I had no problem finding mile zero. Spending the night at a friend’s house, I zipped down Rock Creek Parkway and nearly whizzed by the C&O Canal Sign. Then I knew to follow the signs to Thompson’s Boat Center. (TIP: watch the You Tube video the night before you need to find the way, it should be easy peasy then.)
It was a little aggravating to find a construction detour around Lock 3& 4, but I simply went around the block, biking on the sidewalk. It helped that it was only about 8 am and the businesses were not open in Georgetown.
Lots of noise as I made my way out of DC, planes, helicopters, cars. Many bikers heading into the city on their commute.
It got nice and quiet around mile 12, the trail must pull away from the roads. There was no bikers on the towpath on this muggy Monday morning. This eight point buck barely looked up from his breakfast. I realized he had no natural predators in this part of the state.
This section of the towpath had what looked like working locks. These were interesting to see, my knowledge of working towpath locks have been pictures up until now.
The changing topography clued me in that we were getting into the Great Falls Area. Big rock formations along the canal. When I walked out to the Overlook, there was maybe six other people there. Another positive for starting my tour on a Monday.
Seneca Creek Aqueduct
There was lots of excitement around the Aqueduct due to kids gearing up to kayak and canoe in Seneca Creek. There was still nobody on the towpath!
After the aqueduct here, the mud sections began. It was a bit difficult to maneuver through the mud puddles. It wasn’t that I cared so much about being muddy, the mud slowed the bike down. Then sometimes the rear tire would slide about in the mud.
I didn’t carry enough calories on Day One. I was happy to get to White’s Ferry and see they offered food! There was even a grill operating, but I was happy to get a Coke and candy bar to keep going down the trail.
Is it Mile 50- or Mile 55?
My husband and I had a bit of a miscommunication. We both thought I was going to mile 50, to Brunswick. It turned out that Brunswick was Mile 55. I was bonking by this time. My phone was down to a 10% signal, I wanted to be done, but…I had another four miles to ride.
The bike trail merges with a slight uphill dirt road by a camp ground…and I feel the tire go whoosh and now I have a flat. I keep biking. I see my happy husband and I tell him to take my picture, so I can take off this helmet and get some food and fix my tire.. Waah!
I take the bike to the local bike shop, Three Points Cycle where Keith fixes my tire in no time, tells me my rear derailleur is bent, and we are able to get cleaned up to meet friends in Harpers Ferry to celebrate my first day on the trail.
Things I learned
I forgot bug spray and music on day one. Luckily, it was fine.
Remember to pack sandwich for the day. Carry enough calories for the day!
Keep the phone off to conserve battery. I carried a camera for pictures.