Everything is wet and muddy. It rained again early this morning, pretty hard. It has rained every day since I’ve been on the C&O Canal, not necessarily while I was riding, but at some point during the day. I used this morning’s rain as an excuse to sleep in. By the time I got up, everything was wet and muddy. I also went into Sharpsburrg to look for a grocery store. All I found was another convenience store. I really need to find a real grocery store. Between sleeping in and riding into Sharpsburg, I got a really late start.

A farmhouse on the way into Sharpsburg.

The campsite I stayed in last night is called Killiansburg Cave. I didn’t see a cave last night, but a short distance down the river there were two large caves in the side of the cliff. I assume one or both is Killiansburg Cave.


Many of the locks in the area look like this, with the doors removed.
In many areas today, a tall cliff ran along the other side of the canal. This one is so high, I couldn't see the top through the trees.

From all the rain, the trail was muddy as well. The mud puddles were huge, about ten feet long and about every 20 to 50 feet. The mud wasn’t deep enough to try to grab my wheels and throw me into the canal, however, so I finally just gave up on trying to stay try and rode through the mud. There was one section that was better, along the Big Slackwater. The Big Slackwater is caused by one of the dams built to divert water into the canal if necessary. Along this stretch of the river, the cliffs come right down to the water, so the canal boats used the river and the tow path was carved into the cliffs. Today, much of the tow path along that stretch is concrete. No mud!

The dam responsible for Big Slackwater.
A photo of a ferry boat using Big Slackwater.
Somebody had a bad day.
Big Slackwater.
Tow path carved into the side of the cliff.
More wildflowers.

I made it a short day. There is a Target in the next town where I should be able to resupply, but it is four miles off the path. I thought if I did that tonight, I wouldn’t be setting up camp until about 8:00 or later. I will try to get an early start tomorrow and hit Target when it opens. I have been surprised at how little progress I am making on the canal. As flat as it is, I thought I would make up some time from New England. I don’t know if it is the rain, the mud or that it is a dirt path, but I’m really not going any further than I did down the Hudson, and not even that far today. Maybe I will just have to resign myself to the fact that I won’t build up to 60-70 miles a day like I thought. That’s not necessarily bad, just something to get used to.

One thought on “Wet and Muddy (June 23)

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