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A comprehensive guide to one of America's unique national parks, The C&O Canal Companion takes readers on a mile-by-mile, lock-by-lock tour of the 184-mile Potomac River waterway and towpath that stretches from Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, Maryland, and the Allegheny Mountains. Making extensive use of records at the National Archives and the C&O Canal Park Headquarters, Mike High demonstrates how events and places along the canal relate to the history of the nation, from Civil War battles and river crossings to the frontier forts guarding the route to the West. Using attractive photographs and drawings, he introduces park visitors to the hidden history along the canal and provides practical advice on cycling, paddling, and hiking—all the information needed to fully enjoy the park's varied delights. Thoroughly overhauled and expanded, the second edition of this popular, fact-packed book features updated maps and photographs, as well as the latest information on lodgings and other facilities for hikers, bikers, and campers on weekend excursions or extended outdoor vacations. It also delves deeper into the history of the upland region, relaying new narratives about Native American settlements, the European explorers and traders who were among the first settlers, and the lives of slaves and free blacks who lived along or escaped slavery via the canal. Visitors to the C&O Canal who are interested in exploring natural wonders while tracing the routes of pioneers and engineers—not to mention the path of George Washington, who explored the Potomac route to the West as a young man and later laid out the first canals to make the river navigable—will find this guide indispensable.