Saturday, February 18, 2006

Dam #5 and east

Western MD Railroad piers to Dam #5

Start Mile: 104.9
End Mile: 106.6
Time: 1 hour
When: evening 2/18/2006

Directions: Take route 11 to Williamsport. At the junction of 68, head west. Take 68 through Pinesburg. Make a left onto MD 56, Big Pool Road. The next intersection is Dam #5 Road. Make a left and head south. Once the road narrows you will be paralleling the canal. There is room to park along the road and an access point to the path. There is a parking area at Dam #5 on the left hand side of the road. There is a look out over the dam. If you head west on the path, there is a portapotty.

A cold front moved in yesterday and dropped the temperature into the 30s. It was preceded by strong chilling winds. I wanted to cover a lot of ground but it was too cold for me. The path was littered with snapped branches from the last couple days.

There were several fallen trees balancing on the dam. Some of them had been there for a while. The water going over the dam was louder than I remembered from previous visits. I wonder if the warm days earlier in the week caused this.

We started our walk by wondering around the stone walls overlooking the dam. Buck wanted to explore and about pulled me over as I let him sniff around. This is a good area to start a walk or take a break.

I gave Buck a call and he jumped back up to the path and we headed east. The road that runs along the canal affords access for those looking to enjoy the path but also for those looking to dump trash. This is the kind of thing that leads me to support public caning of litterbugs.

We didn't take much time to enjoy the scenery, as it was really cold. We moved fast barely noticing the birds that were out. Buck wanted to chase a couple Canadian Geese but they were not interested in playing.

We made it to the piers and turned around. We arrived back at the truck as it was getting dark. We headed home to thaw out by a Java Log.


Saturday, February 4, 2006

East of Williamsport

Cumberland Valley Railroad bridge to Lockwood Road

Start Mile: 99
End Mile: 97.3
Time: 1 hour
When: Afternoon 2/4/06

Directions: Route 11 to Williamsport. Take 68 east. Just before I-81, turn right onto Lockwood Road. Turn right at the storage units. There is not a parking area but there is room for about 4 cars before you get to the power plant.

It was raining all morning so when we caught a break around 2:30 I figured we should go get some exercise. Buck had been napping before we left and was pretty lethargic at the start of the walk.

This walk starts out in the shade of some large trees by the entrance to the power plant. After heading east for about a 1/8th mile there is a clearing for the power lines. Beyond that is the I-81 Bridge. Buck is generally freaked out by the cars passing overhead.

There were several squirrels out today. Through most of the woods you could find them on the ground. Despite the debris in the water, there were several ducks and geese floating around.

I thought we would spot another place to access the towpath at the old railroad bridge but I could not see a road from the canal. I'll have to do some digging so that we will not have too long a walk to cover the unexplored part of the path.


Friday, February 3, 2006

R Paul Smith Power Station

I-81 Bridge to the Cushwa Basin

Start Mile: 99.6
End Mile: 98.5
Time: 50 minutes
When: Evening 2/3/06

Directions:Route 11 to Williamsport. Parking is at the sharp turn just north of the river.

A long week needs a relaxing walk before it gets cold again. This popular spot is an easy place to take a quick walk. This is one of our standard walks. Williamsport is one of the most popular points on the western part of the canal. Whenever we need a quick bit of exercise.

My wife needed a break from work and I was fed up by 5 so we drove over to Maryland. There were few cars at the visitors center which was a surprise. It has been almost two weeks since I have taken Buck to the river so he was eager to get going.

We headed east toward the boat ramp. The bridge to the boat ramp is still being repaired so we detoured into the powerplant access road. This is well marked and there is little traffic but you still need to restrain children and pets at the cross walk.

It was just getting dark when we reached the I-81 bridge. We picked up the pace so we could get back to the truck before it was too dark. It is still a little early for after work walks at the river.