29 June, 2010

C & O Canal + Mt Vernon Day 3

Day 3: Harpers Ferry, Brunswick

Tuesday June 29, 2010, 33 miles (53 km) - Total so far: 145 miles (233 km)

Today we started more leisurely since we're already halfway done and my parents are picking us up on Thursday.The Potomac becomes rocky and we see groups of rafters/kayakers. We are excited to visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit |  | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picture

Harpers Ferry is important for two reasons. The Potomac and Shenandoah river combine here and John Brown led a famous armed insurrection in an attempt to free our nation's slaves.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit |  | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the pictureriding towards Harpers Ferry

The location is surrounded by scenic rocky cliffs. We must haul the bikes onto a train bridge to cross over into West Virginia.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit |  | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the pictureno ferry, a bridge to cross the Potomac

Once in town we secure some mediocre pizza and then hit up the free museums. I respect that John Brown wanted to free the slaves and many see him as a hero of the abolitionist.
John Brown led a raid on a Federal armory and hoped that slaves would flock to this town to receive the weapons. A day later Robert E. Lee and his Marines easily shut down the operation. John Brown was hung and Southern states started to prepare for the Civil War.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit |  | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the pictureJohn Brown getting crazy

The town was beautiful and integrated into the natural setting. Lots of rock was used in construction of walls and buildings.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit |  | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picturesteps carved into hillside

We found Private Quinns Pub and sat on the balcony while sipping the local Mountaineer Brew. Appalachian Trail hikers and abolitionist history buffs make for interesting people watching.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit |  | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picturedowntown Harpers Ferry

Right next door we stopped at Scoops for some frozen refreshment.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit |  | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picturebanana split

Harpers Ferry was our favorite stop for the whole tour.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit |  | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the picturePotomac + Shenandoah

The Appalachian Trail follows the canal for a short while south of town.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit |  | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the pictureon the Appalachian Trail

The trail gets bumpy and pothole ridden from time to time for the next couple days. Although it was nothing dangerous, it can get tedious with smaller tires.
We needed more groceries so we stopped in the town of Brunswick. Unfortunately the store was on the outskirts of town. A couple of BMX riding kids gave us directions and looked at us crazy. The roads to the grocery store were not bicycle friendly and we were a rare sight to the cars (no bikes or bike locks at the shopping center). We were glad to be out of Brunswick. It is a pity that so many towns require a car to get food.
The campground was mosquito ridden and the river had trashy muddy banks. A power plant plumed smoke nearby. These were my fears coming into the tour but the Indian Flats campsite was better than the previous few we passed since it had a working water pump and it wasn't right next to the train tracks.

Relation | Bookmark | Edit |  | Report | Link
Click here for a larger version of the pictureleaving Harpers Ferry on the A.T.