C&O Canal Path-MD to DC


We left Cumberland renewed under sunny skies on Sunday October 30.  We filled up as much as we could with the continental breakfast at the hotel and soaked in the hot tub one last time.  The C&O started right outside the hotel.  Due to the storm the path was muddy, we were super thankful for our fenders.  We camped 17 miles in at a site called Pigman’s Ferry.  It was lovely, close to a farm field with cows.  We set up camp early and for the first time cooked dinner in the sunlight and even played a little frisbee.

The next day was Halloween.  There was a ton of branches and trees down from the storm.  Sometimes we cleared and others we just climbed over.  It was slow going and it started to feel a bit like a fully loaded cyclocross race.  We went through a super creepy tunnel called the Paw Paw Tunnel.  It was perfect timing for Halloween.  The entrance to the tunnel was all blocked off except for a doorway opening. The tunnel was dripping like crazy from the ceiling and was lined entirely in brick.  The canal also ran through the tunnel.  We put our raincoats and headlamps on and stepped into the darkness.  It was a bumpy dirt path that we pushed our bikes along.  The tunnel was over a half mile and length and it felt like forever to get through!  There was snow on the other side when we emerged along with water pouring over the trail.

We came across more and more downed trees after the Paw Paw.   We were getting over some when we heard someone coming down the trail. This is when we met Brian from Iowa.  He had been a short distance behind us for days.  The first thing he said was “I wondered who was clearing the trail for me!”.  We started riding with Brian and we ended up doing the rest of the C&O with him.  It was so fun to ride with another “bagger”, as Brian calls us.

The C&O is wonderful for camping.  There are Hiker/Biker campsites approximately every 5 miles.  Each site has water, a picnic table, a fire ring, and a porta potty.  All this for free!  This relieved us of the stress of finding a place to settle for each night.

It was great to ride with Brian. We were like a pack, flying through the woods.  We stopped and had nice lunches each day, sharing stories, and getting to know each other.  Brian has a blog : http://www.fromiowa.net  This was his first long distance tour, he told us he’s hooked and hopes to start up again in the Spring.

After the snow we experienced back on the GAP we were gifted with 3 glorious days of sunshine in a row.  The scenery was stunning and we just couldn’t believe our luck with the weather.

Sadly, when we uploaded our photos the other night we made an error and lost some of our photos from these days, including the Paw Paw.  However, we still have plenty to share.  See them below.  We were also able to get a couple photos from Brian of the Paw Paw Tunnel-thanks Brian!

Paw Paw Tunnel Entrance on Halloween

Scary interior of Paw Paw!

Brian and Bryan at Dam 3

Dam 3 on the Potomac River

Downed trees on the trail at night, we were a bit late getting to the campsite!

Building in Williamsport

Pedal on

The Potomac River

Brian coming down the trail

So much stonework along the way

Debi and Brian checking out the ruins of a cement plant

Bridge at Harper's Ferry

Harper's Ferry is where the Appalachian Trail headquarters is located. We stopped in and had lunch and some internet. Neat place!

While in Harper's Ferry we came onto a movie set for the History Channel-The Men Who Built America

Bryan, Debi, and Brian-just about at the end of the C&O

Great Falls

The colors were beautiful as we got closer to DC

Downstream from Great Falls

Fully loaded!

We’re headed out of DC today-Wednesday November 9!  We’ll be going back into DC form Silver Spring,  MD…picking up lots of bike paths and eventually taking the Mt. Vernon Trail.  It’s another beautiful day and we’re excited to ride again.  We are on our way through Virginia to get to the coast of North Carolina and the Outer Banks.  The weather looks decent, maybe a little rain, bit that’s OK.  Thanks so much Chris and Bill for hosting us for the last week!  It’s been wonderful to rest, plan, and get ready for the next leg.

See you soon!

Debi and Bryan


2 Responses to “C&O Canal Path-MD to DC”

  1. 1 Lisa Damian

    I can’t wait to see your photos and read the blog from the Outer Banks. The road through there is so beautiful. Wishing you many more blue sky/warm sun days. Love…

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