Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Walk in the Parks

Today I am bringing you much closer to home by showing you Great Falls Parks. Last Wednesday was before Hurricane Florence was expected to bring lots of rain to our area. I thought it might be interesting to do a before and after post about the water flowing along the Potomac River at Great Falls.
 Above you can see the water today. For someone who has never seen Great Falls you may be wondering, gee, why do they call it the Falls? This is from the number 3 overlook.
 When we went to do the "before" shoot last Wednesday (this is also at the number 3 overlook) the river was at the highest level that I can recall seeing it! We did get some rain from the hurricane but not nearly as much as they had predicted. I was mightily relieved that we did not get the amounts they were foecasting let me tell you!
 Today, for a change of view we went over to the other side of the river which is in Maryland. On that side it is the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park. To see the Falls from this park you need to walk a little ways along the tow path and then across a couple of pedestrian bridges onto Olmstead Island. This view (above) is from the viewing platform on the island looking across the Potomac to the Number 1 Overlook on the Great Falls VA side.
 Last Wednesday from the number 1 overlook I was intrigued by watching that yellow barrel being tossed and turned by the angry water. Oddly, it stayed trapped there for quite some time.
 Today, this was the view from the number 1 overlook across to MD. If you are clever you can click on this photo and make it larger and then you can see the people standing on the MD side viewing platform.
 Here's another shot from last Wednesday taken from the number 1 overlook. Really, I think there was more water there last Wednesday than there was today. It has been a long and rainy summer. Notice the sky color last week. Today we finally had a blue sky sunny humid day.
 Okay, not to bore you with too many water shots let's change it up a bit. This was our first visit to the park on the MD side. This very long park features the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal which runs from Cumberland MD all the way down to Georgetown in Washington DC. In the portion of the park we were in they are currently extensively renovating a portion of the canal which is why this canal boat is moored in a dry canal. I read that when the renovation is finished a visitor to the park will be able to take a ride on a mule drawn canal boat.
 This is the Great Falls Tavern, an historic building which now houses the visitor center for the park. Anticipating high water levels from the hurricane the building was sandbagged a couple of weeks ago which you may notice.
 The Potomac River has many small islands which force the water into smaller gaps. This was the view today crossing one of those pedestrian bridges I mentioned earlier when traversing Olmstead Island. That water was running fast and furious and looked as though it was a washing machine that someone had emptied way too much detergent into.
 A little up river from the Falls area is this aqueduct. Look at that amazing difference between calm water and angry water!
 On one of the signboards showing what the different vegetation in the parks is I discovered that this is Wild Oat grass. I am showing it to you because for forty minutes this morning before we left I was weeding my own garden. And this looks remarkably similar to what I was yanking out! But when left to grow and go to seed in it's natural habitat it does look quite appealing.
 Last week as I passed along the track to the number 1 overlook at Great Falls I noticed another photographer setting up his tripod and camera to capture images of this amazing growth on an old tree. So today I took a few minutes to also notice it and photograph it.
Finally, putting it all in perspective, here is the flood marker on the Great Falls side of the park. That's the river in the background...safely in the background. The marker shows the years when the Potomac overflowed it's banks. So even though all those photos today make you wonder where the Falls are (they are buried under all that muddy water) it is really not so bad at all.

We'll be back to Maine on here in my next post.

1 comment:

  1. You may not have had the dramatic "before" and "after" shots you planned (a good thing!) but you still captured some violent waters. Norris walked about fishing people out of the Potomac in his old days working fire and ambulance in Maryland - sure doesn't look like a friendly place for human life in that 4th photo in particular.


While I write this blog for my own fun, I would also love to know what you think about what I post.