Monday, May 02, 2011

Harper's Ferry

Last Saturday we finally got out again and did some more sightseeing. Yay! It feels to me like it's been a while since we've done any sightseeing on a Saturday because of Easter, church activities, and Julia being sick. So last Saturday we took a day trip to Harper's Ferry, WV, site of the U.S. Armory during the Civil War.

Since it's where guns were made and stored and was on the railroad both the North and the South wanted control of the town and it changed hands eight times during the Civil War. You might also remember from your US History classes that even before the war, in 1859, an abolitionist named John Brown had a plan to start a slave uprising and attacked the armory in an attempt to get guns for the slave uprising. Unfortunately for Brown no slaves rebelled and he was caught by U.S. Marines, accused of murder, treason, and inciting a slave rebellion, and ultimately hanged for the later. But the event did get the nation talking LP b about the issue of slavery and acted as a catalyst for the Civil War.

We decided to do a difficult 2 mile hike to the lookout on Maryland Heights (from the top of the cliff face in the picture below) and then see how Julia was doing since this was the first time this season for her in the hiking backpack.
View of Harper's Ferry from Maryland Heights- about two miles into our hike. Julia did great! I guess she is over wanting to walk everywhere and now enjoys getting carried around on Dad's back and enjoying the scenery. We decided to do the complete 6.5 mile Maryland Heights hike.
View from the top of Maryland Heights at the site of a stone fort built by Union forces in 1862. Julia says "I'm ready for a nap." Probably a little more than halfway through our 6.5 mile hike.

Julia get's a break inside the stone fort.

We finished our hike in about three and a half hours, completely exhausted. At least we weren't doing this hike (The Appalachian Trial goes through Harper's Ferry). In case you can't see, it says Main 1,165 miles, Georgia 1,013 miles.

After the hike we stopped by John Brown's "Fort," which was really a firehouse that he had retreated to after his attack on the armory. The next day a detachment of U.S. Marines attacked the fort and captured Brown and his men. This is a drawing from Harper's Weekly depicting the attack (they used a wooden fire ladder to knock down the front doors), and below is what the fort looks like today.

Julia inside the fort. She listened intently to the man explaining about the building for about two minutes, but he just kept going on and on, so she got up and started running around.
After that we saw where the armory had once been and saw a couple old buildings, then went home. I was sad we didn't get to see more of the town because it looked really cute and there was a lot more historical stops in the town. However, I wasn't the one who hiked 6.5 miles with a 30 pound pack, nor was I the one who had gotten three hours less sleep than normal that day (Julia skipped her nap and she usually takes a good 2.5-3 hour nap), so my suggestion to look around more was vetoed in favor of going home and going to bed.

We had to stand on the shuttle bus ride back to the car and Julia wanted to hold onto the rail like everyone else was. When I talked to her about her day later that night before she went to bed the things she said she remembered about the day were that we saw two trains, we listened for the water and the birds, (I had stopped and told her while we were hiking "Listen, Julia. Can you hear the water? Can you hear the birds? ) and that she had to "hold on" on the bus. It's always interesting to hear what she remembers about the day because the things I think should make the biggest impression aren't necessarily the things that she talks about.


Post a Comment