Saturday, October 26, 2013

C & O canal at Edward's Ferry

The weather is cooling off, but there is still time to enjoy the outdoors. On Thursday I decided to walk along the C & O Canal and see how the leaves were changing.
I went to Edward's Ferry, it is about 45 minutes from Bethesda, MD, but isn't nearly as crowded as the canal around Great Falls or Swain's lock can be.  Edward's ferry is right at lock 25.  The lockhouse has been maintained and you can even rent it for the night.
There used to be a small community at the ferry, there isn't much left, but this building has been partially re-built.  I went here a number of years ago and at the time, this was two-story ruins.  It is hard to say how much of the brickwork is original and how much is rebuilt, but I think a lot of it is rebuilt.
If you walk north along the canal for about a mile you get to a place where the canal went over a stream called Broad Run.  The stone work is all still here, and the creek flows across the canal and under the tow path.
Here is how the trail looks north of Edward's Ferry., lots of greens and yellows this time of year.
Just a little south of Edward's ferry is what is left of the Goose Creek river lock (Goose Creek in Virginia enters the Potomac on the other side of the river). This is actually a combination of two locks, this picture was taken from the lower one looking up at the upper one.
Here's is the Potomac river looking north. If you look closely you may be able to see the boat launch ramp at Edward's ferry on the right.
Another view of the river lock right where it connects to the river.
Just a little further south is the Chisel Branch hiker/biker campsite.  It has a picnic table, grill, and port-a-potty.
While on my walk I saw a nice deer crossing the trail and this red fox.  He was a bit suspicious of me and kept his distance.
I also drove to the next access spot at Sycamore Landing.  There is a soybean field right next to the parking lot, and of course, miles of towpath to walk on.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Go visit Luray Caverns

 If you have never been to Luray Caverns (in Luray Virginia), you should go.  Especially if you have kids (bring them along of course).  Luray Caverns is one of the most impressive underground cave systems in the country, and certainly the best one within a days drive of Maryland. It is less than two hours away from Bethesda so you can easily make it a day trip.

 It isn't the biggest cave system, actually, it is fairly small.  It's claim to fame is the plethora of impressive stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstone.  They have guided tours that go through the cave following a paved path that is suitable for both wheel chairs and strollers.  The tour itself takes about an hour, but there are other things to do on the property such as seeing the Luray valley museum or the antique car museum.  The car exhibit is surprisingly good, the pack a large number of examples of early automobiles in the exhibit and it is well worth the time to walk through it.

One of the more unusual formations is called "fried eggs" because it resembles two sunny-side up eggs.  They say that the centers used to be yellow like egg yolks but the color wore off from people rubbing them.

This isn't a place you go back to year after year.  It doesn't change much.  However, going there every 20 years or so is well worth the effort.  If you have already been there, you should consider going to Skyline Caverns too.  I don't think it is quite as awe inspiring, however, it does have some types of rock formations that Luray doesn't have, so if you like Luray, you'll probably like skyline too.  I have some more pictures of Luray Caverns if you want to see them.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Starry Night in Bethesda

Next time you are on Norfolk Avenue in Bethesda, MD, look for this art installation by Union Hardware.  It is a rendition of Vincent van Gogh's "Starry night" except it is done with different types of kitchen/bath hardware.  Lots of various kinds of handles and metal plates.  It's really neat, I walked by it a few times before going by on the same side of the street and getting a close look at it.