Volunteer Opportunities, Level Walks, and Molly


Two rites of spring are coming up – the Potomac Watershed Cleanup on April 8, and the Garlic Mustard Challenge. Jim Heins manages several sites for the watershed cleanup and he has site leaders assigned for each site. We need some help out there; sign-ups are a little lower than normal, and if you want to help you can contact Jim at vip@candocanal.org. You must sign up before participating. The sites include Carderock (my site), Swains Lock, Pennyfield Lock, Angler’s Inn and Violette’s Lock.  This is work, but it can be a fun event – “who found the oddest thing” is popular, and you will see early wildflowers and great views of the river. Families and kids are welcome!

April is Garlic Mustard month. The garlic mustard is winning in many places. There are several sites along the canal that are adopted, but there are plenty more to go around. There will also be two group events – the first at Carderock on April 22, 9 a.m. to noon, and the second at Swains Lock on May 6, 9 a.m. to noon.  If you are interested and want to get involved, contact Jim or Steve at gmc@candocanal.org.

Level walker activity has started to increase with the start of spring-like weather.  I like winter, but I have to admit the first few spring walks are intoxicating! As you get out on your levels, bear in mind to keep an eye out for towpath surface conditions and debris that could impact bike users and walkers. With the spring rains upon us, be mindful of blocked culverts or prism washouts.  If you’re used to being on the towpath in winter with no bikes, watch out because they are back and some riders go through pretty quickly. I will be sending out safety guidelines in a future blog.

Several of you have used the level.molly@gmail.com for submitting reports. Thank you. That is not a must-do, but it does help segregate reports from the other mail.  I have eight or nine addresses that I receive canal-related email at, and the levelwalker address is a target of frequent spam. Using this special address helps out, because I can search on the name “Molly” – I have no Molly contacts or level walkers so this has helped.

And – many of you have asked who Molly is – wife, old girlfriend, mother, niece?  Actually, I once owned a racing go-kart in my crazy 20s called “Molly-K” for “molybdenum kart,” but that’s not it either. Molly is my six-year old tuxedo cat; I rescued her as a four-week old kitten someone dropped in front of my house. She is a nervous, introverted feline who has little use for other cats or people, mostly just me. She “lap edits” much of Along the Towpath and sees it before anyone else does.

Top Photo –  Carderock Pavilion; May 3, 2015 –  Level 5

Bottom Photos – Molly the cat; note on the left that she enjoys Along the Towpath, at least the delivery box