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South Mountain Journal by John Canan, Photographer, Journalist

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Better Than I Imagined - C&O Canal Towpath

Better Than I Imagined - C&O Canal Towpath

Kevin Brandt Superintendent of C&O Canal

Each time I use the area near my home on the C&O Canal, three things happens.  One, I am struck with gratitude that we can live where we do and have fingertip level access to a place, preserved, that has retained and or regained some of its wildness.  Two, that I, as a young boy, had no influence on or impact on the beginnings of the canal.  My mother was a photojournalist who covered many of the events around the development of the canal preservation in Cumberland, Maryland, and a family member who was a devout educator, fundraiser, and friend of the canal initiative often invited her to meetings and functions.  These functions were full of adult speak with boring black and white photographs, and full of information that was not only not accessible for me, but also, as it turns out had little at all to do with what I would, 40 years later, experience and value of the park.  Lastly, I fill with gratitude for the courage, vision, and persistence that forging such an initiative took.  This park, a 184.5 mile crucial link in the trail town trend of growth and cultural development, is my place of refuge and rejuvenation.  

One of the first things that I enjoyed, was having access to the kind of wild places, with (re)intact ecosystems, to recharge my mental, physical, and spiritual batteries.  We moved to Brunswick, a bedroom community in Western Maryland, for access to the train for commuting and still be able to have the ability to see the horizon from our home and place where we live.

Walking at sunrise under the woven tapestry of tree branches of maple, beech, sycamore, and oak.  The cool breeze of early morning brushes across my face bring with it the aroma of the bracken canal water and soil, honey suckle, and the smell wafting up from the Potomac river from time to time.  I pause listening the to excited sounds of the Carolina wrens, fussing, the way the parents of a toddler might sound if their child was running towards a busy city street.  

All types of access.  Bikes, ramps, boating, etc.

Making Adjustments - Three Generations of Service

Making Adjustments - Three Generations of Service

Blue Goose - Bakery a Keystone for Western Washington County

Blue Goose - Bakery a Keystone for Western Washington County