C and O – Day 5 – Harper’s Ferry to Leesburg

This was the day that we hoped would not come. We woke up to rain and we would have rain of varying intensity throughout our ride to Leesburg. We had prepared for rain, so had rain gear on the bikes. After breakfast we started our 30 mile journey to Leesburg.

First up, we had to cross back to the Maryland side of the Potomac to reach the trail. Bill rode his bike across the bridge, even though you are supposed to walk them. The surface is some kind of polymer composite and more slick than I liked, so I walked it.

Just before stepping onto the bridge, I noticed this sign. The Appalachia National Hiking Trail, a 2192 mile trail from Maine to Georgia also crosses the Potomac here, and, in fact, shares the trail with the C&O into Washington. Even on this rainy day, we saw hikers with their huge backpacks.

Once we were on the C&O we experienced many what previous riders and internet comments had warned about. Although the rain was not heavy, it was steady and quickly the path began to have flooded potholes, ruts and slick places. But, we persevered and took it slow and steady and eventually got through it. Here are some trail pictures from our wet ride.

We did pass a lockhouse, that is available for rent. Not all of them are in good enough condition to rent, but some, particularly those closer to DC can be rented. Although, you have to bring your own linens, towels, etc.

Our destination on the C&O for today was White’s Ferry. Unlike Harpers Ferry, where there is no longer a ferry operating, White’s Ferry is the last of the many ferries that used to operate on the Potomac and still operates 365 days a year.

I will admit, I had a little mishap boarding. I was walking my bike on and when I reached the slick metal bridge between the pier and the ferry, I went down. I didn’t hurt the bike or myself, but it was embarrassing. After leaving the ferry we had only 4 miles to our hotel, the Colonial Inn, in Old Town Leesburg. We were escorted to our room and this waiting for us.

We had a nice Chinese dinner and called it a night. On our last day’s ride, we will not return to the C&O until Georgetown, near the end, and instead, will use the paved Washington & Old Dominion and Curtis trails back to Georgetown.

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