My last guest blogger’s hero was a pilot. It reminded me I haven’t posted anything fun on our weekend travels in a while. Over spring break, we flew in to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia for some hiking, history, and hanging out. Below are some pictures from our trip. Enjoy!
The landing was uneventful and smooth as ever, but when we taxied to a stop and started unloading our bags, we realized our Harper’s Ferry stay might last longer than we anticipated!
Finally, everything was squared away at the airport and we piled into our friend’s car and started the long drive to the mountain cabin our friends had rented for the week.
We stayed at the Blackburn Trail Center, which is a group of cabins and shelters for AT hikers run by the PATC (Potomac Appalachian Trail Club). There are two cabins, one that can be rented by PATC members (our friends are members) and one for the center’s caretakers. The other shelters are one night/one room cabins for hikers coming in off the AT who need a place to eat and sleep for the night.
Although our cabin was more substantial and roomy than a tent would have been, you still have to come with a camping mentality. The accommodations were a mixed bag of modern and roughing it. (The cabin had a dishwasher but no bathroom. Huh. I think I would have prioritized the other way with plumbing. :-D)
The views from the trail center were spectacular. It’s located only about a half mile or so down from the AT, so it’s fairly high on the mountain. On clear days, you can see all the way to the Washington Monument. (The caretaker pointed it out to us as a tiny spot on the horizon our last day there).
Obviously, you can’t stay in a place like the Blackburn Trail Center and not hike on the AT. So the day after we arrived, we filled up some water bottles and hit the trail. The climb up to the ridge was steep. All of the kids ran up the side of the mountain as if they were Spider Man scrambling up the side of a building. I was left at the rear, huffing and puffing, damning myself for the hours I spend in front of my computer and swearing when book #2 is turned in I’m gonna hit the gym. (I’ve made that promise to myself at least a gazillion times before).
The AT was gorgeous. It’s always nice to hike in different seasons. In spring, the leaves aren’t out yet so the woods still feel open and sunny. The whole hike (once I reached the ridge and stopped wheezing) felt breezy and open. Valley views were magnificent.
Later, we walked through the historic town of Harper’s Ferry.
Harper’s Ferry is one of those places that is a confluence of many things:
- Rivers: the Potomac and the Shenandoah
- Trails and rails: the C&O Canal Tow Path, the Appalachian Trail, and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
- History: Thomas Jefferson visited Harper’s Ferry in 1783. His take on the beauty of the place: “The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature.” In 1859, abolitionist John Brown raided the town’s arsenals hoping to use the seized weapons to start a southern uprising. His plan failed and he was hanged but many believe his raid was a major catalyst for the American Civil War.
- Outdoor Adventure: Harper’s Ferry is one of the only towns the AT crosses through and thru-hikers think of it as the psychological mid-point of the trail. Along with hiking, there’s also canoeing, white water rafting, tubing, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and zip lining available.
With all that, I wished we’d had more time to stay! Luckily, it’s only a short flight away for us. We definitely plan on returning!
Too soon, we had to pack up and go. We were spending Easter in New Jersey so we flew out that Saturday morning. The flight back from KMRB to South Jersey Regional was one of the windiest I’ve ever experienced. But before long we were chowing down on BLT’s and fries at the Runway Cafe. No one does American food better than a New Jersey diner!!
How about you? Did you go anywhere for Spring Break this year? Have you ever been to Harper’s Ferry? What did you think of it? Have you ever hiked on the Appalachian Trail? Do you like visiting places that are full of history? How about New Jersey diners? Anyone else a fan? 😀