Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Harper's Ferry

Thursday I left Matthews Arm Campground in Shenandoah where it cost me only $7.50 to camp with my seniors pass...a great deal!!  Of course the N. Parks here have no hook ups, just a table and a fire-ring..
There was still about 20 miles of the skyline drive to finish with many overlooks yet to stop at
and we came upon a Bear Jam right away!!  This young black bear was up a tree nibbling on acorns I can't think what else he would be eating up there...

I saw one other young cub he was running full blast across the road! Just had time to hit the brakes and no time for the camera....but I was happy to have gotten some bear shots.   Annie and I did a few more overlooks, and saw even more awesome flowers, butterflies, deer, and a few birds my bird shots were just not happening on this trip they stayed too far back at the tree line. But bees are not too fussy about being close to humans if birds had a stinger they would probably land on our heads without fear.  

but soon we found the end of the Skyline drive and we took highway 340 North to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia! 

Since I was this close decided to go ahead and check it out! Unfortunately coming down off the mountain I had a brake issue, smelled the burning and felt the wheel pulling strong to one side so lucky for me Shenandoah Ford in the town of Front Royal, VA was only one mile away from me when it happened I saw their sign and  rolled in, and they were so accommodating.   They had a full load already but they promised to fit me in and get me back on the road within 3 hrs! They let Annie in the air conditioned waiting room  with me, and we watched the Olympics on a big screen TV and I had free WiFi and  uploaded a zillion photos including the ones you've seen in the previous blogs!! I must send them a card and tell them  how happy I was they came to my rescue and were so nice and helpful to me!  So right on time within 3 hrs we were on our way after I got over the Sticker Shock .....the delay put a kink into seeing Harper's Ferry that day...so we drove about 18 miles away to  Greenbrier campground, which was not only in another county but another STATE! This area is where the boundaries of VA, WV, and MD are so intertwined you can drive through 3 states within moments. SO my campground was in MD!   It was quite hot there too...At least they had a pretty good shower house! And there is a lake for paddling, swimming, and fishing. 

I stopped before heading to the CG at the VC, to get the scoop which is this:  

The Old Town is about 1.5 miles away...they load people up on buses and take them down, and it runs about every 1/2 hr to bring you back...but if you have a big black furry dog you are left on your own steam! There is no public parking in the Old Town...there is a parking lot near where the Appalachian Trail comes into Harper's Ferry and it leaves a 0.8 mile walk to get to the town.  So that's what we did...found out later I could have driven the Van through town taken my photos and then turned around and driven out..hot as it was I wish I had done that, since I was not able with Annie to go inside the buildings anyway....Here is the town as seen from crossing the Potomac River which I had to cross to get to and back from my campground in MD. Sorry about the radio antenna in the shot!

After a 0.8 mile walk alongside the Shenandoah Canal we entered the Old Town on Shenandoah Street, the rivers are directly to the South and North of town...

Shenandoah St.

Harper's Ferry is located at the confluence of the Potomac and the Shenandoah Rivers....and from that point on it is only the Potomac...as it flows to Washington DC. 

the famous Explorer Meriweather Lewis stopped here and designed and built his "boat" one that could be assembled after packing it overland...wouldn't he die for one of these inflatables of today?  The boat ended up being a failure. 

I will not give you a history lesson about Harper's Ferry but I'll show you some photos I took! 

White Hall Tavern

John Browns Fort 

this is NOT the area of Brown's Stronghold (and demise)  that is about a mile away didn't stop there but saw the signs, the C & O  Canal is also only a mile away dredged to make it easier for larger ships to bring cargo to Washington DC. Now its a great biking path! There again with my urgent time frame I had to forgo those stops. I think in all honesty the Canal would have been of more interest to me...in hindsight

this is what is left of the Ammunition Bunker that Brown raided...it was eventually covered with debris to make the elevated railway track, now the track is on a trestle type footing. 

St Peters

and here is the AT again!

The Trail Headquarters is just up the road from where we parked to hike into town. 

It crosses the Shenandoah/Potomac here over this bridge...and into that tunnel where if you go thru you can intersect the C & O path there. 


Harper's Ferry has been destroyed by flood a few times! Check out the flood levels over the years....the sign on the far left of the photo see the marker just below that window?

Highest level in 1936 flood was up to the second stories on the buildings

the bridge was moved off its foundations...

old bridge supports

                                                  This was a driving day so we  left by 11..

   Potomac St

So I   drove West to Hwy 9 North, then onto I-81 North,  to I-70 West, then I-68 West, then Hwy 40 West, then Highway 183 North into Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains and got a spot in the Ohiopyle State Park! The last doggie friendly site in the whole park.

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Footnote: In real time Annie had the surgery yesterday and she is doing well so far, she is sore and a little timid, she did eat breakfast and she is currently sleeping on the rug next to her beloved sister Floss who is keeping a keen eye on her! She has 3 pills a day to take, and on a 14 day limited exercise order. I assume they will contact me with results of the lab report...I was disappointed that my phone did not ring when the vet called to let me know her surgery was over so he left a message and I haven't gotten a chance to speak to him to ask his impressions...he was with a patient when I arrived to pick Annie up...so I must call 

If you are going to take people so far away from their car at least have one beverage, ice cream, or soda parlor open so they can refresh themselves we went through the one water bottle pretty fast Annie got a drink out of the Shenandoah when I took her down to the bank to cool off, and the ENTIRE Potomac street  was torn up as a modern street debacle of some sort was going on, vendor and delivery trucks were spoiling the view in many areas, and yet none of the businesses were open.  Just didn't get the feeling I was in an old town with UPS, FedEx and Joe Bob's Construction crew all over the place trying to hog up the shady spots.  The NPS has dropped the ball on Harper's Ferry. Maybe if I went back at another time of year when its not so hot and the  construction is done it may be a different place all together. And they need to bury these power lines and who knows maybe that is what they are doing?  There is only a bit of cobblestone, I expected cobblestone streets....they need to invest some money and get it to really looking like the historic place it is!  They do have some nice exhibits inside some of the buildings.  Instead of the buses an electric powered tram would be better as the buses are noisy and smelly diesel. Just my 3 cents worth. 


  1. I enjoyed the trip once again. I'm with you why do hey have to modernize these old historic towns.

    Hope Annie is feeling better and the tests show no signs of bad things.

    1. Thank you Jo, Harpers Ferry cold be so much more than it is with just a few minor changes...It upsets me that our parks are falling by the wayside while the Military is beefed up so Corporations who supply the Military can become Goliath's now controlling the Federal Budget!
      Annie had a very rough night last night, I don't think the topical salve they gave her was helping so I used Triple Antibiotic Ointment with Pain relief in it. She settled down after that.

  2. Harpers Ferry looks my kind of place, lots of history there. Those bears are amazing, but I expect you have to be careful just in case Momma bear is nearby. That was good customer service you had, sometimes its worth a lot just to get things sorted and be on your way with peace of mind. Hope Annie is ok and is getting more comfortable. Even though you cant tell them, animals know when you're helping them.

    1. I missed your postscript when I wrote the first comment, maybe not my type of place. I think that there is a moral obligation to preserve historical places and not loose them in the sameness of modernity.

  3. Sad about the modernization; agree with you as you know about the fed budget .... but still enjoyed the tour of Harper's Ferry because we definitely missed this area on our East Coast trip. To Westerners like us it was really strange to hit so many states in a short time... we're used to bigger spaces out here. You know that too.

    1. Yep for sure....Harper's Ferry is located in the corner of 3 states, sort of like the 4 corners...I was only 500 or so miles from home when I turned back! I hope once all the construction on Potomac Street is done, it will be a better place to visit.

    2. ...and I had intended to stop at Gettysburg also do these 2 hand in hand, but as it turned out didn't happen. Maybe next time I'm in that area.


Comments are appreciated, and reciprocated!