Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hiking the A.T.

One might have noticed I have been missing from the blog-o-sphere for about a week.  It was a week of traveling and camping with my daughter throughout West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland.  The highlights of the trip seem endless. Several dreams were attained, starting with a day hike on the Appalachian Trail.

Sign post for the A.T. located within the city limits of Harper's Ferry Virginia.
Smack-dab in the middle of the Appalachian Trail is Harper's Ferry.  It was once a sleepy little Virginian town, known as the crossing point where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet.  It was a small city of bustling commerce and a little-bitty arsenal. (This portion of Virginia became a West Virginia, just before the Civil War.)

Your blogger, Cheryl Harner and daughter, Michelle Goodman standing in front of Harper's Ferry's most famous building.
 A feller named John Brown thought this town would make a good place to stage a slavery insurrection. He chose this very building to make his stand.  The history books can tell you the rest of the story, but I encourage you to visit and decide for yourself if ole bearded-John was just a crazy-coot or a principled man who thought it past time to make a real stand for justice.

The Appalachian Trail's most hospitable stretch.

Just across the river the Appalachian Trail is wide and hospitable, even accommodating bicycles in this location.  We hiked along in the mid morning, taking a side trip up the famous Maryland Heights trail.

The Maryland Heights portion of the hike is not for sissies.  It was steep and rocky terrain at the top and had been key as a strategic Civil War site.

The view of Harper's Ferry from Maryland Heights
The view is breath-taking. Of course, the hike to the top already had me winded.  It is no surprise that whomever held the "Heights" was strategically in control of the city. 

If you have not visited Harper's Ferry, I recommend you make plans to go. It is a well-run National Park.
School House Battle Field, Harper's Ferry, VA
 The surrounding farm lands are scenic and also available to hikers and day trippers.  My only regret of this visit was that we did not allow more time for discovery.

Monarch Caterpillar shares its milkweed with milkweed bugs.
Of course, we checked the local milkweed on the field edges and were happy to find some friends, in the form of caterpillars, in Virginia.

My favorite fall flower quickly became Elm-leaved Goldenrod, Solidago ulmifolia.  We often found it growing in the shade of campgrounds and woodlots.  The sprays of florets reaching for the sun took on the look of woodland fire-crackers. The effect was altogether charming.

Hope you are also enjoying  fall, and taking a bit of time to discover the different Goldenrods in your area.

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