I hit the C&O Canal towpath on my new bike again today. This time I got on at Harpers Ferry, (just prior to mile marker 61) and rode up to Antietam Creek (mile marker 69.4) for a total ride of approx. 17 miles. Not bad for a second trip ever, eh?
Started out with a wildlife encounter of sorts as I was leaving Harpers Ferry. As I was coasting slow along the left side of the trail watching the river, I heard a distinctive sound that I've not heard since my Colorado days: the rattle of a rattlesnake. Apparently I'd gotten a bit to close for Br'er Snake's comfort and he was warning me off. Naturally, me being me, I stopped, turned around, and went back to look for the critter, but to no avail. As I was searching the area, two hikers walked up and asked what I was looking for. They seemed genuinely curious and willing to help look, however, when I told them that it was a rattlesnake just off the trail's edge, they made themselves scarce pretty quickly.
Back on the ride, I pedaled up along the Potomac River, watching it go from rock-choked whitewater to a calm, placid and wide river in the space of a couple of miles.
As I rode, I recalled the last time I'd been up this way--it was October 11, 2008, and I'd hiked it with Lagniappe up to Dargan's Bend, walking about half the distance that I rode today. I'll always remember that day as "the day of the thousand squirrels" because it seems that Lagniappe was spotting one of the tree-rats every few minutes and bolting off into the woods in pursuit. He never caught one, but I yelled my voice hoarse calling him back umpteen million times. Still, we sure had fun that day. And of course I know the exact date because I'd blogged it.
The ride took a bit under two hours, with a rest stop at Antietam Creek and another one at Dargan's Bend on the return trip. Did I mention that I really like this new bike?
After the ride, I went home, got Lagniappe, and brought him back to Harpers Ferry because Sharon, the owner of the Swiss Miss ice cream shop--Lagniappe's patron and benefactor ever since we first moved here--wanted to see him. So I got him up in the truck, took him back there, and she gave him a couple more ice cream cones and a burger. Sharon's given this dog literally dozens of ice cream cones over the years, and I can't take him anywhere near Harpers Ferry without him going ape because he identifies the place with Sharon and her cones. Here they are together.
If you ever get to Harpers Ferry, look her up and tell her that Lagniappe and I referred you. And you won't be sorry--she has the best soft-serve and custard that you'll find anywhere around these parts.
All in all, a great day.