Sunday, June 22, 2014

Friday Morning Adventure

I hate to give MD any credit over VA but I do prefer the MD side of Great Falls both for the actual vista of Great Falls and for the gorgeous boardwalked hike across Olmstead Island.  I also think sunrise is more photogenic on the MD side.
Sometimes coffee outside is too small a term to describe a morning outing... Friday was such a ride!  My friend Joe and I met in Georgetown at the C&O/Capitol Crescent Trailhead at 0500 Friday morning.  So we were each already in for 10 and 3 miles respectively making for my earliest non air travel related wake up in quite some time!

A cue sheet was not required, from Georgetown we road about 13 miles right along the C&O till we reached Great Falls.  Being up so early we saw a ton of wildlife including just outside of Georgetown a very handsome 3 point buck, antlers still fuzzy.  He was standing on the trail facing our direction and looked completely nonplused about our presence, he never moved a muscle but looked like he was ready to lunge as we sped past him.  Another wildlife highlight was the numerous Great Blue Heron's both in the canal basin and at the falls themselves.  These birds are ubiquitous in our midatlantic wetlands but I never tire of watching them.

We made it to the Falls in just about an hour and decided to follow the rules and not take our bikes (or light my stove) on the Olmstead Island overlook.  So we set up the coffee kitchen just off the trail short of the Island trail and brewed up a fine cup of Swing's Coffee, pour over this time as the gear was smaller and lighter than my french press.  I wasn't feeling particularly hungry but we had a delicious challah loaf with some honey if we had.

The view from the Olmstead Overlook is amazing, hopefully the pictures give you a good sense of the scale.  It is easy to forget that we have access to such an incredible vista this close to downtown DC.

The ride back on to work was fairly spirited and I made it to my desk by 0800 which was the goal... alot accomplished before 0800 on a workday and an inspiring mile post for future pre-work adventures!

Joe found us a flat-ish rock and we're waiting for the pot to boil at this point.

My coffee outside kit is starting to firm up... from right to left; the esbit alcohol stove with esbit windshield, my trusty old aluminum tea pot that is blackened from many fires, the collapsible coffee cone filter holder, two cups, my REDSKINS tuperware for fresh grounds and a water bottle...  that is about it.  We also had a half a loaf of challah bread and some honey with us for snacks!

Checking out the VA side Great falls overlooks.  Dead center you can see a Great Blue Heron in flight right above the water. We probably saw 30 of these awesome birds this morning.

Joe and I at the MD side overlook.

Dramatic waterflow's around Olmstead Island

Down river towards DC

The Saluki and 'Frankie', Joe's self built (@UBI) steel, fillet brazed bike based on his Lemond road bike.

Frankie is worth a post all of her own but this close up will have to do for now.  Joe built her last fall at UBI in Portland and we built up the componenants in my garage this spring.  She is based on a mid-90's Lemond roadie that he is riding (Jealousy) but is more upright.  Right now she has a 10 speed 105 group and is his daily commuter.  He got her clear powdercoated locally so she wears the sweet brass fillet's proudly!
I'd never been this far on the C&O, this section near Great Falls has very dramatic rock faces on the far side of the canal area and is gorgeous.

Speeding home, I love the slight downhill trip leaving Great Falls.

Handlebar-eye view

A good morning on the bike...


  1. Fantastic! Beautiful surroundings, early morning, buddy participant, and coffee favorite bicycle outing. I enjoyed the photos and the story well told.

  2. Thank you Pondero! Coming from you that means alot, your blog is on my reader and I love seeing updates from your Texas rambling!!