Thursday, May 26, 2011

C&O Canal National Historical Park

Long time no post. My apologies. It was a busy past week and a half. My darling hubby graduated with his PhD this past week and both of our families were in town for the happy celebration, which kept us very busy. Memorial Day weekend is this weekend and as much as I want to go camping, I won't simply because everybody and their mother go camping. Instead, we will probably do some local hikes, which I plan on highlighting in my next few posts.

Today I'm posting on a great local park, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. This park actually runs for approximately 200 miles along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal from Cumberland, Maryland to Georgetown in Washington D.C., with 6 visitor centers along its length. The visitor center that we always go to is the Great Falls Tavern visitor center in Potomac, Maryland. This place is always busy on the weekends with people strolling along the canal, bikers, and hikers. Our favorite hike to do here is actually a very challenging one, Billy Goat Trail Section A. You are literally scrambling over rocks the 1.7 miles of the trail. It is a wonderful workout with an amazing view of the Potomac River. I'm including some pictures from the very first time I hiked this trail.

Hubby and I each in front of the C&O canal before our hike.

You have to walk along the canal for a little way to get to the trail head. We always see herons in the canal.

A couple of shots of the Potomac from the trail beside the canal.

Once we started the Billy Goat Trail, we were greeted by this little amphibian.

A view of the Potomac from the trail.

Hubby going off the trail for a closer view.

Smile Hubby!!

Me. If you look to the right of the picture, you will see a blue blaze painted on the boulder. Yep, you are hiking on boulders. It's pretty awesome.

An awesome little marshy habitat along the trail

 More views of the Potomac.

Some flowers.

More pics of the river.

Your eyes don't deceive you, you have to scale up this wall of rock at a point in the trail. Or down it if you happen to start the trail from the other end. I would recommend scaling up instead of down.

Hubby and I taking a quick break.

The river was high on this particular day, requiring one to wade thru water at one point. Normally, this is a sandy outcropping from the river instead of a scene from a jungle adventure movie.

The calm of the canal again after our hike.

One of the dams associated with the locks on the canal.

A blue tailed skink!

The Great Falls of the Potomac River are located in this area. You can get to the overlook via the Olmstead Island bridges. This isn't it, just some smaller ones on the way to the bigger ones.

Still not there yet . . .

Here they are. The water was high, so they aren't as dramatic as they usually are. It is still quite a site to see!!

So, if you are in the D.C. area and like a challenging hike, this is the place to do it. Entrance fees for the park are $5.00, or if you own the Annual Pass, you just flash that and you are in. Now, if you aren't physically able to hike something like this, there is a more moderate trail known as the Gold Mine Loop, which meanders thru lush greenery. There is also the easy and flat, though sometimes muddy, River Trail. One day I hope to get some images of those trails.  My dream is to hike the entire length of the canal. There are several campgrounds along the way if one wanted to do a thing like this. People are also known to bike the entire length of it. Either way, it's a park that we really enjoy and go to over and over again throughout the year.

Here is the website for this park

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The ride home-A Christmas Story

So, this is a long overdue post. Sorry for the hiatus, I was preparing for my candidacy advancement exams, which I'm happy to say I passed!!

So, after our wonderful trip, we had to come back to reality and head home. The first night we made it to a KOA in Nebraska. Now, I sure there are people who love Nebraska, but it was not my favorite state. Mostly because the region we drove thru was flat and mostly boring. Also, because of the seemingly constant threat of tornados. When we camped that night, the weather was bad and I was scared. As a result, we sat in the laundry room in the KOA until the storm passed. Thanks but no thanks Nebraska.

The next day we drove and made it to Indiana, right before we hit Ohio. After a bad night the previous night, we treated ourselves and got a hotel. We drove across the Michigan border, got ourselves some Chinese food and returned to the hotel to sleep in an actual bed.

Ok, so now, here's the fun part, for my husband anyway. My hubby is a big fan of the movie "A Christmas Story". He watches it every Christmas. Well, the actual house where the movie was filmed is in Cleveland, Ohio. I had promised him before the trip that if we went on this trip, we would stop and see the house. Well, we did, along with the museum and gift shop. I was thinking "How busy could this place possibly be? How many people actually like this movie to the extent they need to visit the house?"
The answer, apparently a lot.

The outside of the house.

Hubby posing with the Christmas tree inside.

Hubby and the well known leg lamp.

Hubby and I with the leg lamp.

I told hubby before this shot that he better pose because we were because he wanted to be and he was going to take lots of pictures.

After we were all done visiting, we drove the rest of the way home.

Well, it was great remembering the fun we had on that trip. Now that I'm not stressing over super important tests, I can hopefully write more. Also, this summer should be good since hubby and I plan to do a lot of camping, with a big trip planned to Acadia National Park.