The Flooding at the Monocacy Aqueduct

These pictures were taken during one of our Sunday walks towards the end of May.  The aqueduct carries the C&O canal across the Monocacy river.

This kind of flooding happens every once in a while, and most often during the spring season when we get a lot of rain.  The accumulation of the debris is somewhat unusual.  The last time it happened they had to bring in heavy equipment to remove the tree branches that were caught on the structure of the aqueduct and putting pressure on it.

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Upstream side of the aqueduct
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Downstream of the aqueduct
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Debris stuck at the aqueduct, including significant amounts of trash
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The extent of the flooding

The following picture was taken during the same walk at a different location on the trail.  This is upstream on the Potomac river.

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Noland Ferry

In Search of a Story

My blogs have had the tagline of “Anything Goes” since the beginning, which could indicate either an aimless drift in a random direction, or, if you want to be kind, some sort of attempt on my part to include all of my disconnected interests in my postings.  You decide!  But one of the things that I hope you do discover in the blogs is that some of them tell stories of some kind or the other, be it that of the tree that grows in the woods, or something as silly as talking about the experience of consuming a bowl of cereal, or perhaps something else that takes my fancy at some particular moment in time. With this kind of a mindset, my response the topic of this week’s challenge comes somewhat easily.

My story for the day touches upon the “bomb cyclone“, a term that I had not heard of until very recently.  As I understand it, a bomb cyclone weather phenomenon is characterized by a rapid and large drop in barometric pressure, which leads to extreme wind speeds that can cause a lot of damage.   It leads to the story, in pictures, of last weekend’s walk along the C&O canal. This particular outing happened to take place after a bomb cyclone had passed through the region.

It was a sunny morning on the trail as we set out on our walk.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe encountered quite a few fallen branches on the trail due to the aftereffects of the storm, and, being good citizens, we spent a significant bit of our time cleaning up the trail for those who were going to come after us.  (We were not about to break any speed records that day.)  And then there were the sections where we could do little to help, sections that would require professional equipment for cleanup.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe did encounter cyclists who must have had to carry their bikes over fallen trees.

We did make it to our destination close to the mile 31 marker where Edwards FerryOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand lock 25 are locatedOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbefore turning back to return to our starting point.

The story would not be complete without a picture of the bald eagle that we encountered,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand a picture of the chopped up pieces of a fallen tree that we saw beside the trail, a little too late for Valentine’s  day.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We did about 7 1/2 miles of walking that morning.  That is my story and I am sticking to it! 🙂

 

Autumn Finds Its Way To Our Neck Of The Woods

It has been a somewhat disappointing transition process in our surroundings so far this autumn season.  Other than the occasional exceptions, leaves have been slowly but surely falling off the trees without a hint of how colorful and pretty that process can be on a good year.   It must be the weather.  Nevertheless, we have persisted in looking for the signs of significant change as we walk the C&O canal towpath during the weekends.  Last weekend was a particularly drab one, with the threat of bad weather discouraging others in our group from walking with us.  But the two of us did go out to check out the changing of the seasons.

Regardless of how pretty the process of autumn is in our parts, one cannot escape the feeling of change in the air. The cooler, and soon to be cold, weather forces you to contemplate the winter months that lie ahead.  The changes in the landscape remind you that soon it will be time once again to batten down the hatches and power through a time of year that provides a challenge and a mood of its own.  The cycle goes on.

The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

The Old Chain of Rocks bridge is just a short distance north of St. Louis, MO. This bridge used to carry the famous Route 66 highway across the Mississippi River. Today this bridge is limited to pedestrian and bicycle traffic and is part of a trail system that is being developed in the area.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you wish to visit the bridge by car, you should park on Chouteau Island on the Illinois side of the river. The parking lot on the Missouri side is closed off these days, most likely due to safety concerns.  You can also ride a bike from St. Louis to the bridge if you wish, or park a couple of miles away from the bridge on the Missouri side and walk.

This is the entrance to the bridge from Illinois.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a pedestrian’s view of the bridge.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe bridge is unique because of a 22 degree bend in the middle.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is some memorabilia on the bridge from the old days when it used to serve road traffic.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou find this rusted sign at the Missouri end of the bridge.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere also is a small rest area on the Missouri side of the bridge.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what the entrance to the bridge from Missouri looks like.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next few pictures are from the bridge.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pictures below were taken from one of the trails on Chouteau Island.  The first picture also shows a water intake from the river, and the new Chain of Rocks bridge that carries Interstate 270 across the Mississippi.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pawpaw

I had forwarded an article that I had read online regarding the pawpaw to some of our friends last week since the fruit was somewhat familiar to us from previous walks along the C&O canal.  The article noted that pawpaw was actually being grown on certain farms in our area, and that the fruit was extremely tasty, and that it was becoming more and more popular, just as it had been in times past.

It was a pure coincidence that we began to see signs of the pawpaw fruit as we started our Sunday morning walk today from Whites Ferry.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe noticed that the pawpaw trees were all over the place, and that there were fallen fruit under many of these trees.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOut of curiosity, we picked a few fruit along the way to take back home with us.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We had reached the farthest point of our walk and were on our way back to the car when we we saw somebody walking towards us actually consuming one of the fruits that he had just picked.  So we started trying out the fruit ourselves.  It was extremely delicious and the flesh was easy to extract and eat.  It was a great treat! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis discovery led to increase our collection of  pawpaw fruit from from the trees as we kept walking.  We shook the trees so that the ripening fruit would drop to the ground.  Some of the riper fruit was consumed immediately.  This is what we ended up with to take back with us.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unfortunately, some of the fruit that we had collected to take back was too ripe and would not hold its form when carried.  By the time we got back to the car, some of them had burst, and we had no choice but to consume them immediately.  But some fruit did make it home.  So we will be having really fresh fruit for the next few days.  An experiment will also be conducted with the seeds…

Chasing the Deer

The scene unfolded during our Sunday morning walk along the C&O Canal.

We were headed back from Swains Lock to Pennyfield Lock along the towpath (the trail).  The canal, which happens to have water flowing in it in these parts, was to our right, and to our left was vegetation and a somewhat sharp drop off to the Potomac river.  The only people on the trail in front of us were a middle aged couple who walking towards us from the distance.

We heard a commotion behind us.  After initially ignoring it, I turned back to see that there were two deer running on the towpath in our direction, being followed by two bicyclists.  One of the deer was bigger than then other, probably a parent.  Even though the deer had seen us, they keep coming, veering neither left or right.  They were scared by the cyclists, and also of what lay on both sides of the trail.

We turned to face the deer.  I feared a possible collision and I moved to protect my broken ribs.  The deer finally stopped not too far from us.  The bigger one then jumped into the trees and bushes on its left, towards the river, and the young one followed.  The bicyclists went by.

As the people coming towards us got closer, the bigger deer crashed out of the bushes beside the river and ran across the trail into the canal.  It swam across to the other side of the canal and climbed up the hill beside the canal.  You could barely see it behind the trees. There was no sign of the smaller deer, but we knew that it was still on the other side of the trail, separated from the deer that was probably its parent.

As the folks approaching us went by, the little deer jumped out of the bushes beside the river in front of them.  It saw the people approaching.  It took off in the opposite direction along the trail, heading back towards where it had originally come from, and away from the other deer.  The folks who are now walking behind the sprinting deer are pantomiming and trying signal to the deer to cross the canal to be with the other one.  The deer is in a panic, neither can it understand human communications.  Go back and get your young one, we ourselves say to the bigger deer who is on the other side of the canal.  Of course, we are not speaking the deer’s language.

We did not wait to see how the drama of the lost deer finally played out.  I would not be surprised if the two deer eventually found each other.  While they might be considered creatures without intelligence by some human beings, animals have capabilities that would surprise many of us.  They are not necessarily limited by the kinds of senses that we human beings normally use.  (Check this out!)

The places that we frequent during the weekends allow us to experience things that may be considered out of the ordinary, things that we do not see during the normal course of the day in our usual surroundings.  It may simply be that the turtles are hanging out on the logs, or the great blue heron are fishing, or that the wren is singing on a tree as you pass by.  You just need to keep your senses open and a different world opens up to you. But our experience last Sunday was unique even by those standards.