Thursday, January 23, 2014

Visit West Virginia: Harper's Ferry

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," offering free advice, and I pay you to take it! Send me an invoice after you visit Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.

There's not a single image on Google that begins to capture the beauty and majesty of Harper's Ferry. I've been around a little bit (not much, I must admit), and I have never seen a place more magnificent. Three states and two mighty rivers converge there, amidst roiling white water and sheer cliffs, with a quaint hysterical little town on the West Virginia side and pretty much rugged hiking/climbing on the others. I chose this modest photo as a teaser.

EXHIBIT A: HARPER'S FERRY FROM THE WEST VIRGINIA SIDE

My sister, who never left home, taunts me regularly with photos from one or the other clifftops of Harper's Ferry, usually accompanied by commentary on the local, abundant vulture population. Her husband popped the question on one of those cliffs. He knew what he was doing: No one could take in that vista and say no to anything.

My first job was in Harper's Ferry. I worked for the Park Service, as a visitors' guide in the general store exhibit. And here is that very store, by golly! But you can't smell it, which was the best part. We kept seasonal produce there, and a barrel of biscuits, and sides of cured ham, and coffee beans.


 My employment was part of a federal initiative called the Youth Conservation Corps, which was axed with great glee by Ronald Reagan a few years later.

Oh, happy summer so long ago, spent in blissful contemplation of the most stunning mountain scenery east of the Mississippi River! There is just. Literally. No describing this place. I'm not even going to try.

Harper's Ferry is about 50 miles west of Washington, DC. These days you park your car in a big lot outside the town and take a bus into the hysterical part. At first I was appalled to hear this, but when you visit and see how wonderful the town is without all the traffic congestion, it makes abundant sense. And of course, that's the easy, touristy way. You more rugged types can park at various places below the cliffs and hike your way around. Honestly, the climbs are steep as hell but not very time-consuming. When you get to the top, you are literally in the realm of the Sacred Thunderbird. You can look down upon them as they ride the thermals and bathe from the rocks in the rivers.

As for the rivers, they are, in no particular order, the Shenandoah and the Potomac.

I know my three readers, and you are all far away from Washington, DC. But if you ever do find yourself in that area, know this: Just 50 miles away is one of Gaia's utmost wonders. Go there. Remember the John Denver song, "Almost Heaven?" Ditch the "almost."

6 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Isn't Harper's Ferry where the abolitionist John Brown was killed?

Anne Johnson said...

It's where he took his stand. He was captured and hanged. That's the hysterical part of the area. There are plaques and such around the town. It was also much fought over during the Civil War. But the human history is dwarfed by the magnificence of the scenery.

JACKIESUE said...

it is beautiful..I went thru there when I worked for the book store..Virginia and West Virginia where breath taking.I want to go back.

Maebius said...

Wow, this brings back memories. We went camping here with the BoyScouts when I was a wee teen, and I will have to say that this trip stands out as one of the coolest places I'd camped. standing on the cliffs looking at the Two rivers merging really really is something to see. Especially if it just rained and one of the rivers is slightly more muddied than the other. Beautiful, gorgeous, profound view of "mingled waters" there (add depth and symbolic connotations to the term, as you feel comfortable here).


Yep, I would recommend visiting if you get the chance. Well worth your time, in terms of beauty/value. :D

Maebius said...

Wow, this brings back memories. We went camping here with the BoyScouts when I was a wee teen, and I will have to say that this trip stands out as one of the coolest places I'd camped. standing on the cliffs looking at the Two rivers merging really really is something to see. Especially if it just rained and one of the rivers is slightly more muddied than the other. Beautiful, gorgeous, profound view of "mingled waters" there (add depth and symbolic connotations to the term, as you feel comfortable here).


Yep, I would recommend visiting if you get the chance. Well worth your time, in terms of beauty/value. :D

Anonymous said...

My partner lived in the area for a while and has a rapturous rap about Appalachian spring.
--kim