Thursday, April 13, 2006

Volunteers in Parks: Busman's Holiday!

It's spring break so there are no substitute teaching gigs until next week. What do I do on my day off? I take a three hour hike at Antietam National Battlefield! What else?

This is me hiking the Cornfield Trail I'm just leaving the east Woods and am about to enter "the Bloody Cornfield". Between the rocks and the giant woodchuck holes the terrain here can be pretty treacherous. Stay on the trail!

Mertensia virginica "Virginia Cowslip"
The battlefield is a riot of wildflowers right now, this is just one of dozens of varieties that are blooming. I took this picture in the reforested West Woods, in the vicinity of the Dunker Church.

My hike today took me through the historic Piper farm, and I was able to behold, close-up, the glorious Piper bank-barn. What a beauty!

Hey look, its the Piper girls! Groovy earrings!
Most of the historic farms and fields of the battlefield are leased out to local farmers by the National Park Service. It's a great way to continue the agrarian traditions of the battlefield as well as maintain good relations with the area farmers.

How cool is this? Most people never see this when they make their brief visits to the battlefield. I came across the Piper farm lane lying approximately 1/2 mile south (and parallel to) "Bloody Lane". There's more than just one sunken lane on this battlefield. It was while I was hiking in this area that I saw a parade of 30 deer on the ridgeline, as well as the guy below (pardon the low-resolution)...

The wind was in my face so the fox never heard or smelled me approaching.

Beautiful flowers, wildlife, historic buildings, peaceful out of the way lanes. All in all...

just another day in the park!

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