The Department of Labor says:
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
So, we get a day off and labor not at all - meaning much more time for hiking, biking and kayaking.
Carl and I started things off by doing a 7 mile round trip hike from the base of Weverton Cliffs to Harper's Ferry. Technically, this is the Appalachian Trail but for most of the way you are really on the C&O Canal Towpath. We got to see the damage from last month's fire, about 8 structures destroyed in the middle of the historic town.
On the railroad bridge over the Potomac from the Towpath to Harper's Ferry, we saw evidence that yet another French export (like fries, toast, dressing and kissing) has made it to the US - locks on bridge railings. Apparently, couples engrave their initials on padlocks and lock them to the bridge to mean... something. In Paris, so many locks were put on one bridge that the weight threatened to collapse the bridge and they cut them off. Probably saw 50 locks on this bridge but that is up from zero earlier in the year.
Back on the Towpath (which has 74 lift locks, but no bridge railing locks - yet) some interesting late summer bloomage - have no idea what that was, but right purty.
The next day Carole and I decided to go bi - biathletic, anyway. We first biked 13 miles on the Indian Head Rail Trail from White Plains to Indian Head, where the plan was to rent a kayak to paddle along the Mattawoman Creek for a while and then bike back. The trail runs slightly downhill in this direction and we were flying along for the first 11 miles or so, until my aging rear tire went psssst with a flat.
Carole kept going to tell the Up the Creek kayak rental place that we might be a bit late while John put a new tube on and pumped up the rear tire with his ridiculously small pump. The nice guy who owns Up the Creek let Carole borrow his pickup truck, and she drove back to the trail and by carrying my bike with the now semi-turgid rear tire the rest of the way to the rental place, I was able to use their full sized pump - saving much pumping and cursing. Even though Carole has always assured me it is not true, apparently size does matter.
We'd never kayaked on Mattawoman Creek before, it is a beautiful place. We went upstream about 4 miles, passing white herons, blue herons, and eagle and all kinds of "fly-over" birds that no one ever gets excited to see, sort of the Ohio and Iowa of birds.
From the back of the tandem kayak I had a nice view of Carole's excellent paddling form and ponytail. The tide was coming in, so even though we were going upstream the current was largely helping us. The return 4 miles was a bit more of a slog as the tide was still coming in and we were now going into the freshening breeze.
We returned the kayak to the nice folks at Up the Creek, hopped on our bikes and speedily pedaled 13 miles back to the car. This is slightly uphill (very slightly - about a 500 foot rise in 13 miles) but if you went by Carole's complaining you would think we were on the Alpe d'Huez. On the drive back we stopped at a Starbucks and she quickly revived.
On the actual Labor Day day off, Carole decided she had enough of the great outdoors and did girly exercise classes with her girlfriends, while I did a 35 mile loop from Earleigh Heights to Sandy Point Point State Park on my road bike. This is always a fun ride on holidays since for many people Sandy Point's Chesapeake Bay beaches are their holiday destination and cycling the loop in the park is like going through a World's Fair of food smells.
To stretch the ride a bit, I took a detour to the Ferry Point marina on the Magothy River and saw two sailboats passing by a gigantic woman on a stand-up paddle board, or a really small woman on a stand-up paddle board going by two radio controlled model sailboats - I'm not quite sure.