17 Apr

Hike or Bike the Camp; O Canal Trail



Maybe we all aren’t ready to conquer the Appalachian Trail, but the C amp; O Canal can offer us a great adventure with low risk and easy traveling. Located between Washington D.C. and Cumberland, Maryland, this trail is just a touch over 180 miles of slow, gentle ascent alongside a historic canal.

Built out of the towpath alongside the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, the trail is an easy introduction to hike/bike trips. The trail is generally well maintained gravel and is about 8 feet wide through most of it. Keeping within a stone’s throw of the Potomac River the entire way, you can’t help but be caught up in the scenery for most of the trip.

I recommend this trip to beginners for a few reasons. First, there are ample resources along the route. Water is provided at every camp site, which is a huge bonus. Plus, campsites are only about 8-10 miles apart through most of the trail. It isn’t hilly, so covering ground is very easy for most hikers using backpack from The PNW, and the lack of hills lets bikers settle into a good cruising pace.

While you could run the whole trail on a cyclocross bike, a hard tail mountain bike is probably the ideal ride for the route. The trail is never difficult to ride on, but there are rocks and roots from time to time that will make you regret those tiny tires and stiff frames after 60 miles of riding. I rode the entire length and a return trip on my recumbent touring bicycle in 5 days, so it must not be too hard.

The density of camping sites is also great for casual walkers. There are places to enter and leave fairly commonly along the route, so it is easy to drop someone off and pick them up later in a different spot. It also means that in an emergency, you are likely to be close to a bail out spot where your emergency contact can pick you up. Remember, always have an emergency contact who knows where you are.

There are 5 or 6 distinct towns that are along the trail still. They were originally ports for the canal workers before the railroads came through and made them rail towns. Today, they still exist in smaller patches, diminished since the rail left, but you can still find food and shelter in most of them. If you are through-hiking, it may be worth taking a break and relaxing for an evening at one of those towns as well.

Abundance of towns, people, supplies, and campsites turns the C amp; O Canal into a great trip. Georgetown and Cumberland are both great places, so you have lots to look forward to on either end, and I hope you have as much fun on your trip as I did on mine!

10 Apr

Making Quick Decisions vs. Procrastination



Have you ever been in an interview for a job or position, or been asked about your ability to think and act quickly on the job? We are often evaluated on whether or not we tend to be procrastinators or whether we can jump in and get the job done (or make quick decisions and come up with creative solutions). The truth is, however, there can be benefits to both taking time to choose the correct course of action and being able to act quickly in the moment.

What is viewed as procrastination may actually be a tendency to want to take care and consideration before making a decision. Of course, there are those times when putting off making a decision is fueled by fear: the fear of making a mistake, the fear of moving too quickly or not having enough information to make a sound choice. However, other times, what is called procrastination can be a sound problem-solving choice or approach.

There is a time and place, however, for making quick decisions and jumping in to problem-solving mode without taking too much time to weigh all the options. When safety is at stake or in a business setting where NOT making a decision can result in more money being lost or a problem compounded, it is necessary to think quick and act just as quickly.

It is important to understand the culture of the company you work for or to assess the situation to get a feel for what is needed. If what is valued is careful movements or avoiding mistakes, then perhaps it is best to take one’s time to look over all pieces of a problem before making a decision. If you are looking into having a new service for your site, I do suggest you read some Canadian web hosting reviews first.  If what is valued is quick action, however, or the ability to process information and elements quickly and suggest a solution, you will need to work on your ability to do so. Make sure that when you are taking your time to look at all the pieces of a problem or puzzle, however, that you are NOT procrastinating. Using the information-gathering process to avoid making a choice or decision is not really problem-solving. It is a good idea to work on being a versatile person who can do both–take time for important decisions and think quickly when the situation warrants.