Sun, Feb 15 2004 - Difficult Day Hike in Harpers Ferry, WV (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Brian Loughery, Donna McLaren, Aaron Firoved, Rebecca Firoved, Laura Hustead, Ronit Fix, Gerald Storseth, Rob Copeland, Colin Babb, Carla Heck, Shuli Chiu, KC Yi, Jason Taylor, David Raines, Laura Loughery, michael loverde|
Seventeen intrepid MOCers gathered at the
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park on a
chilly Sunday morning. As we huddled inside
the visitor's center, waiting for the last of our
group to arrive, the park rangers told us a
couple of stories about the trail we were going
to hike--the Maryland Heights Overlook. The
trail conditions were a bit icy, they said, with
some visitors slipping and falling just a
couple of days before. But that didn't deter us.
After gathering the last of our group, we
boarded the shuttle bus and headed a few
miles down the road to the historic section of
We kept up a brisk pace as we crossed the
railroad bridge spanning the Potomac River
and headed back into Maryland. After a
half-mile of easy (though sometimes muddy)
going along the C & O Canal towpath, we
reached the trailhead of the Maryland Heights.
We began our ascent along a road originally
constructed by Union troops during the Civil
War. The heights tower some 1400+ feet
above the town of Harpers Ferry, so it wasn't
long before we were getting quite a workout!
Layers of fleece that kept us so warm before
the hike were quickly stuffed into backpacks
as we slowly worked our way up the mountain.
In addition to the elevation gain, we were
faced with a trail that was coated in ice and
snow in most places. We decided against
following the road all the way to the top, since
it goes very steeply up the backside of the
mountain and was covered in ice. Instead, we
headed the other way and ascended via a
less steep path on the front side of the
mountain. Because this side received more
sunlight, the ice was replaced by snow, which
was much easier to navigate through. After
ascending past some old gun emplacements,
we finally made our way to the top of Maryland
Heights and enjoyed lunch in the ruins of the
old stone fort.
After lunch, we began our descent back down
the mountain. Before departing, we detoured
to the highlight of our trip--the overlook cliff.
Harpers Ferry was spread out below us. The
vista provided great photo ops, as well as
some time for relaxing before continuing our
trek. After some of us admired old Civil War
graffiti carved in the rocks, we made our way
down the mountain via a steep, but thankfully
ice-free, side trail. Upon returning to the
visitor's center, most of us decided to head
back to Frederick and enjoy dinner at Brewers
Alley. Pizza, burgers, and beer provided a
great end to our chilly Sunday.
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