2016 GAP/C&O
Following are photos and narrative from an unsupported bikepacking trip from
Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, D.C. along the
Great Allegheny Passage and Cumberland & Ohio Canal Towpath.

Click on any of the images to see a larger, higher resolution view.
Click on the daily stats to see a map and elevation profile of that day's ride.
Day 1 Stats
FatBikePacking I had been spending the last two weeks preparing my camping gear for this one. Even though I had done similar bicycle camping trips in the past, this one was going to be a little different. On my previous trips I had always pulled a trailer behind my bike with all of my supplies, but that option was not going to be available this time. I had cracked the frame of my primary bike several weeks ago, so my only alternative would be to ride my fatbike. The extra wide frame and thru-axle interface of the rear wheel would not allow for the connection of a trailer, so all of my gear would have to fit on the bike, or in a backpack. This being the case, I had to be more careful in the decision-making process about what to bring, since I would be more limited on space. To show just how meticulous I was in this preparation, here is the packing list of every item I packed, and where it was located in my storage bags.
I made the final preparations to my bike and had it all loaded up the night before. I woke up at 4:00am, had a light breakfast, took a shower, and was out the door at 5:00. Instead of transporting the bike in a car, I had decided to ride the bike to Easton to meet the rest of the group for the van ride to the start in Pittsburgh. I figured it would be one less car sitting for 5 days in an already congested parking area. Less than a mile from my house, I had a near mishap making a rookie mistake. At this time of day, there are almost no cars on the road, so I was being very lazy about looking for traffic at intersections, and almost rode right out in front of a Nazareth police car! I, of all people, should have known better, and got back to my normal cautious, aware riding style as I rode my standard, scenic route to Easton, through Tatamy, down the Palmer Bikeway, up the hill on Mitman Road, and of course over Paxinosa and back down Lafayette's College Hill.
Loading the Van We met at the Cornerstone Church in Easton, who had agreed to use their van and bike-hauling trailer to get the seven of us to the start in Pittsburgh, and pick us up in Washington, since the ride was in support of Restoring Hope Ministries. In addition to myself was John Strom, the owner of Cycle Fitters bike shop who had organized the trip. Also along were Pastors Tim Ackley and Tim VanSumeren, from the Cornerstone Church. The three other riders from the Cycle Fitters crew were Darin Leuders, Jason Frederickson, and Virgil Fuentes. Tim V's wife, Helen was also along for the drive, as she would be taking the van back home, and coming to DC to pick us up at the end. Surprisingly, everyone showed up on time, loading our gear into the trailer went very smoothly, and we were on the road sometime between 6:30 and 7:00.

The van ride was fairly uneventful, we made a couple stops for snacks, bathroom, and fuel, and were in Pittsburgh before noon. We unloaded the trailer, arranged gear on our bikes, changed into riding clothes, and headed out to the Point for the start of our journey.
The Point "The Point" is the tip of Point State Park, the spot where the three rivers of Pittsburgh come together. On the north side is the Allegheny River, on the south side is the Monongehela River, and they come together to form a much larger Ohio River that flows out to the West. We stopped here for a few pictures and talked briefly with a couple guys with the DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resourses), who took a few pictures of our group, and gave us some good information about the official route that the Great Allegheny Passage trail takes for the first few blocks out of the city's downtown district.
The Point Fountain We headed out of Point State Park at about 1:30, followed Boulevard of the Allies for about 5 blocks, then one more block to the south where we picked up the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, the beginning of the Great Allegheny Passage. We were finally on our way! Steel City
The first mile and a half of the trail was very noisy with vehicle traffic, as it runs right alongside interstate 376. Once we crossed the Hot Metal Bridge to the South Side the ride became slightly less urban feeling, and we could hear each other talk without having to yell.
Lunch Ater about another 8 miles, we stopped in Homestead, at the Waterfront Shopping District. This used to be a big steel manufacturing area which has since been converted to hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. We wasted about 20 minutes looking for a Jimmy Johns sandwich shop that was on the directory map, but is no longer there, and ended up at a Chik-Fil-A for lunch. I would have loved to stop at Burgatory, which offers incredible burgers and milkshakes, but we decided we didn't have enough time for a sit-down meal at a "real" restaurant, and fast food would get us back on the trail sooner, and hopefully to our first campground before dark.
We got back on the trail, which parallels the Monongehela River through some industrial areas, past Kennywood Amusement Park, with a couple climbs up to bridges that cross some of the many railroad tracks. We crossed the Monongehela River into McKeesport where the trail follows some streets before turning into the greenway alongside the Youghiogheny River. The trail sticks to the river, which meanders along through several small towns, the only interruption being the occasional single-lane gate at a road crossing, most of which had no traffic to stop for.
Yough Twister About 33 miles into our trip we came to a small town called Sutersville, where we stopped for ice cream at a small roadside take-out called Yough Twister, less than a quarter-mile off the trail. We were roughly halfway to our destination for the day, and seemed to be on schedule for arraiving at the campsite before sunset.
There are several small towns along the trail that offer food, water, accomodations, camping, bike shops, and trailhead parking. Every so often we would also pass "primitive" campsites, consisting of a flat area to set up tents, a picnic table or two, a portable toilet, and a water hand-pump. On the GAP section of the trail between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, the water pumps were marked with signage warning that the water was non-potable, meaning not safe for consumption.
Flat! It is important to be prepared for any mechanical issues your bicycle may experience on a longer journey. Our first such stop was whan John got a flat tire, which was quickly repaired by replacing the tube. Not much further down the trail, the same tire went flat again! A small piece of glass had become embedded in his tire, which he didn't notice at the time of the first repair. John patched the hole in the tube, removed the piece of glass, and we had no more issues for the remainder of the day. Flat!
We arrived at the KOA campground in Connellsville, at about 6:30, set up out tents, and took advantage of the hot shower facility. Most of us cooked dinner, a task involving no more than adding boiling water to a foil pouch of freeze-dried, already prepared meals. Virgil decided to take the even easier option of ordering a pizza from the campground store. I made a cup of coffee, and we sat around our campfire while listening to a few of Tim V's stories that are probably inappropriate to share in this medium. Our only excitement came when Tim A scrambled and made a quick dash toward his tent when he thought an ember from our fire was in danger of landing on his tent and leaving a hole in his rainfly.

We decided to turn in for the night at around 10:00, and it felt like perfect weather for sleeping outdoors. I put in some earplugs, as there are train tracks that run on the opposite side of the river, and we could hear the occasional loud sounds of diesel engines and train whistles.
Day 2 Stats
We awoke to a very wet morning, a lot of dew had condensed on everything, and it was very foggy. Everyone was stirring by a little before 7:00. I made a cup of coffee, and some instant oatmeal for a quick breakfast, as we all slowly began packing up camp. We noticed the water at the campsite tasted like the water that comes through a garden hose. The piping to the tent camping area looked relatively new, and the plastic flavor probably needs to be flushed out. We rolled out of camp right around 9:00.
Darin Three miles down the trail we stopped at Martin's grocery store (identical to our local Giant stores) where we picked up some more substantial breakfast food. While most people were eating things like bananas or muffins, and refilling their hydration with clean, bottled water, I decided on a turkey sandwich from the deli. We got back on the trail, our next scheduled stop being OhioPyle, Pennsylvania.
Riders There was not nearly as much traffic on the trail as we had expected for a holiday (Labor Day) weekend. As we rode along, I noticed many steel railroad bridges, probably built in the time when Pittsburgh was in its steel-making heyday. Steel Bridge
Bridge The old bridges still had their steel structure underneath, but the railroad ties and rails have been replaced with a more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly wooden decking.
Signs There was generally very good signage along the trail, indicating services available, and mileages to the next towns that would offer amenities. Only 257 more miles to Washington, D.C.! Signs
Yough Crossing We crossed the Youghiogheny River two times in Ohiopyle State park, before stopping in town for lunch. This was one of the more congested parts of the trail. The State Park has a lot of activities that attract visitors, and the town of Ohiopyle also seemed to have a lot going on. The town park had some sort of fair happening, perhaps for the holiday weekend. There were several different food options available. I ate a pulled pork sandwich with fries and coleslaw, with a fresh squeezed lemonade, while relaxing to the sound of Neil Young being played over the loudspeakers at the fair across the street.
The next few miles were a little tough, I had eaten too much, and was feeling a little bloated. A little further down the trail, our group got passed by two guys on cyclocross bikes, wearing matching kits. Half-joking, I stood up and took a few hard cranks, as though I was going to get on their wheel and try to draft them. Immediately, Jason was right behind me hoping I was serious, but I decided I wasn't going to play that game - not while riding a fatbike loaded down with camping gear, still feeling a little full from lunch.
Conflunce Our next stop was in Confluence, Pennsylvania, where we regrouped and had a group photo taken with one of the girls who was working at the trailside information booth. There is a dam on the Youghiogheny River in Confluence, and it is also the place where the Youghiogheny, the Casselman River, and Laurel Hill Creek all meet. Confluence also has an ice cream stand, and although I probably didn't need it, I had a soft-serve cone anyway. Here the trail begins following the Casselman River. Confluence
Paceline For the most part we rode as a group. Every once in a while we would split into two subgroups, the faster riders getting ahead by a few minutes, but we would always stop occasionally to make sure the gap between us didn't get too big. This way if anyone was feeling too overly tired to keep up, or having mechanical issues with their bike, they wouldn't get left behind all alone.
Casselman River About ten miles from Confluence, we crossed the Casselman River, travelled through the Pinkerton Tunnel, and crossed the river again. This route was most likely planned for the railroad to avoid a very tight bend in the river. The Pinkerton Tunnel had been rebuilt, and was closed with a necessary detour route along the bend in the river until recently. Tunnel
Rockwood 49 miles into our day, we stopped in Rockwood, Pennsylvania, to regroup. Again, I noticed very good signage with information regarding different points of interest, mileages, and a little bit of history. Rockwood
Artwork This piece of artwork in Rockwood is a nice tribute to the bicycle trail that was once a railroad bed.
Rockwood Aside from the previously mentioned signage, Rockwood also has a staffed visitor center. It offers maps, cold drinks, and an employee that had a lot of good information. Information
Salisbury Viaduct In another 10 miles, we crossed the Salisbury Viaduct, a 1,908-foot long elevated section of the trail which crosses Route 219 (also known as the Mason-Dixon Highway and the Flight 93 Memorial Highway), an active railroad, and the Casselman River. It is more than 100 feet above the ground at its highest point. Salisbury Viaduct
Meyersdale We passed through Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, in just another 1.5 miles. Here, the trail begins following the Flaugherty Creek, a tributary to the Casselman River. This trail system brings a lot of business to these small towns, and they do a good job of letting the trail users know what services are offered, and where they are located.
Steel Bridge We crossed a few more steel bridges. They looked exceedingly overbuilt for a bike trail, since they were originally engineered to carry the weight of trains. Steel Bridge
Eastern Continental Divide Finally, after 70 miles of riding, we reached the Eastern Continental Divide. We had been riding on a steady 1%-2% grade all day, which is relatively flat, but that slight upward grade takes a toll on your legs, especially when your bike is heavily loaded down. All of the water on the west side of the Divide, where we had been riding flows into the Gulf of Mexico. We were now crossing to the east side, where the water sheds into the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. Everyone's spirits were high, as we knew it would be almost all downhill from this point to our campsite. We briefly chatted with a group of six other guys who were also riding the entire GAP/C&O trail system all the way to Washington, and they were planning on staying at the same place as us that night. Eastern Continental Divide
We passed through the Big Savage Tunnel, the longest tunnel of our journey, which is also the only tunnel with electric lighting. Sorry, I didn't have the opportunity to get a photograph - I was too occupied with trying to catch up with Virgil, who loves going fast on a downhill, and had dropped the entire group.
Mason-Dixon Line On the way down the hill we crossed the Mason-Dixon Line. Virgil and I were cruising down the trail so fast, we almost missed it! This line was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 as a resolution of a border dispute involving Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware in Colonial America. This line was viewed as the division between North and South during the Civil War, as Maryland was still a slave state and Pennsylvania was a free state. Mason-Dixon Line
We also passed through the Borden Tunnel, and again, no picture. Speeding down the hill toward camp required too much concentration.
Frostburg Fat Tire We exited the trail in Frostburg, Maryland, and had to climb a series of switchback corners that rose about 100 feet in a half mile to reach our campground. The Fat Tire banner brought a smile to my face, as I felt I had earned a beer after the day's ride. The other group we had talked to earlier had pre-paid for their dinner, and it was almost given to our group by mistake when we showed up! It sounded like a good deal, so we ordered the same thing: broaster chicken dinner with cole slaw and corn on the cob, along with a second Fat Tire. Tim A wasn't feeling too well, a little exhausted from the ride, and most likely a little dehydrated, so he saved most of his for later. Lesson
Camp Ramp After dinner we had to climb up a rather steep ramp to the tent camping site, above the restaurant. After setting up our tents, we headed back down the ramp to the showers, which were by far the nicest campsite showers I've seen. It felt like we were walking into somone's home, and they even supplied the towels and soap. Tents
I went back into the restaurant to get a bowl of butter pecan ice cream, and we sat on the deck outside talking with the other group of cyclists, who were staying in the bunk house, rather than tent for the night.As I climbed into my tent around 10:00, I could hear fireworks in the distance, but could not see where they were coming from.

In the middle of the night, I heard a critter (most likely a raccoon) trying to get at my food bag, which was outside my tent, but inside the rainfly. I made some noise, which seemed to scare it away. I couldn't decide if it would be worse to wake everyone to warn them of the imposing threat, or just go back to sleep, and say nothing. I quickly fell back asleep.
Day 3 Stats
We were up a little before 7:00. The raccoon must have made its way over to Jason after I scared it last night, because he had half a bag of chips that was torn up and eaten. Tim V also received a visit, as he had some leftover dinner out on a picnic table. The food was gone, and the styrofoam container shredded.

As I was preparing my coffee and oatmeal, there was a mishap. Tim V had walked over to my area to borrow my stove, as he didn't have one. He got up from the rather unstable picnic table, and fuel spilled out of my already burning stove, flames quickly running all over the plastic table. After a small adrenaline rush, I quickly extinguished the flames, and assessed that there was no major damage, other than some melted plastic on my stove.
Turntable We were pretty much all packed up and ready to roll by 8:30, with the exception of Virgil. We were still waiting on him to pack up his "condo" - he had the largest tent out of everyone in our group. After riding down the steep ramps from the tent camping area, I ventured out onto the still-functional railroad turntable, which I almost needed to use to turn around, as my bike was so heavy! We assembled for another group photo before heading back down the switchbacks to the trail and leaving Frostburg. Group Photo
Brush Tunnel The first 15 miles of our day were still on a downgrade, so they seemed to disappear quickly and easily. On the way down to Cumberland we passed through the Brush Tunnel. The track adjacent to the bike trail is used by the Western Maryland scenic railroad that runs a steam powered train uphill from Cumberland to Frostburg daily. This video shows why one should not bicycle through the tunnel when a train is present.
Riding Along Tracks The trail follows the railroad tracks down the hill to Cumberland. Every once in a while the trail crosses over from one side of the tracks to the opposite side. When crossing, riders must be careful to not catch their tires between the rails and the trail surface. They must also be aware if there is a train present, as this is still an active rail line. Riding Along Tracks
Cumberland Trail Connection We arrived in Cumberland, Maryland after about an hour of riding. We stopped at Cumberland Trail Connection, which is more than just the local bike shop. They offer shuttle services all through the Pittsburgh-to-DC biking corridor, camping and outdoor equipment, and a variety of homebrewing supplies. Darin and I bought the shop GAP/C&O bike jerseys, and the employee who took care of us also gave a great recommendation for breakfast. We headed to the Queen City Creamery, only a few blocks away, where I thoroughly enjoyed two Grab-N-Go Breakfast Sandwiches - only $4 each, and they were huge! They also have ice cream, but it was a little too early for that, even for me.
C&O Trail After breakfast we headed back to the bike trail. We had completed the Great Allegheny Passage leg of our journey, and were now connecting to the Cumberland & Ohio Canal Towpath, which runs parallel to the North Branch of the Potomac River. The trail is relatively flat, as it follows the river downhill to Washington, D.C., but only descends about 615 feet over 185 miles.
Jason The trail is very scenic, especially in the basins where the canal widens into a pond. Along the way we saw a couple snakes on the trail. The first one was very small, and looked like a stick. I unfortunately ran over it before I realized it was actually a snake. The second one was rather large, and had its head up in the air. I managed to hop my heavy bike up in the air to avoid hitting it. We had planned on stopping in Old Town, Maryland, for lunch, but we missed it. The town isn't right on the trail, but across the canal far enough away that we didn't even see it. By the time we realized we had passed it, none of us wanted to backtrack, so we decided to head to the next town with food instead.
Paw Paw, WV Our next stop was in Paw Paw. Tim V said he wasn't feeling too hungry, and didn't want to add any extra distance, so he stayed behind and took a nap on the side of the trail, while the rest of us went about a mile out of our way, across the Potomac River, and just into West Virgina to stop at a roadside Ice Cream Parlor called Ellie's. While everyone else was ordering sandwiches for lunch, I decided it was time for ice cream. I had a mocha shake with malt and whipped cream. Jason wanted lunch also, but nothing as big as the sandwiches the others received, so he ordered a turkey sandwich from the kids' menu called the "Li'l Gobbler." This became his nickname for the rest of the trip, and it seems to have stuck.
After lunch we headed to the gas station/convenience store across the street to get a few odds and ends that we needed for camp that night. As we were getting ready to head back to the trail, Li'l Gobbler noticed his rear tire was very low on air, so we stopped quickly to put a plug in it and air it up. We went back to the trail to meet Tim, and continued on our way.
Paw Paw Tunnel Only a mile further we passed through the Paw Paw Tunnel. This canal tunnel was built to bypass the Paw Paw Bends, a 6-mile stretch of the Potomac River containing five horseshoe-shaped bends. The trail is very narrow through the brick-lined tunnel, with an uneven surface, and very dark. We stopped briefly on the other side to take a few pictures. Paw Paw Tunnel
Leaving Paw Paw Tunnel The trail leaving the Paw Paw Tunnel is a man-made wooden deck surface for a few hundred yards before returning to the normal crushed gravel. We rode for several miles, and had to stop at one of the primitive campsites so John could fix yet another flat, this time his front tire. We took the opportunity to fill our water bottles at the hand-pump well. The wells on the C&O towpath, unlike the non-potable water available on the GAP, were treated with iodine, a disinfectant, which makes the water safe to drink. Although iodine will kill any bacteria in the water, making it drinkable, too much iodine over an extended period of time can lead to a thyroid disorder.
10,000! We stopped on the side of the trail at the Little Tonoloway Day Use Area, in the town of Hancock, Maryland, to regroup, and celebrate the fact that I had just broken 10,000 bicycling miles for 2016! We went into town to grab some food at the Sheetz, and beer at the liquor store, to take to our campsite for the night. I put six bottles of Sam Adams in my backpack, which made it feel very heavy for the remaining four miles to camp. The primitive camsites have no trash facilities, which meant we were going to have to carry the empty beer botttles out with us in the morning.
We arrived at the Little Pool primitive campground with plenty of daylight left to set up camp, and cook up some dinner. A couple of the guys went into the river to wash up, and said the water was very refreshng. While we were making dinner a young couple rolled in, and we recognized them as the same couple that had stayed at the campground with us in Frostburg the night before. We talked with them over dinner and a campfire made from wood we were able to scavenge from the surrounding forest, and what was left behind by the campers before us. They were Clint & Marissa, from Philly, and shared their story about forgetting to pack their sleeping bags after their first night in Connellsville. Luckily the weather had been very warm for sleeping at night, so their biggest issue was the fact that they had lost their expensive sleeping bags.

We noticed that there were a lot more bugs here than there were on our previous nights. This was probably because we were lower in elevation, the campsite was right next to the river, and we were directly across the towpath from the canal, which at this point is a very wide, calm pond. It looked as though we may not get too much direct sunlight first thing in the morning, as the campsite is in the middle of some dense trees.
Spider Jason and I were the last ones to turn in for the night. We noticed that someone had left half a bag of beef jerky on the picnic table. After our incident with the raccoon the night before, we decided to line up our empty beer bottles overlapping the edges of the bag, to serve as an alarm to alert us if any animals tried to get into it. Right before climbing into my tent for the night, Jason pointed out this rather large spider beginning to build a web right over the head of his bivy sack. I was asleep just before 10:00.
Day 4 Stats
Breaking Camp We were all up around 6:30, and noticed another set of tents in the site. Jason said the other group rolled in just after I went to sleep. He had talked with them briefly, and learned that the reason they were so late getting in to camp was that they had also stopped in Hancock, but got hung up drinking at the local bar! I made my standard coffee and oatmeal breakfast as I packed up my camping gear. Breaking Camp
Potomac Virgil was the first one ready to go this morning, helmet on and ready to ride before most of us were even done breaking down camp. John noticed his front tire had lost all air pressure overnight, and repaired his fourth flat of the trip, while I took a few minutes to get a photo of the view looking up the Potomac River.
Trail We left camp right around 9:00. After about ten miles we stopped briefly at Fort Frederick State Park, hoping they had a trash facility to dispose of our garbage and beer bottles from the night before, but no luck. Just a little further down the trail we came upon a drive-in campground, but also no trash. I played the sympathy card, and got some good-natured folks to let us dump our garbage in with theirs.
Boats Four more miles down the trail we stopped briefly to take in the view of Dam Number 5, one of several dams along the Potomac that was used to supply water to the C&O Canal. It is now used to generate power for Washington, D.C. Dam
Desert Rose After about another six miles, we stopped in the town of Williamsport, ready for a more substantial meal. An employee at the Canal museum directed us a few blocks down the street to the Desert Rose Cafe, where I had a Reuben and a cup of coffee. Rose, the owner, also owns the ice cream parlor across the street. Although it wasn't open yet, she went there to scoop me up a bowl of "white turtle," butter pecan with caramel swirled through it. Mmmmmmm. Thanks, Rose! Dam
Riding Along the River The trail runs right along the bank of the Potomac River. There were some long sections that looked like almost brand new concrete, probably rebuilt recently from the trail being washed out when the river got too high. Riding Along the River
Smoke 'em if you got 'em We briefly lost Virgil, so John and I decided to kill some time. No, those aren't real smokes, rather the old-fashioned sugar sticks that look like cigarettes, that are very hard to come by these days. I backtracked to look for Virgil, and found him just as he was finishing up repairing a flat tire.
Harpers FerryThe next place with any services worth stopping for would have been Shepherdstown, WV. When we got there, we decided that we didn't really need anything, and weren't even hungry yet, so we decided to push on to Harpers Ferry, WV. When we got there, we realized that we would have had to leave our bikes on the Maryland side of the river and walk the old railroad bridge over to West Virginia. We had left our bikes outside at restaurants several times, but none of us was comfortable with the thought of leaving them that far out of site for such a long period of time, so we decided to skip this stop, also. This part of the trail was the busiest with pedestrian traffic, many of them with inner tubes for floating on the river.
We pushed on to Brunswick, Maryland, our final destination for the day. We stopped at the local bike shop, just on the opposite side of the canal from the towpath, and were given a recommendation for dinner. We rode just a couple blocks to the Potomac Street Grill and sat on their outdoor patio where I had a gyro and Maryland crab soup with a root beer and a glass of hard cider. Both the food and the service were great.

The Brunswick Family Campground was just another mile down the trail. We got hot showers, bought 3 bundles of firewood, and a few ice cream bars from the camp store. We sat around the campfire telling stories and complaining about the mosquitos until about 10:00.
Day 5 Stats
We were up just after 6:00. I was out of oatmeal, so with my morning coffee, I took a couple foil packs of flavored tuna and threw them into tortillas to make 4 wraps for breakfast. We packed up camp and were on the trail at 8:30.
White's Ferry Store and Grill Our first stop, after 19 miles, was in Dickerson, MD, where we had breakfast at the White's Ferry Store and Grill. I had a couple sausage egg and cheese muffins along with a cold Starbucks coffee drink from the cooler. The food was good, but the service was very slow, as there was only one person to take our orders, prepare food on the grill, and work the cash register. Another group of touring cyclists came into the store just as we were heading out. We all noticed that the face of the building is marked with high water indicators, showing the depth that the river has reached at various flood stages.
White's Ferry Store and Grill I took a minute to watch the Jubal A. Early ferry, which carries about 600 people per day, cross the Potomac River to Virginia.
Great Falls We rode another 21 miles to the Great Falls Visitor Center, to refill water and take a quick rest. Everyone was pretty relaxed, as we were ahead of schedule, and only had 15 miles to go to the end of our biking journey. Rest Stop
Pterodactyl At Great Falls I got a photo of (what I believe is) a Great Blue Heron. We also got a look at a canal boat that was dry-docked for repairs. Canal Boat
This is a 180 degree panorama - The left side of the picture is looking down the trail to the south, the center is looking west, across the Potomac River, and the right is looking north, back up the trail.
Waterfront After close to 350 miles of total riding, we had finally reached the "Mile 0" post at the end of the C&O Canal, where it dumps into the Potomac River in the historic Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Mile 0
We found Helen, and another friend Pat, at the van in the park less than a half mile from the end of the trail. We quickly loaded up the trailer and were on our way. Although we were all hungry, we decided it would be best to get out of D.C. before stopping to eat, as it is not the friendliest city to drive in, especially with a vehicle pulling a trailer. Somewhere between Washington and Baltimore we pulled off the highway to stop at a Chipotle Mexican Grill for burritos, then hit up the Sweet Frog for frozen yogurt dessert. We only made one more stop on the drive back, for fuel in Quakertown, PA.

When we got back to the Cornerstone Church in Easton, there were several people waiting for us - my mom, a few of the guys' wives, and John's kids. We unloaded the van, said our good-byes, and went our separate ways. I decided to ride home, back over College Hill (but not Paxinosa), as it was a beautiful night. The Great Allegheny Passage, Cumberland and Ohio Canal Towpath adventure had been a great success, and there is already talk of doing it again next year.