Ferry and the Tow Path

I took a drive out to Harper’s Ferry – the site of abolitionist John Brown’s famous siege to end slavery,

one that provoked the civil war. I don’t condone the violence. Frederick Douglass had in fact counseled against Brown’s actions. Brown lost his fight (and his life). But mostly I went out there to observe what Jefferson had called “a site worth crossing the Atlantic for” – the merging of the Potomac and Shenendoah rivers. The site also happens to lie on the Appalachian trail,

an exhausting 3-day trek across Maryland in my younger days, and on the tow path – a 2 day 60 mile bike ride on gravel up the Potomac from DC. One of course needs to negotiate a system for the dogs. They can’t do that distance in 2 days, but I had made this trip alone about 10 years ago while someone had watched my dog.

I parked on the West Virginia side at the Visitor’s Center, and hiked down to Virginius island

using my bike on the railroad tracks,

and then over into the town,

and across the Potomac along the C and O canal tow path

up to Maryland Heights.

The view was spectacularly beautiful, as I remembered it. It is perhaps the last time I will be strong enough to do the hike. It was about 7-10 miles altogether, and we finished at dusk, walking back to the parking lot in the dark along the road.

We had seen and heard several birds along the tow path, the sound of the forest, and also some small tracks in the sand along the river bank.

The civil war aspect is sad – it was the bloodiest war in U.S. history. Could slavery not have been ended in any other way?

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