365 Days of Earrings

Friday, April 15, 2011

A historic trail, and turtles

I loaded a bike on my bike rack this morning and headed for the Western Maryland Rail Trail which parallels the Potomac River, the C & O Canal and its towpath, a CSX Railraod, and I-70.

As I rode this 11 mile stretch of beautifully paved path, I was repeatedly struck by the tremendous human effort that has been exerted to transport people and goods along this route. Abandonned canal locks are still striking feats of engineering.

I rode from the Big Pool Trail Head to the small town of Hancock, Maryland, once a bustling center of commerce on this major artery of early America. Now, most of the storefronts on Main Street are empty. I'd hoped to spend an hour browsing and enjoying lunch in a fun eatery. I wandered through town past the vacant shops and For Rent signs, and ate at a picnic table next to Burger King.

On my return ride, I detoured onto the C & O Canal towpath--a far bumpier ride where I never saw another human being. But I saw a great blue heron, some green herons, a pileated woodpecker, a 4 foot long black snake, a groundhog, a pair of mallards, and hundreds of turtles, all sunning themselves on fallen trees. Oh, and a pair of white tailed deer and I surprised each other--they ran and I missed one more attempt to get a photo of turtles sunning themselves on a log.

Turtles must be very photo-shy, or they must all be in witness protection. No sooner did I spot a log covered with turtles, stop my bike, and raise my camera, than the log was empty. Not one turtle. What predatory creature does the turtle fear? Who moves so fast from bank to log?

This gang disappeared within moments of this photo. I rode with the lens cap off and the camera ready, and still missed quite a few attempts. 

I left home without earrings. When I returned, I chose this pair and posed them on my bike wheel. At least this pair stayed still long enough for me to snap a picture!


jwkrumich said...

It's nice when you have a day off from school. Your post was a pleasant travelogue to enjoy vicariously.

Käthe said...

It sounds like you had a great day! I remember thinking the same thing about turtles in Louisiana. You were in Jim's old backyard. He said he used to do that trail a few times a week, sometimes :) Glad you had a great, full day off!