Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Riding the Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal (Part 2 of 7)

If you’ve ever wondered how far that bike path goes, last year, Cincinnati Cyclists Marty Sanders and Aaron Kent (AK) set out to cover 700 miles of the Great Allegheny Passage and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal by bike.  Over the past few years, Marty has become a veteran of these rails to trails trips while Aaron, even though a long time cyclist, was new to the idea of a week-long self-supported adventure.  The story is presented in seven parts.

By Marty Sanders

(Part 2 of Seven) Click here to read Part 1

Day 2 Ohiopyle to Pigmans Ferry

It was an early morning, which isn’t too different than the norm. I decided to make my way to a camp restroom to clean up. As I approached the building, I wandered through a veritable landmine of bodies strewn across the forest floor. A large party of teenagers on a cycling trip made camp just off trail. When I say make camp, let me clarify: they had mats and sleeping bags but otherwise were just sleeping in the dirt. One kid was near a big nasty puddle on the trail. Had someone rode through in the dark he would have been soaked.

After a few cups of coffee courage, we bombed down the steep hill back to the trail with full gear.  The morning fog was still lingering over the water below.  The trail was so smooth, you could really move sometimes. AK and I were really digging the scenery as we ticked off the mile markers. We were also starting to use the mile markers more often to decide when to break, still stopping and stretching about every 15 miles.  After about 50 miles, we hit a small town that had a depot in it. We fueled with water and had a protein mix.  Then we were off to the Eastern Continental Divide.

We rolled up and over the divide, through The Big Savage Tunnel and over the Mason-Dixon Line. With a tailwind, the downhill into Cumberland was the fastest 20 miles of the entire trip.

We stopped at the Visitor center for a map, then over to the local pizzeria for a late lunch. The waitress kindly allowed me to charge up my phone as we ate a large pizza ahead of embarking down the C&O Canal trail.

We rolled out of town along the backyards of houses then paralleled a highway. Soon things got a bit quieter. The canal itself started to come alive. We started seeing herons, turtles, snakes, and many groundhogs. The canal itself had a very thick layer of algae on top of it. If you did see a turtle, it was generally covered in green.  We made our way along the canal for 20 or 30 miles before we decided to call it a day.

We camped at Pigman’s Ferry.  It had all the amenties: a water source, a porta-potty and a picnic table. We unloaded, and I was able to find two trees situated the perfect distance apart to use my hammock.  Not sure if it was the 95 miles we rode, the previous night’s sleep, or it being warmer, but I was out fast. 

(to be continued)

No comments: