Where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers conflu, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia all meet at what was once an armory and a kick-off location for the Civil War. Harpers Ferry, just an hour train ride out of DC, is a 300 person town that is swarmed with passer-throughs who care enough about history to make their way to this random location to look at grassy roped-off lots that used to be battle fields, old churches and Civil War museums.
Minus the cars, folks with shirts wrapped around their waists and cameras, the town is still 1800s-like. Brick houses, general stores, cobble sidewalks.
Two shops with ice cream that has clearly been frozen and thawed several times before it makes it into your cone, and two coffee shops. Neither coffee shop offers anything but black coffee, despite cutesy wooden signs on the walls displaying “specialty coffee,” “expresso,” “latte.”
But we aren’t here to eat ice cream, or to explore the history of our Civil War. We are hear because it happens to be the town were the Amtrak stops. A place where we can escape from the city.
I’m the one who is supposed to be all adventurous, but it is Nick who comes up with the idea to ride the Amtrak out to the Appalachian trail to go camping for the weekend.
We don’t have a tent. I don’t even have a sweatshirt (like I didn’t bring one to D.C. — woops). The trip will be short because of the train schedule, but we go anyway.
“Do you realize that we just took a metro, rode a train, hiked a couple miles – just to sleep on the ground and then go home the next morning?” Nick muses.
When you put it that way it doesn’t make that much sense why I am so thrilled.
But take me our of the city, on a dirt rode along a river with a camera in my hand and I’m bound to be ridiculously happy. And Nick, he’s pretty cool too. He can’t compete with rivers and dirt roads, but he’s definitely a good addition to a camping trip.
I like the woods of West Virginia. They are super loud. So many owls. And what I’ve decided are cicadas, although I’m not sure. And stinging nettles, which I of course discover when I’m gathering firewood barefoot.
It’s almost dark when we get to our camp spot at Appalachian trail mile marker 62.2. So we start a fire and heat up cans of soup.
When we wake up we are completely surrounded by fog and it is raining on our faces. The expansive river is completely white.
We walk back to Harpers Ferry along this lovely little country road (I of course can’t get “Country Roads” out of my mind but it seemed way to cliche to mention), just holding hands talking.
I’ve been on plenty of romanic adventures.
It’s just they always include that moment when the boy and I look at each other and say “We seem like a couple.”
“They totally think we’re together.”
It has happened so many times that when Nick and I board the train I find myself thinking, ‘We would be such a cute couple.’
And then it’s like, ‘Oh wait, we are.’
Now when people look at us, sitting on the train, their assumptions are actually correct.
It’s kind of fun for a change.