Archive for the ‘Picking Up Trash’ Category

Pickin’ Up Trash on Level 52

The View from Sideling Hill Creek Aqueduct

We spend a lot of time volunteering on the C&O Canal between the Sideling Hill and Fifteen Mile Creek Aqueducts, and our little section has turned into a home-away-from-home over the past couple of years. We headed to good ol’ Level 52 with a bit of trepidation today because of the recent passing of Hurricane Irene and a relatively significant earthquake that occurred about a week earlier.

'You can't see me!'


Hero in a Half Shell...He was ready for a fight!

 

 

Fortunately, all of the local canal structures stood up the the jolt of the ‘quake, and the thirsty ground soaked up the biggest part of the recent rain. Instead of a soggy mess, we found a relatively dry towpath, and several animals were at play in the park.

 

 

 

'I wonder who was playing here?'


Kickin' Sticks

 

 

Most of the time, the hikers and bikers in the park keep things pretty clean, and today wasn’t any different. We filled two kitchen garbage bags with trash and kicked a few fallen limbs out of the way of the bicyclists.

 

 

 

A plastic bowl? This gives the expression, 'Breakfast on the go,' a whole new meaning!

Another View from Level 52

 

 

In fact, as I think back on today’s hike, I can only muster one major complaint: the gnats were out in droves, and the Deep Woods Off didn’t serve as much of a deterrent! If anybody knows of a method or product that holds these pests at bay, feel free to leave a comment!

 

 

The Bat Cave...I mean, Bat Gate!

 

 

Also, the bat gate project at the Indigo Tunnel appears to be completed. Our last post on this topic shows a large empty hole in the middle of the gate, but I’m pleased to announce that the doors have since been added. In all, it was a beautiful and satisfying day to take a hike in the C&O Canal NHP!

 

 

 

 

 

A Perfect Day!

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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!

Okay, So What Is a Level Walker?

When the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was in operation, employees known as level walkers plugged leaks in the canal, kept beavers and muskrats in check, and generally reported on the condition of the canal, towpath, and all of the structures along the way. Today, only about thirty miles of the canal are watered, so the modern level walker has a different set of duties.

Today’s level walkers are volunteers who are members of the C&O Canal Association. Memberships are $15 per individual or $25 per family or patron. Association benefits include a quarterly newsletter and numerous opportunities to participate in hikes, picnics, boating, biking, etc. Level walking isn’t a necessary activity for association members, as one can join the bike patrol, volunteer at the many visitors centers along the towpath, or simply enjoy any of the activities listed above.

One peculiarity of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP is that it stretches out over a distance of 184.5 miles. Granted, it’s very narrow, but the odd shape and many miles make the park volunteers a great addition to the rangers and maintenance staff.  For more information, visit the C&O Canal Association’s website at http://www.candocanal.org