our raid on harpers ferry

b2010_0509COtrailHarpersFerry0176 Today we continued our weekend getaway in Western Maryland. We woke this morning to a sunny, cool and windy Sunday morning. After studying the C&O Canal Trail options, we selected a ride relatively close to Hagerstown. We decided to ride the trail starting just east of the Antietam Battlefield to Harpers Ferry.

b2010_0509COtrailHarpersFerry0269 The car ride to Antietam was quite beautiful. This area of the country is so scenic. Rolling rural roads passed many historic farms with the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop. We crossed the battlefield but opted not to stop figuring our time on the trail would be short.

b2010_0509COtrailHarpersFerry0173 We had found a reference in a cycling web site that had mentioned a remote trailhead that was about 7 miles west of Harpers Ferry. We luckily found the trailhead without getting lost! We had opted for a shorter ride since the previous ride was just a little too long for our friend Aaron who is not a cyclist. Actually, yesterday’s ride was his first. I’ll hand it to him, he was ready to ride this morning again after 14 miles yesterday.

b2010_0509COtrailHarpersFerry0212 The trail is very wooded in this area as it was 30 miles further west yesterday. It very closely hugged the Potomac shoreline on the south with the canal on the north side. It was a very quiet ride for the first 4 miles with hardly another cyclist on the trail. We passed a canal keeper’s house, one of many we have seen on both of these rides. We briefly stopped for some pictures at the remnants of dam #3 just a few miles from Harpers Ferry.

b2010_0509COtrailHarpersFerry0240 Harpers Ferry was a quite an enjoyable excursion off the trail. The trail has many bike racks on the Maryland side to leave your bike. You then walk across the Potomac on a railroad bridge with a pedestrian walkway. It was a pretty cool and unique walk.

b2010_0509COtrailHarpersFerry0214 The town of Harpers Ferry hugs the mountain side. It is very historic with many old building. The town is full of boutiques, unique gift shops and many restaurants. You can tell this is a popular weekend day trip from D.C. and the surrounding area. We thoroughly enjoyed the few hours we spent exploring the town.

It was a relatively quick and uneventful ride back to the trailhead. The wind is still blowing hard here after two days. It really makes cycling a challenge and the wind chill can definitely be felt in the shade. Aaron made it with no issues. I am very proud of him to cycle 28 miles this weekend, his first time out.

b2010_0509COtrailHarpersFerry0224 We are planning to cycle the Great Alleghany Passage from Cumberland to Frostburg in the morning before we head home. It depends on the weather. We are just tired of this wind and are hoping the temps return to the 70s.

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