Saturday, October 23, 2010

Harpers Ferry Hiking

Today's sight-seeing excursion took us to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. We hoped to do some hiking, grab lunch in town and learn some history. As luck would have it, we accomplished all three.

After arriving at the National Historic Park visitor's center and learning a little more about the area, we hiked along the Virginius Island trail. The first thing we saw on our hike was the remains of a pulp mill. This mill was in operation until 1936, which explains why the walls for all five sluiceways are still standing. Evelyn is such the thrill-seeker, she wanted to stand in this doorway; we wouldn't let her, since there was about a 25-foot drop to the canal below.
The trail is no longer on an island - you know how rivers have a way of changing over the years - but we did get up close and personal with the Shenandoah River. Evelyn found several freshwater clam shells along the shore, and she also enjoyed floating leaves in the water.

Farther along, near the foundation of a house, we came across an old millstone. To give you an idea of how huge this millstone was, Troy, his parents and Evelyn all climbed on top of it for a photo op.
After hiking for about an hour and a half, we headed into town for lunch. With lunch and ice cream in our tummies, we were ready to walk across the Potomac River via a pedestrian bridge that runs right alongside (active) train tracks. The girls loved walking so high above the river and being so close to the tracks. (Our train adventures were so exciting, I had to write a separate post.)
"The Point" provides a fabulous backdrop for taking pictures. This is where both the Shenandoah River and the Potomac River converge. If you hike through town and up a steep hill to Jefferson's Rock, you (apparently) get an even better view of the river valleys. We'll have to do that another day - we were all too tuckered out this time around. Another hike we are saving for next time is the Murphy Farm trail, which (we hear) also yields some gorgeous views.