Completed the 260 mile ride in 8 days with 5 Scouts and 3 adults (one who just turned 19).
Day One: Biked from Ohiopyle to Rockwood. Ate lunch in Ohiopyle, supper in Rockwood at the Opera House and camped at Husky Haven (wanted around $120 to pitch 6 tents).
Day Two: Breakfast at a convenience store in Rockwood, lunch at Frostburg at Lynn’s Place and supper in Cumberland. Camped at Evitt’s Creek H/B site. Read more ›
After having been wiped out by the 1996 flood, the section of canal near Widewater (mile 13.4) was difficult to traverse, especially if you were on a bike. Large rocks protruded from the trail and it became narrow in places. For many outdoor trails, this would not be such a hazard but this is a frequently travelled section of the canal, close to all the attractions of Great Falls park. So a detour was erected which started at the stop gate and levee at mile 13.74 and ended at the Old Angler’s Inn footbridge at mile 12.3.
A restoration project was announced to reclaim the washed out section and it was recently finished. The official ceremony was held on April 29, 2006.
This was my third year in a row to offer a bike through trip of the canal. Again, I chose the first weekend that my Scouts were out of school and this year the trip was to start on Sunday, June 11.
Prior to the trip, we had a shake down bike trip of 22 miles on a local trail near our town. Boys who were going on the trip were to report with fully equipped bikes as if they were leaving for the canal that day. For the most part, everything was in order. I recommended extra water containers and bike tools to some of the parents but the boys had the basics covered. Read more ›
Planning. Learning from last year, I made a few minor and major changes with the trip itself and the itinerary. I made the shake-down trip required for all wishing to participate, this time with full gear. I chose the Ghost Town Trail located near Indiana, PA. A round trip is approximately 25 miles and it has a town with food at the opposite end to simulate what we would be doing on an average day. I also made the requirement of First Class Scout or 14 years of age or older. I wanted to get the older boys interested who were not advancing in rank. I ended up with three Scouts and an adult, my son, two more Scouts and one of their mothers. No one other than me did the trip last year. The parents were supportive and open to suggestions and everyone seemed excited. I built a bike rack for the bed of my truck out of 2×2 treated lumber. We used this in addition to the 4 bike trailer hitch holder. The wooded one had the advantage of being taken off of the truck and used on the ground if needed. We were then able to haul all five bikes without taking too much gear off of them prior to transport. The parents car pooled us to Cumberland and after seeing the museum there, we hit the trail at 11AM.
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After nearly a century of operations at Swain’s Lock on the C&O Canal, the Swain family decided to close its concession stand and boat rentals.
Swain said his father began running the family’s business of recreation and concessions out of the lockhouse in the 1930s — some 30 years after the family moved in at mile 16.6. Although his official day job was with the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, he also spent time taking canal visitors on guided hikes, fishing trips and boat rides.
Deciding to shut down the lockhouse’s boat and bicycle rentals and concession stand was a ‘‘tremendously difficult decision,” Swain said. ‘‘I have these fears that spirits of my ancestors are going to come back and haunt me for years on this.”
For the full story, see 17 May 2006 story in the Montgomery County Gazette
Q: This website, the C&O Canal Virtual Tour, when and why did you decide to do it?
A: I’ve been living in Maryland and hiking its various trails since 1982 and had done many sections of the canal, mostly between Great Falls and Point of Rocks. I’d always walked it and often wondered what the other ends of it were like but I couldn’t find very many details about it on the internet. The only thing I knew about it was what I’d read in Thomas Hahn’s Towpath Guide. I thought to myself, “Somebody should hike the entire canal and take pictures along the way and post them to the internet for all the world to see!” But nobody had. But I did have a bicycle and a digital camera and I am a computer person and was pretty sure I could create a web site. After awhile it felt more like a responsibility than an idea and so I started. Read more ›
It was one of the biggest (recent) restoration projects along the canal. In 1962 hurricane Agnes did so much damage that the Aqueduct had to be propped up with metal supports. Dennis McMullen engineering took on the project of restoring it to its former glory. But it wasn’t restored just for its aesthetic appeal, it was in danger of being destroyed if another flood of the same magnitude came along. Take a look at the Catotcin Aqueduct and you’ll see the danger. In the picture below you’ll see the Monocacy Aqueduct, freed from its fetters for the first time in over 40 years.
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