Sunday, July 3, 2016

Civil War, Fort Marcy on the Potomac, yet Lost

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Well today is actually Feb 12 and I'm spending a lazy rainy drizzly comfy cozy afternoon catching up on long overdue stay-cation posts. I love traveling and winter seems to be the off season. I'm glad to be reliving memories, working through my pile of notes and putting everything together here on the blog. So yes, I'm finally caught up to July...and will put this on autopilot posting. You should see this later in the week.

When I asked the family where we should visit on 4th of July weekend, we decided to go hiking Civil War style off the George Washington Parkway.  We had recently driven down this road many times (to Arlington Cemetery for Memorial Day weekend) and had seen the sign for Fort Marcy. After doing a bit of research on-line, we decided this would be the place to try. However the day was fraught with error. We had to laugh. Perhaps you will too!

We enjoy picnic lunches so I looked on-line for picnic facilities but couldn't find anything for this location. I found very little helpful information, actually, so we ate a quick lunch at home after church, then drove out to the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

The intrigue of this location conjured images in my mind of cannons overlooking the Potomac. Then when I read that the Chain Bridge was involved, I imagined chains on the bridge. Thus these images were uppermost in my mind on our hike. 😉

After parking the car we scoped out the information board. I also made sure to take pictures to reference later, in case we get lost.😉

We have visited many Civil War sites in Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. Now we were going to add to our list the defense of Washington DC. If you can tell from the photo, there was an incredible cannon (like we've seen at Fort McHenry) overlooking the river valley. We'll get to see the remnants of that too, right? 😉


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Here is a close up of all the forts in Virginia and Maryland that surrounded Washington DC in its defense. A regular sight seeing trip could be built just from that. Some locations have been built up with modern buildings. However Fort Marcy was a park, so I was excited by all that I was going to see. Especially note the proximity of the Potomac. 😉

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And to get our bearings, there is our trail. My husband insisted we go right, but we decided to go left to encircle the fort. 😉

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We saw a lot of things on our trail...

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Um...I was expecting a bit more water than that...

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Oddly, we also heard a lot of traffic. The guys labored to find the trail marker and when the did they led us to....

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Finally we resumed our trail through the woods.

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And more roadway! We've never seen so much roadway on a hiking trail before! Where in the world was the Potomac?

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Love these stone walls along the George Washington  Memorial Parkway. After moments of walking in the woods we'd to find ourselves along the parkway again. Well, okay...at least I'm finally standing on the parkway, like I've always wanted to do to actually take pictures!

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Great rock! I also took a picture of the sparkly ground, but it wasn't noticeable in the photo.

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Finally, peace and quiet. Solitude! Water!

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Could that be...?

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...the Potomac? Yes! Whew! That was a long walk just to find the Potomac! 

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This was the loveliest part of  the entire hike. Loved hiking along the Potomac at long last! (which was parallel to this creek)

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We met a few couples along the trail and from them we learned we were *miles* away from Fort Marcy. Something like 5 miles away. Instead of walking around it we were walking away from it. Well, we suspected that but lost all other trail markers. We made a u-turn around here...

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Interesting foliation on this rock!

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Now...to our credit, we've done lots of hiking over the years but never have we gotten this lost before. I feel a bit validated now that I found this website which explains how easy it is to get lost. Thus, I contend that the markers are not well placed because it was quite a hunt to find them and figure everything out.

After all, check out these markers. It looks like paint samples on a wall. (I think they like that yellow paint color the most!) 😉

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One of the signs we found after walking a few miles back to where we started...

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...and finally we are back to where we started...

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...and the right turn  finds the park immediately, as my husband suggested. However the left turn takes you all around the park to see the old dry moat of the fort. We wanted to hike around the fort, not just take a 5 minute stroll at one corner of the fort. However it is just too easy to veer off the trail around the park and end up "in Pennsylvania" (according to the previously linked website). 😉

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So here we are but there is no view of the Chain Bridge, which in the old days was indeed made with chains. In 1808 it was built as a chain suspension bridge. Nor was there any view of the Potomac. Just trees. The forest has grown quite a bit since the days of the Civil War. At least it's all quite pretty!

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All of this was a simple 5 minute stroll around the park.

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Oh...and we discovered a picnic table in a lovely secluded spot in the park. If only we knew because the website says nothing about this!

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Meanwhile we learned about a massive hiking system. I learned about Turkey Run Park that is the Potomac Gorge. (cool!) Keeping that in mind for a future adventure! And maybe we'll try this again, to hopefully actually encircle the fort!

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