Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Maryland Heights hike

Substitute teaching ended for me this week, Rangering begins tomorrow, for my birthday (Friday) I gave myself the day off and went to Harpers Ferry. My mission: hike the six mile Maryland Heights trail.

(hit the play arrow)

It was a perfect day for it, low humidity, not even seventy degrees, and a beautiful blue sky.

The first stop would be the scenic vista from the top of this cliff high above the C and O Canal.

This trail had bested me about five years ago. On a very hot humid day, when I was twenty five pounds heavier, I had to call it quits early into the going (it is a pretty strenuous trail). Today though, I was ready for it.

There and back with pictures to prove it!

Today was the first day of the season at Harpers Ferry and the park looked great with freshened up signs and...

lots of neat props around providing atmosphere.

As I hiked the canal towpath along side the Potomac this enormous heron caught my eye, the first of the local species I'd encounter today.
And further up the trail,

the second.

Three years of Union occupation and fortification of Maryland Heights has left its mark. Although softened by time and vegatation many remains, like this powder magazine, are tangible reminders of the war.

The dry moat and parapet of the 30-pounder Parrott battery still stand sentinel over the river ...

and the town, far below. That's John Browns "fort" on the left.

The views (see video below) were frequent and spectacular!

This is the commandaing view of the Shenandoah River from the Federal 100lb Parrott gun battery

This Federal fortification "the Stone Fort" is at the summit of Maryland Heights. These stones are massive, and to think this was built by hand, the hands of free men that is.

It was a perfect morning and afternoon. A rigorous six-miles (all uphill it seemed), and a delicious home-made pizza at the end of the day,

Happy birthday to me, happy rangering for the summer!



HankC said...

Ranger Mannie,

My wife and I took that same hike in early spring about 5 years ago. Killer. I had something painful floating in my knee before but the 'walk' melted it!

Ours was in the early spring and I was hallucinating enough to swear I could see the Washington monument from the top...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing those breathtaking photos Mannie. And a very Happy Birthday to you my friend. Looking forward to visiting with you on the field this year.

Richard said...

Mannie, thanks for sharing these images and videos. I did not know there was a path to get up there! Of course the only time I have been to HF was in the Winter.
I will have to give it a shot next time I am out there.

Mannie Gentile said...

Thanks gang for the kind words and birthday wishes.

My arthritic foot is still smarting from that hike. I expect to make it a yearly thing (for the next 56 years).


Anonymous said...

Mannie you are one tough guy! Happy Birthday.

John C. Nicholas

Steve Basic said...


Have always wanted to that hike, and I thank you for sharing your wanderings up there. Inspires me to do so the next time I find myself in the area.

Happy Birthday!!

Regards from the Garden State,

Steve Basic

Anonymous said...

Looks like a wonderful day, my friend. Thanks for sharing it with us ...