Early Autumn Scenes Along the C&O Canal

Paw Paw Bends

I really love these digital cameras.  I can take literally hundreds of pictures and keep the ones that aren’t blurry or close-ups of my thumb.  Candee actually has a bit of an eye for photography, but I’m not quite as lucky.  However, the C&O Canal NHP has enough great scenery to allow just about anybody to be a photographer–of sorts.

Paw Paw Tunnel

This image has kind of grown on me over time.  Visiting the Paw Paw Tunnel in the winter and seeing the upstream end boarded up is a little bit anticlimactic, but once you’re inside it’s even darker and scarier.  The “Tunnel Hollow” portal is left clear, so it’s still possible to get a look at the tunnel as it’s supposed to look.

Potomac at Little Orleans

This was taken on a frosty October morning.  An hour or two before, the Potomac Valley was covered in a heavy fog.  I’m actually standing at the Fifteenmile Creek boat ramp, and most of the time I would be about knee deep in water.  It has been a very dry year, and I suppose that’s a good thing, considering all of the work being done around Big Slackwater.

A baby fern on the cliffs of Big Slackwater

The Big Slackwater Project will make life a lot easier for hikers and bikers on the C&O Canal, and it offers a great view of the Potomac River.  However, some of the odd things growing on the bank and cliffs are also worth a look.  I suppose some will come for the river, and others for the trail, but a few will stop to check out the bugs and plants that we’ve been missing for years while taking the detour.

Mushroom on the trail

Fall is the perfect season for odd and colorful mushrooms.  Back in college, I must have gotten an F in Mushroom Identification 101, but apparently this little fellow is edible.  Something nibbled on the cap before deciding to move along.  Whether or not the diner left with a stomach ache is something that I’ll never know.

More Mushrooms

Actually, Candee is the main mushroom photographer.  At some point I yelled, “Give me my camera!  And quit taking pictures of those bleeping mushrooms!”  Nevertheless, when I go back and look through the pictures, some of the mushrooms look like a mixture of outer-space creature and modern art.

Satellite Dish?

Mushrooms seem to come in just about every shape and size.  This one kind of reminds me of the radio telescope at Green Bank, West Virginia.  While we were on the Appalachian Trail a couple of weeks ago, we ran into a group of people picking large, white mushrooms–for consumption I assume.  That all sounds well and good, but until I learn a lot more on the subject, I’ll continue to get my mushrooms from a can, courtesy of the Jolly Green Giant.

House near Bonds Landing

This is the house that can be seen from both the towpath and Kasecamp Road near Bonds Landing (mm 150).  The leaves are starting to change color in the background, and the scenery along the river should be spectacular in a matter of weeks.  The C&O Canal NHP and Green Ridge State Forest surround the house, so it’s an odd site for anybody that comes along, but it does add a bit of something to the view.  With that said, I can hardly wait to hit the canal again to see autumn in all of its glory.

 

 

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8 responses to this post.

  1. I think the first photo is my fav, then the one with the mist. I love the Mushroom ones too, they could be hung in a art gallory!

    I think we’ve hit peak season for color change here. I have some photos on my It’s My World Blog..They’ve been spectular.

    Is that house occupied there? If so ,What a fun place to live eh!

    Reply

  2. Posted by LevelWalker on October 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    I have to admit that the first picture is an old one I found languishing on my cell phone. The C&O is a pretty cool place, and any goofball with anything resembling a camera can come up with something decent. The river picture is kind of an anomaly. The Potomac is running REALLY low right now. I’ve seen times when I would have to swim to get to where I was standing. The boat ramp looked almost unusable that day. As for the house, I’ve never seen anybody down there, but the yard sure looked good. Somebody mows it pretty regularly!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Darrell Helton on October 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Picture Three is just down the road from where my uncle lives. He lives not very far after you cross the creek where the low bridge is.

    Reply

  4. Posted by LevelWalker on October 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Darrell. Your uncle lives is a really nice area. I go there a good bit because it’s where our volunteer section is on the C&O. Actually, my favorite part of the park (all 184.5 miles of it) is between Pearre Station and the Paw Paw Tunnel. It’s a good place to get away from the crowds.

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  5. Posted by Darrell Helton on October 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Where exactly is the supposed ghost town in Green Ridge State Forest. There was a huge apple orchard there and there are supposed to be a number of buildings left from it. I saw something about it on the internet but could not locate it from the description it gave and my cousin who is supposed to know everyback road around doesnt even know where it is.

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  6. Posted by LevelWalker on October 24, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Wow, that’s a tough one. Apparently the Mertens family bought a lot of property from the Carrolls in the late 19th century. One of the Mertens claimed to have the world’s largest apple orchard, so here’s an idea…

    If you take the Oldtown/Orleans Road (just around the corner from Bill’s Place), you’ll cross the creek at the low water bridge you mentioned before. Keep going for a few miles (sorry, I’ve never measured the distance), and you’ll come to two signs on the left. Carroll road goes past a fabulous overlook and eventually comes to a chimney from an old sawmill. There is a pavilion there as well. If you go a little further, there is a small graveyard on the left side called Roby Cemetery.

    You can also pass Carroll Road from the Oldtown/Orleans Road and come to Mertens Avenue. Somewhere close to where Mertens Avenue meets Kasecamp Road there was a place known as Green Ridge Station. Kasecamp Road is a large loop that runs along the river and back around in a circle (for maybe five miles). Carroll Road also leads to Kasecamp Road near one of the portals of Stickpile Tunnel. Mertens Avenue is a decent road, as is Kasecamp, but parts of Carroll Road are best navigated in a four-wheel drive. Outdoor Club Road is also off of Mertens Avenue, but it’s supposed to be really rough.

    There are some interesting artifacts (chimney, cemetery) on Carroll Road, but I think you must mean Green Ridge Station. I’ve never looked for foundations or anything in that area, but there was quite a bit going on in there at one time.

    I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this story, but old Lockhouse 62 on the C&O Canal was the site of a double murder. It’s about four miles upstream from Bonds Landing on the towpath. The last lock keeper and his wife were killed at the house, and it was burned to the ground–probably to destroy the evidence. This happened several years after the canal was closed to traffic. I thought I would throw that in since it’s close to the area you’re talking about.

    Reply

  7. Posted by LevelWalker on October 24, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=5c82dba9-c562-4bf2-baed-10adcf8bbf17

    Darrell, I looked around a bit more, and here’s what I found. If you copy/paste this into your browser, it’s very informative. You can also get there by typing Green Ridge Station into Google. Apparently, there was a school on top of the hill above Stickpile Tunnel! That was a great question. I hope my answer helps.

    Tom

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  8. Posted by LevelWalker on October 24, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    My bad…just click on the link.

    Reply

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