Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Harper's Ferry

My brother and I went to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia yesterday, middled around, and hiked 5 miles of the Appalachian Trail. This is the least remote part of the AT perhaps, with part of the trail running directly through the three block town of Harper's Ferry. It is also headquarters for the AT support organization. We walked along the C & O canal--I think that's the name of the old canal---which parallels the Potamac River. Geographically, it was sort of interesting, in that we started hiking in West Virginia, after driving from Virginia, and crossed a railroad trestle into Maryland. It wouldn't be that hard to knock off Pennsylsvania in the mix as well--Harper's Ferry sits at the confluence on the Shennandoah and Potomac Rivers, which both form state boundaries.
The area was gorgeous, everything I was hoping to see in coming back this time of year. The fall colors of the deciduous trees are amazing, and a few of these pics hint at it. Rich reds, yellows, greens and browns coating the hills. We saw a deer, some geese, old rock structures, and we squashed a nickel under a train. I have other pics which I'm not able to upload right now, but it's good stuff. I'm looking forward to my Mount Masochist run, which will be in this sort of tree cover, I think. I'll be hurting--I ran USMC really slow this past weekend, and still I feel sore, because it was pavement I suppose. It was one big cattleherd through some great sites. Speed tourism.
Harper's Ferry is interesting for a number of reasons. It's a National Park. The town was the site of a battle during the Civil War, and the place where John Brown led a slave revolt against their captors. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as calling it one of the most beautiful places in the world. Getting beyond the history, which I really wasn't into that much anyway, it is a quiet little town which has the comfortable feel of a remote tourism destination, with pubs, craft shops, a rustic railroad station, the convergence of two Appalachian valleys, and a key stop for thru hikers of the Appalachian Trail. I stopped in at a really cool supply store for thru-hikers, the first floor of which was completely made of bedrock stone carved by the rivers. I told my folks that if I lived back here, it would be somewhere like this.