Whichever direction you're traveling, the Eastern Continental Divide is a significant milestone on the trail because it marks the highest point. Whether you are headed to Pittsburgh or DC, it's all downhill from here. The Eastern Continental Divide, in conjunction with other continental divides of North America, demarcates two watersheds of the Atlantic Ocean: the Gulf of Mexico watershed and the Atlantic Seaboard watershed. Prior to 1760, the divide represented the boundary between British and French colonial possessions in North America. The ECD runs south-southwest from the Eastern Triple Divide in Pennsylvania to the watershed of the Kissimmee River, which drains via the Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway to both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
Cumberland Bone Cave
I wouldn't say that the bone cave is a fascinating sight because there's not much to see. However, the whole story is really interesting and it's right on the edge of the trail. In 1912 workers excavating a cut for the Western Maryland Railway along Andy's Ridge broke into the partly filled cave. A local naturalist, Raymond Armbruster, observed fossil bones among the rocks that had been blasted loose and were being removed from the cut. Armbruster notified paleontologists at the Smithsonian Institution, and James W. Gidley began excavating that same year. The cave later became known as the "Cumberland Bone Cave".
Between 1912 to 1916, Gidley excavated the Cumberland Bone Cave, where 41 genera of mammals were found, about 16 per cent of which are extinct. Numerous excellent skulls and enough bones to reconstruct skeletons for a number of the species were present. Skeletons of the Pleistocene Cave Bear and an extinct Saber-toothed cat from the Bone Cave are on permanent exhibit in the Ice Age Mammal exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Many of the fossilized bones date from 200,000 years ago. The Cumberland Bone cave represents one of the finest Pleistocene-era faunas known from eastern North America.
Today very little of this cave is still in existence, though some excavations are still being performed by the Maryland DNR. The remains can be seen on the south wall of the cut, at the same level of the neighboring railbed, and at the top of the north wall. The connecting chambers and passages have been removed. The Cumberland Bone Cave is developed in the vertical planes of the Keyser Limestone at an elevation of 840 feet (260 m). The cave is located just south of Frostburg and is sealed with a chain linked fence and marked with a sign.
Borden Tunnel is 2.5 miles west of Frostburg. The tunnel was bored for two tracks and has a length of 957.5 ft. After the 1975 abandoment, the track was left in all the way up west of the tunnel. It was left to serve a small coal strip mine here. I had a really freaky experience in this tunnel at the end of a long rainy day.
It was early evening and the rain finally stopped but the air was wet and the sky overcast. Clouds had formed inside the cooler temperatures of the Borden Tunnel. There are no lights in the tunnel so the only light source was coming from the opposite end of the tunnel which was clouded with a cool fog. The light was being diffused through the fog in such a way that I felt like I was riding through a kaleidoscope. It was a really freaky moment. It was as if I were floating because I couldn't see the ground or the walls of the tunnel, just the diffused light coming from the far end. Pedaling through the tunnel towards the light felt like a sneak peak of Heaven. I stopped to take a photo but there was so much moisture in the air (my camera was still wet from filming through the Big Savage Tunnel) that my camera refused to cooperate.
Mason Dixon Line
The Mason–Dixon Line was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute between British colonies in Colonial America. It is a demarcation line among four U.S. states, forming part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia (then, part of Virginia). What started as a border dispute between British colonies in America is now a famous geographic landmark that forms the borders of four states and is also considered the boundary between the northeast states and the southern states.
You will cross the line about half way between the Big Savage Tunnel and Frostburg. A couple cyclists from Virginia and myself witnessed a bear crossing the trail as we approached the Mason Dixon Line marker. Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough with the camera to capture the scene.
This town is the turn-around location for the Scenic Western Maryland Railroad, which starts in Cumberland and winds through "the Narrows", a deep water gap and terminates at the Railroad depot in Frostburg.
Canal Place is located at mile 0 in Cumberland Maryland. There's a cool riverfront park besides the historic train station. Check out the Crabby Pig restaurant or the Trail Connection bike shop. The guys at the Trail Connection are super nice and helpful. It may be the only bike shop where you can buy everything you need to brew beer at home.
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