Biking the GapC&O, Sunday, 38mi to Shepherdstown

We start our day jumping back across the river and onto the trail

Note the flood stages marked on the ferry building.  From where I stand it looks like high water would reach into the treetops

On the trail

Near Brunswick, I’m starting to notice the C&O canal fading here and there.  At one point, we had the Potomac River about 20 foot below us, we’re riding on the towpath, with the canal to our right forming a dry 20 foot wide swale, then up another 30 foot embankment to railroad tracks and a roadway before hitting a sharp granite cliff. With another hundred years I think many sections of the C&O will disappeared completely.

The Appalachian Trail (AT) crosses the C&O, so we take out stop at the trail blazes, ditch the bikes and do a bit of hiking

As you can see, the AT isn’t very wide, and could get a bit LONG.  Back to bikes!

A few miles down our trail we came to Harpers Ferry, where we pulled our bikes up a steel set of stairs, across the bridge and into the historic town. 

Harpers Ferry sits at the point where three states – West Virginia, Maryland  and Virginia all touch at the  touch at the confluence of the Shenandoah  and  Potomac Rivers, forming and important trade route.

The Potomac does not look too powerful here, but we’ve been seeing warning signs all along the way about powerful currents.

The AT has been walking along with us the last few miles… here they turn south and head toward Georgia

Lunch by 2pm at the Harpers Ferry Cannonball Deli (gotta love the name)

Tasty – I was getting hungry, and then I needed a nap (sorry to say, the nap was nixed)

The Confederates took this city early in the war causing great consternation, with Washington DC only 50 miles away. 
The Union troops under McCellen pulled back and formed at Sharpsburg  and that draws the battle lines we’re visiting tomorrow.
We arrived in Shepherdstown just after 4pm, and checked into a quaint B&B.

Academic pursuits and lifelong learning never stops, so I’m getting a more formal education about the battle at Antietam in the Civil War

Well, mostly academic…

Shepherdstown is a nice town, and Sunday evening provides us a number of dinner choices… top of which for Bruce is Domestic, and it proved to be a great choice. 

Home of Shepherd University

Highlights:

Stats: 41.9 bike miles, 500ft of the Appalachian Trail.

Beer of the day: Big Timber Dry Sluice Stout @Domestic, Shepherdstown

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