Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Harpers Ferry Hike

Yesterday I took the kids, plus Maddie and Amanda, to Harpers Ferry.  We've never actually been there, so I wasn't exactly sure what we should do.  We wanted to hike, and I found some shorter hikes on the website, so that seemed like a good plan.

When we got there, we went straight to the visitors center, where I talked to a nice ranger.  He showed me some hikes, including a shady path by the river, down by the old town part, but he recommended a hike through what used to be a farm.  It started right behind the visitors center, so you didn't have to take the shuttle bus down to the town or anything.  It was only 2.2 miles, and there were some cannons, an overlook to the river, and some Civil War-era trenches, so it seemed like a good bet.

Before embarking on the hike, we ate lunch at the nice picnic area at the end of the parking lot.  it was shady, with a lot of picnic tables, so it was nice!
Then we started off on our hike.  The first part was through some woods, by a stream, and it was pretty. 
The next part was well, through what used to be a farm!  It was not so much a hike as a stroll down a gravel road running through fields, though, and it was soooo hot and sunny!  We were looking for shade wherever we could find it!  We did go look at the cannons, which were replicas, the ranger said.
After the cannons, Faith and Micah really lagged behind.  I had Drew in the backpack, but I was thinking I should have put him in the front pack on someone else and put Micah in the backpack, LOL.  Maybe Micah will be an entymologist or something--he is fascinated with bugs!  When he gets tired, he stops and points out every. single. bug. he sees on the ground.  With the field next to us, there were TONS of butterflies, grasshoppers, dragonfly-type bugs, huge ants, etc. on the path, and I thought we would never get to the shade, which was where the overlook was.  But eventually even Micah and Faith made it!  It was a beautiful view!
I was a bit worried that Micah would scamper off a rock and tumble down the side of the mountain, but there were actually paths down--it wasn't quite as dangerous as it looks--and Micah was uncharacteristically cautious, LOL. 

After spending some time in the lovely shade of the overlook, we headed backwards just a bit to see the "earthenworks", which were some trenches and redoubts built by Gen. Sheridan to protect Harpers Ferry from Confederates coming down the Shenandoah.  They were built after Harpers Ferry had already switched sides 8 times during the war, so it was a case of too little too late, unfortunately.  The position was never attacked!

Then we moved on.  The next part of the trail had the rebuilt foundation of the building where John Brown hid during his crazy raid on the armory down in the town.  The building was moved to this farm in the early 1900s, and now it is back down in the town again, so these foundations really have no historic merit or anything.  But they are filled with gravel. Micah wanted to stay the whole day and throw rocks around.  When we decided it was time to move on, he pitched the loudest and longest temper tantrum you can imagine.  I was so glad the trail was not crowded with people, because it honestly sounded like we were trying to butcher a hog or something!  Nathan, Luke, and I took turns carrying/dragging him the remaining mile while he shrieked and carried on.  He probably permanently scared Maddie and Amanda from ever having kids, LOL.  He put on quite a show! 
Eventually we made it back to the farmhouse, and I set him down under a tree.  I told everyone we would just let him cry himself out here before attempting to make it back to the more populated areas of the visitors center and parking lot!  Of course, he chose that moment to decide he was making a fuss about nothing, stick his thumb in his mouth, and ask to be carried.  Toddlers . . .  At that point, I honestly think he had no idea what he had even been fussing about!  He certainly wore himself out though.  He fell asleep after about 5 minutes in the van, and he slept until we got home, an hour later!
Since I carried Micah the rest of the way, Luke volunteered to take the backpack with Drew.  This is the first time I used this backpack, and Drew really liked it.  Unfortunately, he has not really liked the Ergo, but I'm wondering if it is because he is still so small.  His legs really have to stretch far apart, and he just fusses in it.  Too bad, because it is a lot easier on my back.  Hopefully he'll like it more when he grows a bit more. 

I am hoping to make another trip over to Harpers Ferry so we can visit the actual town.  In retrospect, we probably should have gone down there and walked along the river, which would have been cooler and shadier.  Although it would have been more crowded, and I'm sure Micah would have found something else to throw a tantrum about, so maybe it's just as well we were so isolated, LOL.  Still, it was a fun day!

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