The picture doesn’t really do this monstrosity justice. This large, hanging snag was blocking the towpath near the Fifteen Mile Creek Aqueduct earlier today, and I must have looked pretty silly cutting off the smaller branches with my hacksaw. One thing is certain: I wasn’t getting anywhere. Fortunately, four students on Spring break from Towson University (near Baltimore) asked me if I needed any help, and I quickly accepted!
The good news was that we had a team working on the project, but the bad news was that the precariously balanced limb was in the neighborhood of thirty feet long and weighed literally hundreds (maybe thousands!) of pounds. Fortunately, the students produced a roll of paracord, and the rest of the story involves a little bit of leverage and a whole lot of muscle. In the end, the towpath was cleared of a dangerous obstruction, and I would like to give a shout out to Joshua, Pete, Jack, and Daniel.
I’ve been reading a few Appalachian Trail narratives lately, and all of them mention a type of divine intervention known as trail magic. Nature has a way of putting obstacles in our paths, but when we least expect it, good news is usually on the way. I’ve found that one generally meets a classy, generous type of people in our parks and on our trails, and such was the case today. After a brief struggle with nature, we left the C&O Canal a little bit safer than it was when we started, and I couldn’t have done any of it on my own.