Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 12, 2017, Wednesday. Harpers Ferry

 July 11, Tuesday, I wrote the previous blog post, covering the dates July 2 - July 10, published, and cross posted it early in the afternoon.  I decided to take off the remainder of the day rather than start a ride in the afternoon heat and also to attempt to put some protein on the dinner plate.  Thank goodness for small miracles.  The fish I caught wandered to the shoreline wounded where I caught it barehanded.

A hiker named "Bob" walked into camp late afternoon early evening with a fairly large pack.  We chatted for a while before the sun went down.

July 12, Wednesday (42km this day), I packed up camp at Bald Eagle Island, near mile post 49 along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and pushed my bike and trailer up the steep incline leading out of the camp.  The camp is about 8ft lower than the trail and lies between the trail and the Potomac River.  The protruding roots, exposed rocks, and the steep grade back up to the trail from camp made it necessary for me to make several trips just to assemble my bike on the trail to start this days ride.  After my ride was assembled and ready to ride on the trail, I said goodbye to "Bob", collected Daisy, and made my way towards Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Between mile post 52 and 53 I found my first downed tree blocking all forward progress completely.  Early on, during my first day on this long and meandering trail, I prepared my self well, mentally, for the eventuality of such a delay.  Up until this point I have been very fortunate for I've come across at least 3 recently cleared debris falls evident by the freshly cut wood chips of a chainsaw littering the trail.

This blockage was recent and quite large.   The other problem this blockage posed is that it contained a huge amount of poison Ivy.   After clearing minor tree limbs with a hatchet,  I levered the poison Ivy out of my path using the freshly cut branches from the tree, hopefully without being contaminated in the process.  My work revealed two remaining tree limbs with a 40" circumference or better.  I would definitely have to completely disassemble my entire rig and carry it over the obstruction piece by piece.

A fellow cyclist, out for a morning trail ride and stopping to carry his own bike across, offered to help carry my empty trailer across.

After thanking and saying goodbye to my new friend, I took advantage of the opportunity, while all of my belongings were easily accessible, to restock my daily containers.  I topped off my beans and rice containers that I use on a daily basis and replaced the unused portions in my pack box that I keep in the rear of the trailer.  This was a good time to inventory my food stores as well; I'm doing quite well!

In addition to reorganizing, I took the time to remove several lengths of bailing wire to secure trailer tire spares to the underside of my trailer.

Photo albums will have to wait for today I'm running into cellular coverage deficiencies.  I may not be able to post this one until coverage improves.

After reassembling my ride for the second time today, I continued on and came across Brunswick, Maryland.  I stopped in and shot a few photos before hopping back on to the trail.  I had decided to stray from the trail and visit Brunswick after catching a glimpse of it through a tree line and because the name Brunswick reminded me of the town just outside of St. Simons Island where my tour started back in Georgia.

At Weverton, Maryland exit along the C&O Canal, I found myself on the Appalachian Trail (Appalachian National Scenic Trail) on my way to Harpers Ferry.  I hopped on to Highway 340 and found myself quickly winded on a huge but deceivingly gradual ascent.  I had to look back at my progress along this grade to get a real grasp of how steep it is.  I crossed the Potomac River into Virginia, and then the Shenandoah River into West Virginia.

Upon my arrival, I was greeted with ridiculously steep grades through residential streets leading up to a Harpers Ferry where I was rewarded by beautiful views from "Overlook Of Old Town".

I wanted to visit the old church ruins while  in Harpers Ferry but the steep inclines would have destroyed my equipment or killed me.  Y'all can Google photos of the area.

While riding down Main Street, I may have burnt through my front disc brake pads.  I'll have to check them before hitting the hills again.  It was a constant battle applying both front and rear brakes to keep my ride from running away.

This day was hot and humid and my clothes were drenched in sweat.  The hill climbs along the way meant frequent stops in an attempt to cool down.

It was time to ride back to the C&O Canal and make camp.  It took a while to get to Huckleberry Hill Hiker-Biker Camp.  I set camp and opened up my pressure cooker for a quick dinner of foul smelling beans and rice.  I had made this batch just the day before out of the fish stock leftover from boiling the fish.  As much as I dislike fish stock, it does provide much needed nutrition.  Yuk!!!  Thank goodness it is gone!

Photo is of an old hotel at the lookout point mentioned earlier.  The other photo is looking back at where I had been just two hours earlier. 

I'll be offline for a while, connection is poor out here!  Thank Blogger for reformatting my text. 

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