Sunday, October 28, 2012

Riding a "new" section of the C&O Canal

Well, technically it's not new, but a recently re-opened section that had been closed since 1996...

 Just below Williamsport, MD, in an area known as Big Slackwater (the Potomac flows very slowly here),  a section of the towpath had washed out in two big storms that year. As a result, a detour on local farm roads was created, that took you about five miles out of your way. More importantly, it spoiled the otherwise entirely "car free" aspect of an end to end Canal ride. For many years, it seemed this situation would never be resolved, much to the disappointment of folks like me.

The view looking downstream at the upper end of the Big Slackwater section.
Much to my surprise and delight, I read some time ago that they were actually working on a fix for the washed out portion of the towpath, due to be completed this fall! The official opening ceremonies were October 12th, but apparently the path was open to users prior to that. I wasn't able to make it before the opening, or attend the big event, but C and I did make it up there a week later, on Sunday the 21st.  Parking our car at the Cushwa Basin in Williamsport, we rode down stream a few miles to the "new" section, which looks to have been quite a big project. There are several portions where they put in concrete pilings and a really solid looking concrete walkway, much like a bridge. Given the number of times this section washed out prior to the closure in '96, I'm glad they put in the extra effort to build something lasting.

Now I can't wait to do another end to end ride on the towpath... staying on the path the whole way!

More info can be found at: