Maryland Outdoor Club
Fri, Apr 16 2004 - C&O Canal Backpacking Weekend II (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Aaron Firoved, Colin Babb
Participants:Colin Babb, Rebecca Firoved, Carla Heck, Aaron Firoved, Laura Hustead, Leilani Ho, Michael Eppert, Douglas Smith, chanath ather, michael loverde, Silke Popp, Barbara Popp, Barry Marsh

Write Up:
The weather gods smiled on MOC this weekend, as the sunshine and warm weather held up for three straight days. For once, Zeus didn't throw down any lightning bolts when he heard the telltale sounds of campers snapping tent poles in place or shoving stakes into the ground. For me, the day started early as I headed up to the campsite in the morning and arrived at around noonish. Luckily, all my worries about random Cub Scout troops or banjo-totting locals snatching our site from us turned out to be unfounded. The first ones to arrive were Barbara and Silke, who pitched their tent and proceeded to discover some early hatching cicadas nearby. Even with all the food that was brought, we couldn't resist going over to Bill's Place, the 'town's' (town is used here loosely) one store/bar/restaurant/center-of-local-gossip, that had a roadhouse kind of feel too it. The menu for dinner was a single page encased in plastic; the board of fare was heavy on fried selections, including the ever popular fried cauliflower.

As the night got darker, we started a fire, which took quite a while. Considering the amount of rain that had fallen the few nights before, we were lucky to get anything started at all. There were several false alarms as people (presumably locals bent on whatever local entertainment was to be had from a campground that had only several portapotties and a water well as its facilities) came and went. Then the carpool group finally arrived at about 930. Thankfully, everyone made it to the site without anyone getting lost. Once all the tents were set up, everyone gathered around the campfire to keep warm and the fixin's for smores were broken out. It ended up being (or at least it seemed) extremely cold that night-not quite icicles-on-your-nose cold, but close. Luckily, Barry was up and at ‘em early with his firewood gathering skills, so there was a nice warm one once most folks got up.

Breakfast was soon served, and then the whole array of various foods was brought out for everyone to take and put in their packs at their leisure. All those who were there were informed of the real culprit for the food selection (for which I can't take credit), but her name will remain anonymous here. Before we left, it was discovered that our portapotty had received the stamp of approval from someone named Ed; we found out later on in the day, as we used the facilities of each campsite we walked by, that Ed appears to be the man when it comes to potty inspections on the C&O Canal. For some reason as well, in the portapotties, on the park benches, and elsewhere, someone had taped or affixed quotes from the bible for everyone's edification about the word of the Lord. There were no apparent converts in our group, but we were pretty sure that Ed was pulling double duty as the PortaPotty Preacher.

The route ended up being just over eight miles, quite a bit less than the 15 miles originally (and over romantically) envisioned. The hike time both days ended up being less than four hours each way, but our bodies were all glad we didn't hike any further. We all kept a good pace, and stopped for lunch and a little bit of rest at Lock 59, about five miles up the trail. The campsite we stopped at, Stickpile Hill, wasn't the nicest place on the river (it probably wasn't all that long removed from being underwater from spring flooding), but at least the water well worked, even if you could probably hear the pump screeching from three miles away and the water was a little on the metallic side. Some of us headed up a little further on the trail after setting up camp to a public boat ramp, where we cooled our feet in the ice-cold water. Nearby was a tree with two marks on it, each one probably 15 feet or more above us. One was for the highwater mark of the 1936 flood (the highest of the two), and the other was for

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