Harpers Ferry Zero – 13 June

Though Harpers Ferry is steeped in history, it is a tiny town and possibly the best place to force Team Holmes to rest their feet, as you can only walk that much in such a small place (we did only 16 000 steps for the day 😀)

We woke up at 2am (normal for us when in a soft bed in town), had coffee in our room at 4am, had a long wait till the first “coffee shop type” place opened at 6, had coffee and pastries, hanged around untill 9 when we walked up to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) headquarters (I blogged about having our picture taken already) – about a km from where we stayed last night.

As we set off to go to the headquarters a fully kitted out Jarryd came out of his room, ready to hit the trail YEAH!

A really good story the one staff member at the ATC there told us: One day a few months ago a not-too-young woman (who seemed to be in good shape) walked in and chatted to them, trying to find out as much as she could about the thru-hike, as she was considering doing it. So the person telling us the story (who was the one chatting to her) said to her “you must be quite adventurous to consider this”. After she left he saw her purse got left behind. Going through it to get her detail to let her know he had it, he saw she is an ASTRONAUT! He obviously felt like an idiot, telling an astronaut she is adventurous because she wanted to do a little hike – he subsequently found out she has been in space 4 times. She is apparently on the trail – we haven’t met her yet (Or maybe we did without realising it, people seldom talk about their careers/jobs/professions).

After having done the admin at the ATC we walked back, had an early lunch (we have been struggling with hikers hunger for the last few days – got soft in Shenandoah where we ate such a lot that Trevor gained back 2kg) and then did some sight seeing and museum tours.

Harpers Ferry has always been important due to its strategic position (confluence of Potomac and Shenandoah rivers).

It is probably most famous for the John Brown incident: John Brown, opposing slavery, lead a raid on the Federal armory in Harpers Ferry, in order to seize weapons to be used in his fight to set slaves free. He was captured, convicted of treason, and hanged. This is where it started:

There are some beautiful 19th century buildings here, including where we are staying (built in 1820) and a lovely old Catholic Church:

Later in the afternoon we walked 1.3km to The Barn, a pub with live music. While we sat chatting at a table the guys from the ATC (most of them retired men volunteering) arrived one by one. The first one to arrive recognised us and came to sit with us and as the others arrived they joined us. We ended up as a group of 6 or 7. Each one of them have hiked the trail and they were ALL interesting characters. Glen (born in South Africa to an Afrikaans mom and Canadian dad, but the mom just went back to SA for the birth) have met the organiser of the Berkley Marathon!!! His wife provided one of the books used at check points. (For those of you not knowing what I am talking about, if you have Netflix find it and watch it!!!)

We will be setting off at 6am tomorrow to get to Washington DC, we plan to take the commuter train. I’m.looking forward to this very much!

We were not sure how we were going to make our way from DC to where the consert is being held (about 40km away) but Glen says he lives halfway between DC and Columbia and will pick us up at the Metro station closest to his house and take us through – again we are the recipients of unbelievable and unexpected but generous offers of help!

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