A through ride of the C&O Canal from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC.
I’ll admit it. I’m an unabashed fan of the C&O Canal. Sure it’s barely a canal anymore… more like a sloppy dashed line of recreated waterway, swampy remnants and long-forgotten gambles on 19th-century wealth.
But it’s also a symbol of American ingenuity. Back in the day the canal was a technological marvel, particularly the Paw Paw Tunnel, which took a veritable army of bricklayers and barge-loads of dynamite to create a shortcut through a mountain, avoiding a treacherous stretch of the Potomac River.
It’s also a symbol of America’s commitment to conservation. After decades of neglect following it’s bankruptcy, it took advocates and dedicated hiking enthusiasts like Justice William O. Douglas and Senator Robert Kennedy to prove the C&O as a true gem for outdoor enthusiasts. Once the NPS took over, thanks to the advocacy of Justice Douglas and others, millions of people have traveled this skinny national historic park’s 184.5 miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD. Some to walk their dogs for a few hundred yards, some for a few miles on a nature walk, and some of us biking the whole length… an escape from urban life, if only for a few days.
My love affair with the C&O goes back to the very beginning of my love affair with bike touring. With its start less than 2 miles from my home in DC, it’s always beckoning me to come for a ride.
And that’s what I did in the spring of 2016. It wasn’t my first, and certainly won’t be my last time. In fact, every ride feels a little bit like going home. If my home were 6 feet wide and 184.5 miles long… and full of frogs.
$10 — 29 episodes, 64 minutes