Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Exploring the C&O Canal with Author Mike High

C/D * 26 * MD * 10:30 AM * Point of Rocks (POR)
Towpath and Lunch at Harpers Ferry. Park at the picturesque Victorian train station on Rt 28 in the town of Point of Rocks. The bike ride itself is on the towpath to Harpers Ferry and back--an historic stretch where the Potomac cuts through the first line of the Appalachians: Catoctin Ridge and South Mountain. On the way to Harpers Ferry, there are great views of the islands and rapids of the river, as well as the old canal works and the abandoned mill town of Weverton. Hybrid or ATB tires are best, but it can be navigated on a touring bike. Bring a bike lock and money for lunch. Leader is planning to go rain or shine--it can be sunny up the river while it’s raining in Washington. If it’s raining cats and dogs at ride start, we’ll explore other options. C/D (10:30 AM) * Mike High * 703/597-7912.

bikes@vienna note: This should be a terrific experience. Mike High is the author of the C&O Canal Companion. Here is how the book is described:

" The first comprehensive guide to one of America's unique national parks, The C&0 Canal Companion takes reader on a mile-by-mile tour of the C&O Canal, the 184-mile Potomac River Waterway that stretches from Washington, D.C., to the Appalachian Mountains.

Outdoorsman and writer Mike High has spent many hours exploring the C&O Canal, asking questions, making notes, taking photographs, and conducting research to assemble this informative, user-friendly book. Beautifully illustrated with photographs and drawings, the guide blends history, nature writing, and tour-guide tips to create the only book of its kind. High offers practical advice on cycling, canoeing, birdwatching, and other pastimes along the canal and river. Exploring the canal's history, he relates the early struggles to build a trade route to the Ohio Valley and gives in-depth coverage to the Civil War years, when the canal became a dividing line between North and South. He also explains the nineteeth-century technology of the canal--how it worked and how its operations were related to water-driven mills and ironworks along the river.

For the convenience of visitors to the canal, High provides a helpful appendix that includes names and telephone numbers for such resources as hotel, bed-and-breakfasts, bicycle shops, river outfitters, nearby parks, campsites, and regional associations. The C&O Canal Companion is both a pleasure for the armchair tourist to read and an indispensable guide for anyone planning a hiking, camping, or cycling adventure along this remarkable landmark.

Mike High grew up in the Philippines, California, and Vietnam. He has cycled in many places around the world, but the trail along the C&O Canal remains his favorite ride. His interest in the canal began when he discovered he could ride the towpath all they way to Antietam Battlefield, 72 miles from Washington. "

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