This was a day that Dan had been looking forward to, and it turned out to be a pretty cool area.
We got up early to get to the visitor center early – only to find that it opened at 9 a.m., not 8 a.m. as the website said. Dang. Our campground was crowded, so we knew it would be a crowded day and wanted to get a jump start before the heat and humidity got too bad.
We changed our plans a little and drove to the Bolivar Hill Overlook. Turned out to be a better way to understand all the fighting here. The hill overlooked the little town of Harper’s Ferry, where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet. The Confederates and Union forces had been occupying the town since the start of the war – it changed hands 6 times. The battle we read about was a Confederate victory. They wanted the area so they could cut off the supply lines for the Union.
John Brown and his friends wanted to blow it up because there was so much ammunition inside it, and they didn’t want the Confederates to be able to use it. He was an outspoken opponent of slavery. On the day in question, they holed themselves up in the fort, and townspeople were trying to get them out peacefully. One of the guys inside shot a man outside, and he later died. When they caught John Brown after the mini-battle, he was tried for the man’s murder, and later hanged.
The little town was cute, and had anything been open, we would have enjoyed looking in the old-fashioned stores. As it was, we hiked up to the church and found it locked. First one we’ve found locked. Dan kept going up to a rock outcropping and got some good pictures of the town and rivers. Beautiful. The kids and I stayed at the church because I’d twisted my right foot again and couldn’t put weight on it. Dang.
Then we all walked down to the river, and over the bridge into Maryland. It is part of the Appalachian Trail system, so now we can say we hiked a little of it! The views were amazing. The old bridges out of stone were huge and we could see how they could carry the load. Unfortunately, they were some of the first things demolished in the war.
After a little more history, we headed back to the rig for more pool time, an incredible chicken artichoke green spinach pasta dinner, and a nice quiet evening listening to Nate yell at the tv while the Seahawks played the Packers. Man, I love our life.