30 June, 2010

C & O Canal + Mt Vernon Day 4

Day 4: Great Falls Park, Potomac

Wednesday June 30, 2010, 34 miles (55 km) - Total so far: 179 miles (288 km)

We woke up late to let the hordes of mosquitoes disperse. The weather is cooler and the bugs are still hunting after 10 so we just pack up quickly and flee.The path was choppy at times but butter smooth once we got closer to the suburbs of DC. The river starts to get rocky like we saw at Harpers Ferry.

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Click here for a larger version of the picturethe rocky Potomac

As we approach Great Falls the path is gorgeous. We start to see herons and many different types of fish in the canal. We also start to see more people.

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Click here for a larger version of the picturenear the town of Potomac

Great Falls Park offers short rides on the canal in a historical boat. The park was under repair due to flooding but we still found a place to buy a snack.
The entire canal is "trash free" which means you pack out your trash. I didn't have a problem with this policy until we reached this park. No garbage cans at a snack stand means that people leave garbage everywhere.

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Click here for a larger version of the picturehistorical canal boat with mules

I had low expectations for Great Falls Park but the pictures do no justice. The rockiness is dramatic and it continues for at least a mile on the Potomac.

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Click here for a larger version of the picturegreat blue heron

It reminded me of the wild scenery I associate with the national parks of our western states. Throngs of tourists have ruined another gem. We moved on after only a few minutes even though the views were divine.

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Click here for a larger version of the pictureGreat Falls Park

The riding south of Great Falls felt extra special with wooden bridges and boulders lining the canal.

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Click here for a larger version of the picturesuper scenic path at Great Falls

We stopped at the Angler's Inn since it was the only nearby food on the map. Once we found this high-priced restaurant we wondered if they would even seat dirty cyclists. The servings were small but we ate happily.

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Click here for a larger version of the picturegeology of Cumberland to DC