Sunday, April 29, 2007
A Day On the Highlands Trail
Created from what once was the Western Maryland Railway, the Allegheny Highlands Trail beckons cyclists from far and wide and from all walks of life. The scenery is fantastic, the climb from Cumberland to Deal will give your legs and heart a workout, and the streams, small towns, and wildlife just add to the idyllic setting.
Along the way there are 3 tunnels a number of small bridges, and several massive ones to cross, so make sure you take your camera. Imagine what it must have been like 50 years ago to ride the Western Maryland. With that last thought in mind I open this post with a photo of #6573...the last Western Maryland Railway locomotive in regular main line service to fly the colors.
Here we are, at Meyersdale, ready to head out...The Filthy Beast and Goody Two Shoes. Bonus points if you can guess what movie those nicknames came from. I'll give you a hint, it was a Cary Grant movie. Ahead of us are 31.5 miles...of fog, mist and rain, but no sunshine. I wanted to talk to the manager about all this...I mean I had called ahead and specifically requested a sunny day. The manager said he was temporarily out of sunshine and we could either come back later when the sun was out, or quit our whining and make the best of the situation since we were already here. We took option #2.
'Bridge to Nowhere.' At Glade City...the only detour on the Highlands Trail. This 'Bollman' truss bridge is to be installed sometime this year...
...until then you have to walk around. The detour is less than a quarter mile. Here comes Goody Two Shoes walking her bike through the detour. 30 miles to go!
Here's one of those massive bridges I talked about earlier. This is the Keystone Viaduct, located between Meyersdale and Sand Patch. The viaduct carried the Western Maryland over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, a creek and a county road. Here comes old Goody Two Shoes just coasting along. 29 miles to go!
CSX freight at Sandpatch...on the old B&O. Here the B&O and the WM were so close they shared a water tank in the early days of steam. 28 miles to go!
A mile east of Sand Patch you come to this farm. When I biked this area last fall I photographed a doe in this field. This time around I shot this horse. We'll call him George, since we were never formally introduced. As you can see, the business end was pointed at me. I had to whistle to get him to look around. I don't think he was too happy at having his breakfast interrupted. 27 miles to go!
Approaching Deal...the crest of the grade. I found this old barn very interesting. 24.5 miles to go!
Goody Two Shoes in the underpass at Deal. It's all downhill from here. 24 miles to go!
Split photo of the two of us at the Eastern Continental Divide sign at Deal. Still 24 miles to go.
The Filthy Beast exiting Big Savage tunnel. Nearly 3,300 feet long...at least the tunnel is lit. But boy is it ever cold in there...any time of year.
And here comes Goody Two Shoes. Only 20 miles to go!
Here we are, crossing back into the Old Line State. 19 1/2 miles to go!
At Frostburg. Just in case you get confused about which way to go.
Us at Frostburg...okay, it's a split shot. We're 16 miles from home and we're cold, wet and our butts are losing feeling. I stopped taking photos after this point and we just concentrated on finishing our trek. We made it, but here's the interesting part. We rode 31.5 miles in 6.5 hours. It took 3 hours to go the first 7 miles, and 3.5 hours to go the last 24. Newton was right, gravity works.