Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Great Falls, Great Day

May 15th was a perfect day for an outdoor adventure. Clear, sunny, not too hot. We decided to go to Great Falls. Barb had been there once before, last fall with her friend Paula, and posted some photos. However, she didn't see much of the park, and Dan had never been there, so it made a perfect choice for the day trip.

Great Falls is part of the Potomac River, and now is one of the national parks. They have several miles of trails, and picnic areas, which make it a very popular spot in the area.

Dan is ready and raring to go!

The falls are not a dramatic drop, like Niagara, but a cascading drop over a rocky river bed.

It was a desire of George Washington to open river navigation for commerce all the way to the Ohio River Valley. The falls were an obstacle to be overcome. In 1785 he formed the Patowmack Company to build a set of locks and canals around Great Falls, and became the company's first president. Soon after work began, Washington was drawn into the presidency of the US and left the Patowmack Company to others. It took 17 years to build. Opening in 1802, Washington never saw it in operation, having died in 1799. The canal was used until about 1830.

Remnants of the canal remain today. Above is part of the canal wall, hand-laid stone that ran for miles.

These are part of the lock gates used to hold the boats as water was raised or lowered.

This is all that remains of the lock-superintendent's house.

Does it look like we were enjoying ourselves? Well we were!

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