Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Trail -- 184 miles to Washington DC!

Hello from Cumberland, MD, from where I will set out tomorrow on another famous trail route I've been hearing about for ages!  This is also unpaved; we shall see how the trail surfaces compare with those on the North Bend Rail Trail... Today I spend a good while in the Visitors' Center, gathering some much needed maps and information on negotiating the various stretches.

First stop in Maryland was in Oakland, in the southwest corner. Wonders never cease.  On a much needed rest day (meant to be uneventful) I met a elderly gent (Ariel) in the area's Historical Museum who, after a brief introductory conversation, proposed taking me out on a scenic tour into some of the more remote and beautiful mountains of West Virginia near Monongahela National Forest.  This fellow, although a bit unsteady on his feet, was a superlative driver, and had a sporty car which he clearly loved showing off.  Well.  This turned into a 4-hour afternoon of gorgeous vistas including the mountain ridge named Dolly Sods, and a rock formation known as Seneca Rocks.  I got an earful of local lore from this 2nd or 3rd generation resident of the area, was introduced to some new (to me) classical recordings, and we exchanged much interesting conversation in the process. The thing of it is - this countryside was some of what I missed when I opted to alter my route off of the American Discovery Trail for that stretch beyond Clarksburg, WV.  Wonders never cease...

The terrain in these past days has continued steep, and sometimes treacherous on the wind-y parts of the commercial routes.  As has often been the case, the road shoulders disappeared in spots, leaving me hugging guardrail and switching sides of the road for the best visibility to traffic.  But now I will be on a trail all the way to the Capitol!  Will I parade past the White House with my cart, flying the Climate Flag?  184 miles to go before I have to decide!

Mountain ridge called Dolly Sods

Seneca Rocks - a well known rock climbing destination

Along Route 135, Maryland

Canal area of Cumberland, MD.  The Episcopal Church, upper left, was former site of Ft. Cumberland, used by George Washington.  Tunnels underneath were formerly part of the Underground Railroad.

Cumberland County Courthouse


  1. Melissa hello! My name is Dwayne. I am the one on the bicycle who walked with you and kept you company down the road to Bulls restaurant. I respect what you do and wish you the best of luck. Please update on your progress. I will be reading!

    1. Thanks, Dwayne! It was great meeting you and hanging out for a little bit. I also appreciated your introducing me to Gloria at the cafe! All the best to you now and in the future!

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