Archive for the ‘Railroad Trestle’ Category

A Winter’s Tale (Dreaming about Summer)

We’ve been lucky so far and aside from a freak snowstorm in October, the western end of the C&O Canal NHP has been snow free–until now.  Anything pertaining to a bike ride seems to be a long way off.  I really have no idea if winter is half way over, or if the worst part has just begun.


Trestle Over Troubled Waters!

A snowy view of Lock 38


It seemed like a good day to keep it local and head for the Shepherdstown/Antietam section of the towpath. Surprisingly, we weren’t the only ones taking a walk on its hard, crunchy surface.

The white background does offer a unique perspective of Lock 38 and the Potomac River, and I have to admit that it made for a nice getaway.



A Frozen Treat!


The ice-covered Antietam Aqueduct showed signs of a few deer that had crossed recently.  With 50-plus degree temperatures around the corner, this winter wonderland will pass–at least temporarily–and canal goers everywhere can continue to count down the days until the arrival of spring.  Meanwhile, back at the garage, the tires are completely flat on the bikes. I guess you could say that we’re anxiously awaiting Punxsutawney Phil’s big date with the weatherman.  Until then, enjoy the snow!

Antietam Aqueduct


Ringing in the New Year

Meeting Place...

Each January 1st, the C&O Canal Association brings in the New Year with a hike in Cumberland, Maryland.  The temperature was a surprisingly warm fifty-three degrees, and nineteen people turned out for the walk.  After meeting at the mule statue in front of the railroad station, Mary Huebner led the crew downstream on the canal for approximately 1.5 miles.

All Show and No Go!



As the canal goes, Cumberland is a relatively urban setting.  However, in spite of the interstate and railroad traffic, the Queen City drew us back for the third year in a row.  In the sparsely populated areas of the C&O, one can walk for miles without seeing anything touristy, but Cumberland is…well…different.




After the mule statue and shops, the Cumberland (a replica canal boat) comes into view, and upon rounding the first bend, the trail offers and interesting look back at the Cumberland skyline.  The towpath plays host to numerous hikers, bikers, dogs (and of course their owners), runners, and history buffs through out the year, so being there on the first day of the year always starts us off on the right foot!


The Queen City


Walking in the New Year!


Cumberland has always been a transportation hub.  In the past, it was a major railroad town and marked the western terminus of the C&O Canal (Think canal boats and mules). Today, I-68 runs above the city, and The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) and C&O towpath are hotbeds for hikers and bikers of all ages.  Oh, how the times have changed!




North Branch of the Potomac River--looking towards Cumberland

Near mile marker 183, a new wooden bridge crosses over the North Branch of the Potomac River.  The West Virginia side is the home of the Carpendale Tunnel.  At 1,500 feet in length, the tunnel is just long and dark enough to make things interesting.  Unlike many of the other tunnels on the towpath, this one is equipped with light posts approximately every 200 feet. (so it really isn’t scary at all!)  We have also read that there are cameras posted in there as well.  The path continues on the other side of the tunnel, but we aren’t sure how much further it goes.  I suppose that will be an adventure for another day.

This new bridge is part of the Carpendale Rail Trail connection to the C&O Canal towpath near mile marker 183

Tom is excited to see the tunnel! You can't really tell, but he's giving it two thumbs up.

View of the Carpendale Tunnel from the 'Other' Side





All-in-all, the bridge and tunnel is definitely a worthwhile diversion for towpath enthusiasts.





We have really enjoyed our New Year’s Day Hike tradition over the last few years, and barring all of the Mayan doomsday scenarios, we will be back again for 2013 hike.  All kidding aside, see ya at the mule statue next January 1st!

Heading Back!



The Mystery Machine

I wouldn't even want to walk across this old trestle for fear of falling through the rotten boards, and yet here sits a huge piece of machinery!





I admit to being a middle-aged Scooby Doo fan, but this mystery machine was and still is a mystery.  On December 18th, we went to Pearre Station for the start of our level walk, when we noticed a piece of heavy equipment sitting on the rickety railroad bridge over Sideling Hill Creek.  Let me put this in perspective:  I have never felt comfortable walking across the bridge, and I can’t imagine what the guy driving this machine must have been feeling.




I sent out an email to Steve Dean of the C&O Canal Association, and he came up empty.  Nobody seems to know what this thing was doing on the worn out bridge.  Apparently, the Western Maryland Rail Trail is still in the planning stage and no work is being done on the proposed extension.  Anyway, we went back on Christmas Day, and the machine was nowhere to be found.  I guess we’ll never know.


We couldn't believe our eyes!