|Lock and Lockhouse|
My friend Rocks helped us out in a huge way on the coldest night of our journey. He connected us with his friend Johnny who lives along our route. Johnny and his beautiful family reside in an old 1750's farm house. What an amazing gift and enhancement of our already historically rich adventure.
|Paw Paw Tunnel|
On the snowiest night, Jerry and I were gifted a motel room by Jerry's father. Not exactly "roughing it" but I didn't complain. That same day, Mike Nardolilli, president of the C&O Canal Trust bought us lunch at The Desert Rose Cafe. Mike read about about my 60th Anniversary Hike and was very supportive of the adventure. He shared some wonderful stories and added to our historical perspective.
On the second to last day, we experienced freezing rain that formed dome shaped sheets of ice on top of my umbrella. I was very grateful to have the chrome dome along.
The water along the towpath is not very appetizing. The Potomac River is heavily polluted and the water in the canal is stagnant. Much of our water came from small towns but I did find a couple side streams that seemed to have decent water.
This trip was a good experiment in the world of winter camping. I discovered that I need to hydrate a lot better in the future. Dehydration was very likely the cause of some intense hip flexor/ IT band pain. I used ibuprofen for the the first time in years to alleviate some of the strain and inflammation. I hadn't used a single mg of pain killers on either of the my thru-hikes the last two years and here I was, resorting to medication on a flat walk.
Walking into Harpers Ferry was like going to see an old friend and we had a very nice visit at the the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters. I just love that town so much.
The Great Falls section of the towpath was the most scenic and is definitely a stretch of trail I would like to return to on a day hike.
Overall, this adventure was very beautiful. The views of the river and the small towns were quite nice and the wildlife sighting were certainly a highlight. Foxes, possums, 5 species of woodpeckers, and bald eagles were among the creatures seen. I also really enjoyed reading all the interpretive signs describing life on the canal, westward expansion and stories of the Civil War.
When Jerry and I arrived in Georgetown, we paid our respects to William O. Douglas and took the obligatory finishing photo by The Watergtate Hotel. Who knew that the hotel was named after the first canal lock?
|Heading into Georgetown|
From the canal, we walked over to The Whitehouse, across the mall and over to Union Station. It was fun to imagine, Justice Douglas, barges, mules, naturalists and boat captains all making this journey.
|Justice William O. Douglas|
|Mile Post 0|
Not Bad and I finished our thru-hike in 6.5 days (December 31- January 6). Slower than expected, but considering the weather conditions, we were very satisfied with our performance. We were especially happy to have finished before the temperatures plummeted even further. Another rewarding and challenging adventure.