C&O Canal: Billy Goat Trail, Section C, Carderock

Billy Goat Trail, Section A is one of the most popular hiking trails in the DC area.  But this post is about Billy Goat Trail, Section C which I like equally as much.  The closest parking lot for this trail is 2 miles from the beltway at the Carderock Recreational Area on the C&O Canal.  Here are some pictures from my recent hike:

Billy Goat Trail – Follow the blue markers
Learned how to climb with ropes when I was younger here.
Views of a quiet side stream of the Potomac River
Follow the markers!
Beautiful overlooks all along the trail.
The sweeping current of the Potomac River
Rushing rapids
Rapids in the Potomac River provide beautiful background sound while hiking!
Woodpecker – I had to super zoom to get this!  Disclaimer: I am not a bird watcher.
Tidewater pond
The DC Beltway!
Me :o)
Unofficial east end of Billy Goat Trail, see the Beltway down the towpath.
Lock 14 just north of the Beltway
Lucky Lock 13 is under the Beltway!  All the times I’ve driven over it and didn’t know…
Official East End of Billy Goat Trail, Section C.  I followed the trail further to an unofficial exit along a creek.

C&O Canal: Swains Lock to Great Falls

Growing up in the Washington, DC area has given me the pleasure of a lifetime of memories at the C&O Canal.  This canal is 185 miles long and it starts in Georgetown and goes all the way along the Potomac River west through Maryland.  
 
I’ve learned how to canoe, bicycle, and rock climb along the different section of the C&O Canal’s towpath.  I would love to eventually share information on all the different sections of the canal.  There is so much history to see and experience in addition to all the different sporting activities you can do along the towpath.  
 
Here are a couple winter time pictures I took walking along the section from Swains Lock to Great Falls.  There are nice opportunities to view the Potomac River along this section.  Swains Lock has free parking and is around 2 miles from Great Falls where the parking costs money.  So if you’re a walker and you want to see the falls for free, park here and hoof it!
 
 
Lots of Ducks!
 
Duck Bums!
An odd patch of bamboo… ??
 
Bald Eagle
Rocks along the canal
Birds
 
Thanks for reading!  If you have a National Parks Passport Book, then you should visit the Great Falls Visitor Center for a stamp.  
 

For more information about visiting the C&O Canal: http://www.nps.gov/choh

Catoctin Mountain Park

I recently went hiking with some friends at Catoctin Mountain Park in Thurmont, Maryland.  I had never been before, but had always thought about going as I would drive by the entrance on my way to Cunningham Falls.  It was MLK Day weekend, so entrance to National Parks was free, but it looked like the park doesn’t charge for entrance anyways.  Also, just as an FYI, they close the park road during the winter so you can only park at the Visitor Center and hike up the trails from there.

So we started at the Visitor Center and hiked up, up, up to the Thurmont Vista.  The vista is like 600 feet up the mountain with a beautiful view of Thurmont, MD.  During the summer you can drive up the mountain and park closer to the vista, which would allow you to avoid the 600 foot, one mile climb.

Here are my pictures from the hike:

Mossy Green Hillside
Enhanced Hillside
Trail to Thurmont Vista
Snack Break at the Vista
View from the Thurmont Vista
Sign
Me and the Vista
Hiking Girls
Summit! LOL
Trail options
Sun and Shadows on the Mountain
Greenery in the Winter

DC Monuments Under the Full Moon

FDR Memorial

I recently joined the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group.  I had been following their events on meetup.com for a while and finally decided to attend their 4 mile Monuments in the Moonlight social hike.  They organize their hikes into groups by pace.  I was having trouble deciding which pace I should do, moderate or social?

As I was standing there at the meeting spot in the crowd of 90 people, I still wasn’t sure which group I wanted to be in.  But the leader pointed out an area for the photography group to stand.  I walked straight to that point in the grass with my new Nikon.  I didn’t realize there was going to be a photography group on this hike and I was very excited.  I had purchased a digital Nikon before my trip to Europe last month, but I had no idea how to use most of the features.

The lady that was to lead the photography group had an extra tripod that she let me use.  I hadn’t taken good pictures with a good camera properly since high school and I was excited to get back into it.  I was very lucky she had an extra tripod, as it is very hard to take good night time pictures without one.

I ended up having a blast!  It was a chilly night with a breeze, but it was clear skies with a bright moon.  A perfect night to walk around the National Mall.  The other members of the group were very helpful and taught me how to use my camera.  Without further ado, here is my attempt to get back into photography:

National Monument, Washington, DC
Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Capitol Dome
Photography Group in the Soup Line at FDR Memorial
Korean War Memorial
Stone of Hope – MLK Memorial
Mountain of Despair – MLK Memorial
TJ Memorial
Tidal Basin & the Monument
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln
Side Patio of the Lincoln Memorial
Full Moon and the Monument, from Lincoln Memorial
Vietnam Memorial
Vietnam Memorial and the Monument under the full moon
The National Monument
Full Moon and the National Monument
Gifts & Cafe
Lincoln Memorial

C&O Canal: Riley’s Lock

Riley’s Lock is one of the many places along the C&O Canal that you can park to access the towpath.  The C&O Canal is a National Park with 134 miles of trail which starts in Washington DC and follows the Potomac River west.
Aqueduct at Riley’s Lock

Riley’s Lock has a small boat ramp so recreational boaters and fishers can access the Potomac River.  The ramp is on Seneca Creek, giving boats a gentle start before they enter the fast currents of the Potomac.  These pictures were taken when the creek and river were both very swollen from a week of non-stop rain.

Side wall of the Aqueduct
Riley’s Lock House
View of Seneca Creek from the Aqueduct
View of swollen rapids on the Potomac River from C&O Canal towpath
Swollen Potomac waterfall near Violette’s Lock
Brave kayaker
Violette’s Lock, just south of Riley’s Lock
Paddle Boarders enjoying the peaceful C&O canal
Potomac River, overflowing it’s bank all the way to the retaining wall.
Potomac River, You can see how high the water is.  Poor bushes..
Lovely C&O Canal
Reflective waters of the C&O Canal
Towpath along the C&O Canal
Seashells so far from the sea!
For more information on visiting the C&O Canal, visit: http://www.nps.gov/choh