And Finally We Are Done With the Storm

The snow had stopped falling on the morning of the third day. We had to clear up our driveway one more time from the overnight snowfall. This is the final result after we got done.
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After that was done, we worked on digging a path to the front door through the snow piled over the walkway.
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We enjoyed watching our neighbor’s cat playing in the snow.
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Snow removal from the patio in the back was started because of concern about the patio collapsing from the weight of the snow.
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The fourth day dawned with the cul-de-sac still not cleared of snow.  I was anticipating another day of being stuck in the home.
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But we were pleasantly surprised by the morning arrival of the snow clearing equipment.
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The guy driving the red pickup truck noticed me taking pictures from a window and did me a favor by breaching the wall in the snow in front of our driveway with a single run with his snow shovel.
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And then we were completely clear after some more work expanding the breach to the width of the driveway.  The mail box can even be reached!
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And hopefully that is that for this storm!

PS. As you can see, the front section of our roof is clear of snow because of the solar panels.  It all came sliding down with a massive thump on the evening of the second day.  Our neighbors all still have snow on their roofs.

After the Storm

It is the day after the storm.  And what a beautiful day it is!

As the sun rose over the cul-de-sac,
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It began to shine its warm light over the smooth snow, and tops of the plants tall enough to peek out over their cover of white.
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There is not a cloud in the sky.
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But yesterday was another matter..

We confronted by a wall of snow when we started cleaning out the driveway just before noon.
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This was perhaps the only time I stopped working before the job was complete.
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When we came back later in the evening to complete the job, there was probably another foot of snow on the ground when we started.
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We finally got the job done after the sun had set.
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We will still have some clean-up activity today.  It will probably be a day or two before the snow plows make it to our cul-de-sac and clear the roads so that we can get out of the community.  They will probably leave a wall of snow in front of our driveway that we will have to breach in order to break free.

This was the amount of snow that collected on the table in the patio yesterday evening.
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Lets see what adventures are in store for us today!

 

Half way through the Blizzard

I wrote yesterday about the blizzard that we were expecting. It is now the morning of the next day. We are now more than half way through the storm and have received more than a foot of snow.  The snowfall is only expected to taper down later in the day.

It was quite pretty outside last night.   It looked very peaceful in spite of the snow coming down, or perhaps because of it.

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This morning we awakened to the wind and the following sights.

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The night was quieter than I expected.  In the past, under similar conditions, we have awakened to the sounds of the house reacting to the storm, and to the sound of the wind whistling into the home through unsealed cracks in the window sides.  That has not happened this time, perhaps due to the work we had done this summer sealing up the windows.

Our neighbors have already started clearing their driveways.  Perhaps it is time for us to start.

The Storm Approaches

I was walking past the windows in front of our house early this morning when I noticed that it was quite colorful outside.  This is what I captured.

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The colors lasted only a few minutes.  Within two minutes this is what it looked like.

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And then it was gone, leaving behind grey and cloudy skies.

They have been predicting a storm of epic proportions in our area starting this evening and lasting through the day tomorrow – a blizzard that is expected to dump at least a couple of feet of snow in our area.

The warnings started a few days ago.  Even people from far away came to know about the impending storm and contacted us about it.  People have been caught up in the panic and stores are running out of things like bread, water and toilet paper(?).  Stores have run out of snow shovels.  Schools were shut for the day and offices have closed early.  The State of Maryland has declared a State of Emergency.  The metro system will be shut down over  the weekend.

We ourselves have buckled down for the weekend. Stuff that can be blown away has been removed from the deck.  There is enough food in the pantry and the fridge to get us through the weekend. A portable gas cooker has been bought so that we can have hot tea even if there is a power outage.  Major cooking will be done before the storm hits.  We have enough blankets.  We are all set!

And all of this because of the weather….there may be some people who live further to the north of us who are laughing.

Into The Morning

It was still dark when I left home at about 6:30am on Sunday morning to head out for the C&O Canal towpath trail at Brunswick, MD.  The morning star and the crescent moon were still visible above the darkened homes, while a faint glow was beginning to show up in the sky just above the  horizon.

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I was about to get back to doing something that I had not been able to do for over a year.   I was heading out to a distant location on the towpath all by myself for a very early morning run.  And I had not been to Brunswick specifically for a much longer time.  And at this point I was actually missing the experience.  The change from my older weekend routine was made so that others could come out with me for walks in the parks on Sunday mornings. It was all for a good cause and a greater good, and something that I was (and still am) happy to be able to do.

It was 29° Fahrenheit when, following my old habits, I drove out to the nearby Starbucks for a breakfast sandwich and coffee.  Surprisingly, they still served the spinach and egg white sandwich that had been my staple in the past.  I picked up my food and drink and headed back to the car.  It was a familiar routine.

In the distance, from the parking lot, one could see the faint outlines of the sunrise.  The colors were beginning to change on the horizon.  I got into my car and on the road to the highway as the diffused light from the sun began the process of gradually replacing the darkness with light.

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The sun was rising behind me as I headed north and west on Interstate 270 towards Frederick.  I had this strange feeling of familiarity, of going back to to an old place in my mind, and it felt good.   I first stopped at the scenic overlook outside of Frederick to observe the colorful sky over the still shaded valley as the sun attempted to climb above the hills behind me.

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Heading west out of Frederick, I continued to enjoy the experience of the sun rising into the heavens – as it lit up the sides of the houses with a golden light, a light that invited people to wake up and pay homage to a new day. I was lost in a pleasantly blissful state of mind when I made a mistake and took a wrong exit from the highway, and got on the road towards Point of Rocks, another location on the towpath.  Feeling quite unperturbed by this unexpected turn of events, I exited this new road at a random intersection with country road whose name I did not even attempt to read, and then proceeded west along this local byway.  After all, how lost could one get with the Potomac river to one side of me and the original highway that I had been traveling on to the other side.  The winding road took me up a hill from which I got an unexpectedly grand view of a broad valley below me partially lit up the sun.  This was the valley through which the Potomac flowed.  I could see a distant water tower, perhaps at Brunswick, my destination by car; and also a hint of my ultimate destination on the trail,  Harpers Ferry, the place where the Shenandoah river joins the Potomac to become a single flow, cutting though and creating a gap in the ridges of the Appalachian mountain range.  It was an unexpected treat, but I could not stop to take pictures on the narrow road.  Before I knew it the road descended the hill and I had found my way back to the road to Brunswick.

Crossing the railroad tracks at the train station at Brunswick the sun appeared to be struggling to rise above the treeline, but the railroad station was lit up in a weird shade of red.

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A coal train stood in the shadows, waiting for clearance to head onward towards Point of Rocks and perhaps the power generating plant at Dickerson.

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The view of the Potomac from the parking lot at the boat ramp below the bridge across the river was gorgeous.

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I made my way from the parking lot on to the towpath and headed west towards Harper’s Ferry.  The cold and brisk air, and the tall misshapen trunks of the leafless trees reaching for the skies all around me, triggered something in the brain.  I was once again in my happy place.

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Before long I heard the lonesome whistle of a freight train from further out west, probably miles away in the area of Harpers Ferry.  I was quite sure it was headed my way.  Within a few minutes the twin engines of the freight train appeared through the trees on my right as the sun lit up the trees beyond the railroad track.

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The sun began to light up the trail as it rose, while my body began to react to the exercise by building up a sweat in spite of the cold.  The numb feeling in the extremities began to vanish.

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After about 3 miles, the lock house at Weverton appeared to my right, still partially in the shadows.

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As I ran through this section of the trail, I peered through the trees on my left, the side of the trail where the river flowed, searching for the remains of the old town of Weverton  that had been washed away by floods in times past.  I did not see anything remarkable. I then passed through a section of the trail that was still completely shaded by the tall hills that rose across the river in Virginia.  The birds were still waiting for the sunrise.  I eventually broke out into an section of the trail lit up by bright sunshine.  The bridge for the highway across the Potomac appeared in front of me in the distance through the trees.

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Approaching Harper’s Ferry, I noticed that the steeple of St. Peters Catholic church was still in the shadows while other parts of the town were beginning to experience the direct rays of the sun.  The Shenandoah river still lay in the shadows of the hills on one side of the town, while the Potomac flowed on its other side in bright sunlight, reflecting the clear blue of the cloudless sky above it.

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As I turned to head back towards Brunswick, the sun had ascended high enough into the sky to be able to light up the entire area, including the trail.  While it was still cold, and I was occasionally passing people who were all bundled up for protection, I was not feeling any of it.  It was time now for me to focus on the “running” aspect of this outing. I needed to try to put my camera away into the backpack and set a more regular pace for the the trip back.

Having not run this kind of distance in quite a while, I was also beginning to feel the effects of the effort on the system.  My heart indicated that it was still fine with the pace I was setting (which for some reason was becoming faster and faster according to my GPS device), but the muscles in my legs were beginning to complain.  “Dude, we need some more oxygen, and why the heck did you leave the water behind in the car?!”  My tracksuit was soaked in sweat. But I was also getting into a rhythm as my feet beat a tattoo on the towpath. I picked up steam heading east.  I was in the zone!

I huffed and puffed my way back into Brunswick where the coal trail was still waiting to depart.

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The tiredness did not matter at this point as the mind was in a very different place from the sore muscles.  I got into my car and was soon heading back home after my Sunday morning visit to the Church of the C&O Canal.  Alleluia anybody?!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Oops!

I had to dig back in time to find a couple of themes that could perhaps be suitable for this challenge.   It is possible that they may be missing the mark regarding the objective of the challenge.

The C&O canal has had a history of problems dealing with the forces of nature even in its heyday.  The park that remains today where this canal once operated is particularly vulnerable even to this day, especially since there is little money available to the National Park Service (NPS) to maintain its 184.5 mile stretch along the Potomac river.  The aqueducts have suffered damage regularly, and the ones that are still standing are there primarily due to the efforts of volunteer organizations working with the NPS to preserve some of these historic structures.

In 2010 there was a massive snowstorm that hit the Washington DC area and the east coast of the United States called Snowmageddon!  Over the next few weeks the melting snow in the mountains caused massive flooding in the Potomac river and a disaster in the C&O canal park.   Here are a few pictures showing some of the problems caused by the weather.  I am happy to observe that the particular oops! seen below have been addressed over a period of time since that time.

 

In 2012 we visited West Africa and the country of the Republic of Guinea.  We did a lot of traveling while we were there.  It was an adventure of sorts considering the conditions of the roads and the vehicles in use.  In fact the highway that we took from Guinea to Senegal was essentially a dirt track winding through the mountains.  The vehicles on the road were in many cases several decades old, kept running by the ingenuity of the locals.  There was really no public transportation available, which led to amazing scenes of people and material stacked in and on decrepit vehicles traveling on the bad roads.  In any case, the circumstances were ideal for us to witness many oops! moments. Thankfully we were ourselves not involved in any serious incidents.