Ramble On

Monday, March 2, 2015

On Frozen C&O Canal

My commute these days, and for the past couple of years, actually, takes me over Chain Bridge to Bethesda.  Generally there are two or three stops due to traffic lights while I am on the bridge, so I often have a moment to look out the window and enjoy the view of the scenic Potomac gorge just below Little Falls, or as I did last week, the historic C&O Canal (this link takes you to a Wikipedia article; the link to the National Park Service C&O article is very worthwhile and here).    

Since I was at the light, I reached for the phone to take a quick snap.  The canal has been frozen over for most of February in this area, and there are places where the snow has been scraped clear.  My guess is somebody ice skates on it down there, although I have never seen anyone actually doing it - and it may be illegal.

The scene is very different from last summer, when I had the opportunity to walk down there and have a close look at the construction of the canal and the impacts from all the development along it since it was built (see this post).  In any case the canal is a milestone on my commute - at this point I'm less than 10 minutes away from work, and I'm starting to think about what's ahead for the work day...generally good stuff, reliably rewarding.

Later this month I have some meetings in Frederick, MD.  If I'm able, I may take a few extra minutes while I am there to stop and take a few photos of the canal in that area.  The scenery is less bucolic there - but you can really get a sense of the economic and industrial impacts that the designers envisioned as you pass by it.  The story of how the technology of railroads eclipsed the technology of canals is also a very interesting part of the C&O history - even when I'm down there checking out stormwater issues, I can't help but stop and think about it.

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