Archive for the ‘Miles 151-184 1/2’ Category

Yet Another Blog Post About the Paw Paw Tunnel


Inside Looking Out


Before anybody moans or cries out, “Oh, no! Not another blog post about the Paw Paw Tunnel!” let me explain. I readily admit that this is our obligatory homage to the tunnel, so let’s keep this short and sweet.

Survey Marker Inside the Tunnel

 

In other words, there are dozens of places on the internet that’ll tell you how long the tunnel is and when it was (yawn) built. Instead, here are a couple of oddball pictures that don’t generally turn up in the usual write-up of the most famous and popular destination on the C&O Canal. BTW–bring a flashlight. It’s dark in there!

Believe it or not, when you get about 1/2 through the tunnel, you can't see your hand in front of your face!

Picking Up Trash on Level 57 aka Twigg Hollow

Lock 63 1/3

 

 

Volunteering in a national park can take a person to some out-of-the-way places, and the Twigg Hollow section of the C&O Canal NHP doesn’t tend to get many visitors–in spite of its close proximity to the popular Paw Paw Tunnel.

 

 

View of the towpath just south of Lock 63 1/3


Traditionally, Level 57 starts at Lock 61 and ends at Lock 63 1/3, but, as usual, we do most things backward, and this isn’t any different!

No peepers this time!

 

 

This isn’t our ‘official’ section to pick up trash, but when did the walk in May the canal was filled with water and a plethora of frogs and ducks. What a difference a few months makes! This time around, the canal bed and the stream at Gross Hollow were bone dry, but beautiful just the same.

 

 

Gross Hollow Culvert

 

The Gross Hollow Culvert generally allows a fast-flowing mountain stream to pass underneath of the canal. It is a brick-lined structure that looks like the Paw Paw Tunnel in miniature from the inside. Hikers and bikers tend to either walk or ride past many interesting structures, and I would recommend a guide book to anyone who wants to get the most out of a trip down the canal.

Check out the 'shroom'!

Do I really have to climb down there to pick up a lousy yogurt container?

'Plain Yogurt? Do people really eat this stuff or do they just like throwing it in the canal?'

 

 

 

 

 

After a hike of about 1.5 miles, we reached our destination at Lock 61. We didn’t have much trash to show for our effort, but sometimes that’s a good thing–it shows that most visitors enjoy their outings without making a mess out of the scenery.

 

 

 

 

 

Not much trash on Level 57! Fourteen pieces to be exact!

Another Ride…

Preparing to ride the C&O as a three day trip is almost as difficult as the journey itself. It takes lots of miles of training to get ready, but we’re lucky that there’s plenty of great scenery and history to explore in the process. With that in mind, we decided to take a 40 mile (round trip) ride between Pearre Station and the Paw Paw Tunnel. The area between mile markers 137 and 156 have been described as being among the most scenic and secluded on the towpath, so let’s get started…

One of the Views from Level 52

A Strong Foundation!


In case you’ve missed the About Us page, we’re members of the C&O Canal Association, and we volunteer on what is known as Level 52, which lies between the Sideling Hill Creek and Fifteen Mile Creek Aqueducts. Here’s where we started. The usual 4.5 mile walk to Little Orleans takes a while, but on a bike it goes quickly. We decided that we felt pretty strong at that point and pressed on toward the tunnel.

Relaxing in the Sun!

A Little Color on the Trail...

'Water Fall' at the Paw Paw Tunnel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those who haven’t heard, there’s talk of extending the Western Maryland Rail Trail from Pearre Station to Paw Paw, and the proposed route would go through two tunnels and cross the Potomac six times. We didn’t get a look at the tunnels, but it’s easy enough to spot where the trail will be crossing the river. Several high abandoned railroad bridges can be spotted from the towpath, and when everything is finished, the WMRT will–perhaps–be the premier rails-to-trails bike route in the eastern U.S.

'Peanut Butter on Toast'

All of that is in the future, but for now the C&O has plenty to offer. Fortunately, we caught the old canal bed during the wet period, and the area didn’t lack in either turtle sightings or beaver sign. Perhaps the most spectacular remnant of the recent rains is the waterfall near the Paw Paw Tunnel. It doesn’t get a whole lot better than this stretch of the canal, and we’re certainly looking forward to seeing it again in June!

'King of the Road'!