2004 C and O Towpath Ride - Day 2 - College Park to Harper's Ferry

The second leg of this journey is getting through DC on bike paths, then doing about 60 miles of towpath to get to Harper's Ferry. I didn't actually cross the river into Harper's Ferry, rather I stayed at the youth hostel on the Maryland side.

This is the start of the Paint Branch Trail. It starts right by the campground and takes you all the way through College Park.

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The Paint Branch trail ends on the Northwest Branch Trail. It's the northwest branch of the Anacostia River, which is in the picture.

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When the Northwest Branch meets the Northeast Branch, you have to go through some reasonably nice DC neighborhoods, and past Catholic University. In no time, you are on the mall.

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This is the Kennedy Center, next to the Potomoc river. It can be hard to get path next to the river. It is easy to mess up and wind up riding under the Kennedy Center on the freeway. I understand this is a very scary and terrifying experience.

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At the end of the path is the start of the towpath in Georgetown.

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There are a bunch of working locks in a row in Georgetown.

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Georgetown also has a working canal boat

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Here is a great blue heron standing next to the bridge for the DC beltway.

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Right after this, you get to Great Falls. There is a big sign advising bike riders to take a detour because the towpath is rough and you will have to carry your bike. I didn't think these tree roots were too bad, so I ignored the sign. Towpath_04 032 (326K)

But it got rougher, and I realized I should have taken the detour.

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And then it got worse. It was very hard carrying the bike with the gear on it through this while wearing bike shoes.

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Here's another canal boat by Great Falls.

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Every 8-10 miles on the towpath there are primitive hiker/biker camp sites. This is a pretty typical one.

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This is White's Ferry. It's a real working ferry over the river. I had a tasty burger in there for lunch.

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When a river enters the Potomoc, the towpath goes over the river in a viaduct. This is the Monocacy Viaduct, which is the biggest viaduct on the towpath. They are working hard to keep it from falling down.

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End of the road for today. The Harper's Ferry hostel is on the Appalachian Trail. Most of the trail hikers camp out back. It's only $5 to camp. When I was there, bizarre group was there on some sort of youth retreat. They had rented the whole place except for the back yard where the hikers camp. They were very rude and weird. They wouldn't let anyone talk to them. When I got there their leader handed me a piece of paper explaining that they were some sort of international youth fellowship and they would appreciate it if I didn't interact with them because they didn't want their participants to be intimidated by outsiders.

I hung out with the AT hikers, and we discussed how annoying the youth group people were. Awhile later, I saw them "pretending to be America" while wearing donkey ears on their heads and braying in a circle. I probably didn't help matters by riding in with my red, white, and blue flag jersey on.

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