**Editor's Note: Yes, I know that Thanksgiving is exactly one week away, which means that summer is long since gone. However, sometimes life gets in the way (read: kids and I are back at our respective schools), which means that blog updates get pushed back. I promise I'll get everything updated eventually!
Continuing with our theme of visiting National Parks before the end of summer vacation, our next adventure took us to the Maryland side of Great Falls to the C&O Canal.
For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to visit, "C&O" stands for the "Chesapeake and Ohio" Canal. Take a few minutes to get your history on and learn something.
After meeting a couple of lovely mules...
...we purchased our tickets to ride the 'Charles F. Mercer' and strolled around a bit while we waited for our ship to sail.
The kids spent their time pointing at butterflies and ducks while I tinkered with the shutter settings on my camera.
Once we finally stepped aboard the Mercer, we enjoyed a history lesson on the construction of the canal from a very knowledgeable gentleman...
...as we were loaded into the lock and elevated up for the next portion of our ride.
The fact that our ship was pulled by mules was a point of immense fascination for both kids and adults.
The ride itself was fairly uneventful, but I was extremely impressed with the way that the historical interpreters handled themselves!
I was even more impressed with the fact that they didn't complain one tiny bit about their period outfits, even though it was excruciatingly hot that day. This woman in particular was an absolute joy to be around - she was so friendly and genuinely happy to be there!
After our ride, we took a short walk over to Great Fall Outlook.
If you've never taken the time to go out there, please do so - it's beautiful! As an added bonus, the National Park Service is not charging an entrance fee while they complete renovations on the road and facilities!
My only regret was that it was really hot outside and the sun was extremely bright (which resulted in some less than fabulous photography). A friend of mine was there recently to see the fall foliage and took some really stunning pictures. My pictures from this first trip weren't nearly as good as her pictures were, so I'll definitely have to take the kids there next year (when the weather is a bit cooler, of course).
I think they had a good time, though. :)