After 15 years of folklore and second hand sensationalism about the C&O Canal Towpath Trail, I wake up eager to hit it like Ike on Tina. This graded, crushed stone trail connects with the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) to connect Washington with Pittsburgh via 330 gloriously vehicle and hill free miles. Daniel and I get a little separated in the 7 miles through DC. I push straight across while he goes more toward the Capitol. When we reconnect, Daniel has choice words about not being able to get through due to the entire area being blocked off. He furiously says “Cheeto-lini claims to be tremendous but can’t even go around without 10 blocks of distance from the citizens. Even in Tiananmen Square the people could go in and get themselves run over”. Then he makes a comparison to France and the usages of guillotines. His perspective make me think a bit about our government being of the people, for the people and by the people. Supposedly.
I get on right in Georgetown at mile zero. This trail makes me happy. There’s exactly zero motorized vehicles for the next few days. There’s exactly zero hills for the next few days. There’s exactly zero turns for the next few days.
With the day off and gourmet nourishment, I suggest a century but don’t foresee Daniel wanting to push for a 100 mile day on this tour – mainly because he’s said as exactly that many times over. I’m not sure how concerned I am about getting one in on this tour, but I’m not ruling it out whatsoever.
We push 40 miles and take a break. Then we push 25 miles into Harpers Ferry thinking about shade, ice cream or beer. We decide to get all three and soak up some AC too. History lessons later, but feel free to google John Brown if you aren’t familiar.
After 84 miles we camp at a hiker/biker site along the trail. No fucking vehicles. No electric hookups. No water supply. Just the Potomac River separating Maryland and West Virginia. We’re popping up the castles sooner than average and yet there’s already about 6 or 7 other set up. A few of us cool off in the river.
Later as the sun is setting, the river comes alive with fish and bugs and tides. Then a sun shower slides through just when things couldn’t get any better. A group comes by in kayaks, their leader breaks the ice with “did someone order a pizza”. After that is just ignorant word vomit, including a warning that the folks across the river in West Virginia have been know to get drunk and shoot hikers and bikers. I’m not sure if they do it on purpose or not. He continues about the coming full moon. I decide to move him along with the much more artistic full moon display of my bare ass cheeks. After that it’s a quiet and wonderful evening camped on the Potomac.