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Photographer's Note

This photo was taken shortly after sunrise at the C&O (Chesapeake and Ohio) Canal National Historical Park in Maryland. What you are looking at in the foreground is one of the closed canal locks, which are still operated during tours. I thought this was an interesting image because of the movement of water in the foreground and the lock itself, but also because of softly-lit, tranquil canal scene in the background.

I have also visited the canal in Georgetown. During that visit I took a canal boat ride, and the tour guides dressed in period garb used mules to open and close the locks and tow the boat. It was very cool to see how the canal was used back in the day.

Some canal history: operated from 1836 until 1924 parallel to the Potomac River in Maryland from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, DC. The total length of the canal is about 184.5 miles (300 km). The elevation change of 605 ft (185 m) was accommodated with 74 canal locks. To enable the canal to cross relatively small streams, over 150 culverts were built. The crossing of major streams required the construction of 11 aqueducts (10 of which remain). The canal also extends through the 3120 ft (950 m) Paw Paw Tunnel. The principal cargo was coal from the Allegheny Mountains. The canal way is now maintained as a park, with a linear trail following the old towpath, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

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