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Spring 2019 Greater Maryland AT Trip

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#1 iowahiker


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Posted 10 May 2019 - 11:26 PM

Our first trip of 2019 finished our sixth year of hiking the Appalachian Trail, AT, starting in Georgia and reaching southern Pennsylvania during this trip.  Our first two trips each year go East and the next two trips go West.  Day hiking over 1000 AT trail miles was an exploration of Appalachian America and required over 2,000 miles of Day hiking since we hike out-and-back to return to our camper and sometimes use connector trails.  Finding all the remote trailheads was also a interesting exploratory task.  We reached the AT halfway point this year and based on trail miles, we "finished" the AT at the halfway point since we hike out-and-back.


Day hiking the greater Maryland AT is convenient because four state parks are staggered along the trail.  They are, from south to north:  Greenbrier SP (MD), Cunningham Falls SP (MD), Caledonia SP (PA), and Pine Grove Furnace SP (PA).  All these parks have hot showers (why else day hike all those miles?).  Greenbrier SP worked well for visiting Harpers Ferry NHP.


The greater Maryland AT section we hiked included hiking parts of northern Virginia, eastern West Virginia, and southern Pennsylvania where the AT halfway point is located.  This 110+ mile trail section has some good views but is especially noteworthy for having more history along the trail than any other section we hiked or expect to hike.  


Years ago I suggested the "grand tour" of the East in a loop.  Harpers Ferry NHP could be added to the loop:  Mammoth Cave NP, Great Smokey Mountains NP, Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah NP, Washington DC, and finally Harpers Ferry NHP.  The grand tour would nicer if done early each year as the campgrounds open and allow the loop.


The first "discovery" along the trail was the original Washington Monument (which we never knew existed) and is located atop South Mountain in Maryland.  The sign picture gives details for the monument and the second picture shows the original Washington Monument.  Road access is available.








Another days hike south of the Washington monument reached Gathland which was orginally the estate of Civil War correspondent George Alfred Townsend.  Townsend built the war correspondents memorial and was a prolific publisher with over 5,000,000 words published on a variety of subjects (an astonishing achievement before the internet).  Road access is available.




Two days hiking south of Gathland and the AT reaches Harpers Ferry after following the C&O canal NP for a few miles and the next four pictures are AT views in hiking order, north to south.  Harpers Ferry felt like walking in history since George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, John Brown, Robert E. Lee and others made history here.  The AT crosses several Civil war battle fields in this section which are not pictured.


The train and Amtrak tunnel at the north end of Harpers Ferry:




John Brown's last stand at Harpers Ferry before being captured by Robert E. Lee and considered the spark leading to the Civil War:





Street view of Harpers Ferry NHP:




The AT crosses a bridge over the Shenandoah River on the south side of Harpers Ferry:




After hiking a AT section north-to-south past Harpers Ferry we switched to hiking south-to-north into Pennsylvania and passed several iron furnaces like the one pictured here in Boiling Springs, PA. The Maryland and Pennsylvania AT region was a major iron producing center in the early years of our republic and we have visited many furnaces. 




Over the years, we have accidentally visited the "halfway point" of the AT more than once while hiking.  The first picture is from 2014.




This is the current AT halfway point.




The original halfway monument from 1933 is shown here:



Edited by iowahiker, 11 May 2019 - 12:23 AM.

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#2 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 11 May 2019 - 08:18 AM

Thanks for the nice trip.

Being a "easterner" grew up in the Phila area enjoyed a lot of the history of our early


That's a great way to hike the trail especially for us old people.


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#3 firemen7


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Posted 12 May 2019 - 05:32 AM

Thank you for sharing this.
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#4 EM4


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Posted 12 May 2019 - 01:36 PM

Interesting information and excellent shots. Being a Canadian living in the US its always great to read and see from the ground roots side. Thx Iowahiker.

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#5 ski3pin


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Posted 12 May 2019 - 04:32 PM

I greatly enjoyed your story and photos. Thank you for taking the time to share with all of us. You had an incredible walk through history. We hope someday to explore that area as my family - surname - arrived in what became Pennsylvania in 1662. Sons built the first roads in Pennsylvania and descendants took part in the Cresap Border War that led to the Mason Dixon Line. You have brought that area and all the history into focus. Thank you and happy hiking! :)

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#6 iowahiker


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Posted 13 May 2019 - 07:04 PM

Thank You.  


A few more modest historical trail views:


A better view of the plaque on the Center Point Knob monument from the 1930's:




Old South Mountain Inn at Turners Gap which was closed when we hiked past.  The Inn has its roots in 1732 and seen a lot of history pass:




Dahlgren Chapel is also at Turners Gap across from the Inn and was built by the widow of Admiral Dahlgren in 1881, inventor of the Dahlgren Canon which was safer and more powerful the previous canon in it's class:





The Catholic Church above Harpers Ferry which the AT passes, built in 1833 and modified in 1896.  The second picture is a more "inspirational" view of the church.





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#7 smlobx


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Posted 20 May 2019 - 11:08 PM

You were at a few places we explored a couple of years ago. We need to go back and explore more...a lot of history.

Edit: Don’t know why the pictures loaded sideways but when you open them up they orient properly.

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Edited by smlobx, 20 May 2019 - 11:09 PM.

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