After another decent night in the hammock, I was up and out at 7:15am. I knew today was going to be a long day, but the temperature was very tolerable, in fact I was actually cold for a while until I got riding.
Pretty early in the day, I came across a biker stopped on the trail and looking up across the river. His name was Chris and he had just flushed an eagle from this side of the river. It had moved across the water and was waiting for us to leave. I couldn't get a view of it, but it was cool to know they were in the area.
I continued along the Yough in the morning coolness and before long, I came to Connellsville. After going through the town, right down Third St, I started out of town and came upon a small park where they had two adirondack shelters with tables a grill and water nearby. The shelters were a lot like the ones on the AT, but very new. I checked them out and made a note for any future trips to the area. Shortly after that, I passed the Rivers Edge Campground. This is a developed campground, but could also be a resource for a night's stay.
At Cedar Creek Park, they have some very nice tent pads and good trees for hanging. In the corner of the park, overlooking the river sat this shelter. Modelled after the ones I have stayed in on the Laurel Highlands Trail. It has a nice stone fireplace facing into the shelter. Very cool. I rested here and ate lunch on my last day of the trip.
|Cedar Creek Shelter|
Another place I stopped was some very fresh picnic tables and one of those pre-fab cabins with a bunch of bikes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards sitting outside. I talked to the guy there and they were a new venture that had just started up. The owner of the land had plans to make the area into a park. It seemed pretty nice and would be a great place to work.
I could tell I was getting close to the Burgh when I started seeing stores names like the one below.
I had seen a couple other snakes on my trip, but I stopped and came around to get a picture of this guy sunning himself on the trail. Not the best location to pick, but very visible for all passersby.
I crossed the Monongahela River on this old bridge and continued along the South Side.
Shortly after the Pump House is this interesting labyrinth. I took a nice break here under the shade of one small tree and enjoyed the view.
After Sandcastle the GAP now incorporates the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. This is the trail that I would basically follow into the Northside and home.
I took another rest outside the Steelers South Side Training Facility. I always like checking this place out.
|Cathedral of Learning|
|First view of the city buildings|
From there I just followed some green signs to the Point as I rode the streets of Pittsburgh. A couple out on a bike ride started following me because I guess I looked like I knew where I was going, but after warning them that I wasn't an expert, we all saw the fountain and homed in.
I took a couple pictures of Heinz Field and the Fountain and then headed across the Ft Duquesne Bridge to the North Shore.
|The Fountain at The Point|
When I came to the Penitentiary, I hit the streets and headed up to California Ave. It was quite a climb and I had done it before, but with all the weight I was carrying I didn't even try to ride it. The walk was a nice pace change and I was so close to my goal, I could taste it.
Once I got to California Ave, it was just a few short blocks until I was crossing the Bellevue High Bridge and was entering the Borough I had grown up in. I literally hit the bricks of the Bellevue streets and pulled up in front of 199 Irwin Ave at 5:45pm on the fifth day of my trip. I had accomplished my goal of riding "Home" from Washington, DC.
I walked into my house and my Dad wasn't even surprised to see me. Others who had been following my progress had informed him of my quest.
I was home...
My bike computer said I had done 83.5 miles in 7 hours and 52 minutes of riding time and a total travel time of 10 hours and 30 minutes. The computer also had a grand total mileage of 351.5 miles.
Other math says the 184.5 mile C&O + the 150 mile GAP + the two extra miles I did in DC + the 5.8 miles from the Point to my house. My total trip was somewhere around 342.3 Miles. My side trips in towns and at Ft Frederick would knock that up a little more, so I'm good with saying it was a nice 350 mile trip.
Tomorrow: Five Days in Pittsburgh (and Conneaut and Bruin) Where I went for a record number of days eating burgers off the grill.