Friday, January 3, 2020

The tree stump is grinning at me

I went for a hike at Great Falls earlier this year and found this tree stump smiling at me.  Or maybe it isn't really smiling, it could be blood driping down its face.  The mouth is actually a shadow cast on the stump from the short tree at the right of the picture.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Fixing the locks on the C&O Canal

The lock gates on the C and O Canal at Great Falls Tavern have been in pretty bad shape for a while.  That is changing however.  I went there today and locks 16 and 17 have been rebuilt and Lock 18 is in progress.  The towpath is closed between locks 17 and 18, but there is a temporary path on the far side of the canal, so no need to stay away.

There still isn't water in the canal because they are currently working on Lock 19.  Lots of sediment has built up in this section of the canal and it looks like they will dig that out as well.

We've had nice weather for the past week or two and I'm glad I've gotten out to enjoy it.  Hopefully you have been able to spend time outside too.

Friday, December 27, 2019

I'm Walking Down Woodmont

 I went for a walk this morning on Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda to catch up on all the construction.  I'm amazed both at how much construction their is and how long there has been this much construction.  Will they ever run out of places to build?

 Silver Diner and the new Marriot HQ

 Across Woodmont from the metro station.  They are just getting started here.

 The fog was lifting, but the clouds were still  below the top of this building.

Not everything is construction, The holiday spirit is alive and well at the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda Ave.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Fall is here, enjoy it

 I went for a walk on Cabin John trail today, There may be rain in the forecast for tomorrow, but today was a perfect day to get outside and get some exercise.  The leaves on the tree are a wonderful mix of greens, yellows, and reds.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

New crosswalk at Sumner Place

The new midblock crosswalk at Sentinel Drive and the shops at Sumner Place has been completed, although construction barrels remain.  The road has also been painted to narrow the lane on the Sumner Place site

  There is a mid-road pedestrian refuge as well as a wide striped crosswalk and new curb cuts.

 One possible issue is access to the driveway into the residental development.  Currently with the construction barrel, cars have to start the turn well in advance of the driveway.  However, even when the barrel is cleared, cars will have no choice but to turn across an area of the road that has been painted to disallow car access.  In the picture above you can see how far in advance the car has to cross to get to the driveway.

Even at night, visibility around the crosswalk is good due to it being directly under a street light.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Construction on the canal at Great Falls Tavern

There is ongoing construction work fixing up the canal between locks 5 and 22.  I was at Great Falls this weekend and saw what work is being done there. The entire project started last winter and will continue through next spring, however I don't know when the work around the tavern will be done.  Even with the construction, the area is still open and usable, so don't let this keep you from going.

There is a structure here where water can be diverted from the canal back into the Potomac river, they have totally torn it out and are rebuilding it.

Looking south at the lock by Great Falls Tavern.  The black plastic pipe carries the water in the canal past the construction.

Looking north, you can see the gravel dam at the top of the picture which the construction vehicles use to cross onto the tow path.  Peyond that you can barly see the white of the dam that actually blocks the water and that visitors can use to cross back onto the tow path.

South of the construction zone, this is where you have to leave the tow path and cross over the bridge to continue north along the canal.

Unrelated to the construction, but important if you plan to visit in the next few days, the Billy Goat trail is closed because of high water.  Olmstead Island is open and is a great place to see the river during high water.

Friday, March 2, 2018

A bit of wind damage in Bethesda

The winds today are very strong, gusting above 60 mph.  This amount of wind inevitably causes some trees to fall over.

No one is playing tennis at the Bethesda Chevy Chase YMCA today, part of a tree fell across one of the courts.

I also saw (but didn't get a picture) that a tree had fallen across Fernwood Rd this morning.  It is all cut up and moved to the side so it doesn't slow traffic down.

More disturbingly, the corner of this house was taken off by a large tree that fell down.  I hope everything works out for them because it is some significant damage.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hike on the Seneca Creek Greenway trail

The Seneca Creek Greenway Trail is 7.8-mile natural surface trail.  The trail is part of a planned 25 mile greenway connection between the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers.  I went for a hike on one of the more popular sections, between MD-355 and Watkins Mill Road.

If you are going North on MD-355, at the northern edge of Gaithersburg, the road crosses a bridge over Seneca Creek.  Just after that is a gravel parking lot and a trail head.

The trail between 355 and Watkins Mill Rd is about 3 miles, so about 6 miles round trip (according to the sign at the start of the trail, it is 2.9 miles).  The trail doesn't follow the creek exactly, it is up on the side of a hill at the edge of the stream valley.

Many years ago I would go on this trail very frequently, and it used to be right on the edge of Seneca Creek for the first mile or two.  They have relocated the trail further away from the creek.

I just took these pictures on November 10th, and you can see it is late fall and most of the leaves have fallen.  There is still the occasional tree with green or yellow leaves and they really stand out against the other bare trees.

This isn't Seneca Creek, it is a very small stream that flows into Seneca creek.  You can see the bridge where the trail crosses it.  The trail is well maintained, and all stream crossings have bridges (or in one case, a huge rock).  It can get muddy and the fallen leaves can be slippery when wet, so you do have to pay attention.

This area hasn't always been a park, and there is one spot where several cars were left to rust decades ago.  There isn't a whole lot left of them now, but it is neat to see them out in the middle of the forest.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Repaving Woodmont Avenue

Today they were milling the pavement on Woodmont Avenue between Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street.  Southbound Woodmont Ave lanes were closed and traffic was redirected down one of the northbound lanes

 They were also milling the intersection onto Bethesda Avenue.  This caused significant traffic pattern changes, closing Bethesda Avenue at times.  This forced people wanting to go down Bethesda Ave to instead turn right on Woodmont and go around the block.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Georgetown Branch trail closes tomorrow

The Georgetown Branch trail will be closing on Tuesday.  Today is your last day to get a run, walk, or bike ride on the trail.  After that it will be closed for the next four to five years while they construct the purple line and the new (paved) trail.

The trail will be re-routed on surface streets between Silver Spring and Bethesda, but you will be sharing the route with cars.

Between now and then, the Apex building (which the trail runs under) will be torn down and a new building put up.  The trail will still go under the new building