Tavern as it appears today a NPS office…and closed
Upper end of Great Falls, the observation deck was closed due to the shutdown
184.5 miles from where I started I found mile marker 0 in Georgetown MD at the waterfront.
Maryland crab cakes on the waterfront for lunch and the end of a great trip.
For the record I did meet a NPS Ranger, I stopped and was asked if I was aware the C&O was technically closed, I answered yes, the Ranger waved me on and wished me a good trip. COOL!
Full photo set can be viewed by clicking here