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  • New photos uploaded
    • 01/09/2012
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  • Harpers Ferry
    • 01/09/2012
So after rushing around New England in a rental car and the hustle and bustle of new york, i looked at the youth hostels map of america for somewhere peacful.
Now unfortunately the youth hostelling map of America is quite sparse, but a place called Harper's Ferry caught my eye.
Kind of near to Washington DC, so not a terrible journey from NYC (although it ended up involving the usual dramas of running down platforms, and walking 2 miles in the dark to get to the hostel)
The town sits on the confluence of the Patomac and Shenandoah rivers, on the border of three states (Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia), and was a strategic battle ground in the civil war, and an industrial centre for a time due to the water milling capabilities.
Now its a ghost town, well a tourist town, pickled and preserved per 100 years ago, no local amenities, everyone closes up and goes home at 6pm.
However the town still has one significant function now - it houses the headquarters of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, responsible for coordinating the upkeep and promotion of the 2000 mile trail from Georgia to Maine. Harpers Ferry sits approx slap bang half way along the route.
The youth hostel is just off the trail, a couple of miles out of town, a pleasant walk beside the combined river (although very dark after sunset!)
And it's a great hostel, capturing the quintessential nature of hostels to provide a homely helpful refuge for weary outdoor type people.
I spent a couple of days, one hiking up a couple of hills, overlooking the town either side of the river. About 15 miles in all but lots of climb and a hot day!
The second day i went on a "white water" kayak trip in the afternoon. This turned out to be more of a relaxing scenic float downstream with the occasional bit of current, so almost disappointing but still a fun afternoon.
On my final morning i trudged the two miles back to the train station. Unfortunately it turned out that being a rural, fake town, there was no ticket office or machine here, and when the Amtrak train turned up they wouldn't let me on. GAY!
so i trudged back to the hostel. Luckily for me, a nice chap called Brian offered to drive me somewhere, which turned out to be the outskirts of DC.
Brian turned out to be not only a really nice chap, but a Pullitzer prize nominated photo-journalist, with a very interesting and unorthodoxly? inspiring track record, from short lived military action ended by shrapnel to reporting on war in Panama, moving onto meeting half of the Beatles and covering concerts for Springsteen and The Who.


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