Monday, May 14, 2012

An Easy Walk on the C&O Towpath

Michael had a minor procedure on his knee a few weeks ago, so he has been out of commission for a little bit.  It is rapidly getting better, but he has to take it easy for a little while longer.  After resting for a couple of weeks, he had a little bit of cabin fever.  The nice weather hasn't helped with that.  On Sunday, he wanted to get outside, but didn't want to attempt to hike any hills yet. I finally came up with the idea of walking on the C&O Towpath at Riley's Lock in western Montgomery County, Maryland.  The Towpath is nearly perfectly flat and has the added bonus of being a short drive from where we live.  Although we had biked from the parking lot at Riley's Lock, we had never set foot on the path itself. 

We hadn't walked 200 yards, when we came across this:

A Great Blue Heron cruising around a pond near Riley's Lock (click to enlarge).  While we were watching it stalk it's next meal, another large bird landed in the pond:
A Great Egret (slightly overexposed).  That set the tone for the walk.  We saw at least three kinds of ducks and heard far more birds than we could hope to begin to identify. 

Near the Lock, there were a few people on the path, but as we got further away, we were only passed by the occasional cyclist or runner.  We did see this little guy out on the trail, too:
The sides of the Towpath were lined with flowers, many of them exotic, but I did see a several interesting native species:
 Phacelia purshii (Miami Mist).  This flower is new to me, so that was a nice surprise.
Polygonatum biflorum (Solomon's Seal).  P. biflorum grows in large colonies along the section of the Towpath we walked this weekend.  Some of them were nearly four feet tall. 

On our way back, we saw lots of turtles out sunning themselves on logs:

After a little over two miles, I asked Michael if he would like to go back and he said no.  We ended up turning around after a bit more than three miles, make for 6 1/2 miles for the day.  It wasn't a challenging hike by our standards, but it was a beautiful day and we were glad to get out.  Most importantly, it was a good first step back towards hiking for Michael.

1 comment:

  1. I have always been amazed at how far removed quiet peaceful country like it can seem along the C&O Canal/Potomac when just a half mile away on all sides there is the hustle and bustle of the Washington suburbs.

    What a great resource!!

    Hoping for rapid full recovery for Michaels knee!