Ballston, VA to Harper's Ferry, WV on the C&O canal

Ballston, VA to Harper's Ferry, WV on the C&O canal: 13 Jun, 2009 (81 miles)

Starting from Marymount University, Arlington VA go East on the Custis trail. Cross the Key Bridge in Rosslyn to join the C&O canal. Head north on the C&O canal to White’s Ferry, WV. This is a challenging round trip even if the trail is dry. To my dismay it started raining when I reached Violette’s Lock and continued to pour until I reached Harper’s Ferry. It was a tough 120 miles because of slush. I was wet and weighed down by mud. To add to the misery was my GPS. It failed to work. Its an ancient (10 year old) Garmin Etrex Vista. It could not home on to any satellites at all. (A day after the trip I figured that it had to be set to seek a new location and everything would have been nice and dandy. ) I had my Google phone which stopped working at Violette’s lock because I put it in my backpack, probably, in some odd position that it could not find satellites. So the backup GPS also was useless. Hence I was left with no trail to show. I have put up the 80 mile trail from Ballston to Whit’s Ferry from 13 June. White’s Ferry is on the 35 mile marker. The round trip from White’s Ferry to Harper’s Ferry is about 50 miles (to the 60 mile marker and back). The round trip is about 130 miles. I put it down as 120 simply because Harper’s Ferry is close to the 60 mile marker on the C&O Canal. On the way back I took the metro back from Rosslyn. The experience was painful. I doubt I would do it again. My system was in shock; I was running a fever when I got home. I started at 5:00 a.m. At the crack of dawn, there were so many deer close to Georgetown it looked sureal. I ran into a bunny and lots of blue herons. It was sheer determination that took me to Harper’s Ferry. The trip back was a bit tensed. Even though it was 20 June with a very long stretch of daylight I had a doubt I would reach home before dark. I barely made it at 9:00 p.m. Thanks to DC metro and my fellow commuters I was allowed to board the metro at Rosslyn; I was muddy and my bike was a mess and I stank. I think I will always remember this trip for the rest of my life. I bought my bike last year for this purpose and I finally made it. I am proud.