WASHINGTON -- The stretch of the Potomac River upstream from the nation's capital is a natural wonder, a recreational playground to explore that sits in a secluded gorge. It's an out-of-the-way place where important government documents, like the Declaration of Independence, were hidden during the War of 1812 when the British burned Washington.
And as WTOP's Mark Segraves reports, the gorge has been home to an urban legend named Naked Ned, an older gentleman with a beard who has been spotted for years by hikers, fishermen and others who have explored the gorge. Ned has been usually found building dams in the buff in the Potomac's rocky floodplain, crisscrossed by countless pools of water and rivulets.
Segraves tracked down Naked Ned at his camp in the gorge. But he likes to be called "Chaosmi the Infinite."
Between his base camp and the shore, Chaosmi has built dozens of dams, some stretching 50 yards or more, some just a few feet in length. But combined it's thousands of rocks, large and small, all strategically placed, one at a time. The dams slow and even redirect the river, creating calm pools and tranquil falls where plants and fish abound. It's an incredibly beautiful spot that he says he's been coming to since he was a kid, when his father would bring him there to swim.
This puts Chaosmi in good company with President John Quincy Adams, who would regularly swim nude in the Potomac.