Archive for category National Park

Getting lazy on the National Parks goal.

Re-discovered my 43 Things today. Fortunately I was able to cross a few things off my list! And there are a few that I really need to revise a bit. Backpacking around Australia is kind of out of the question now, although I’d love to go & visit for a few weeks. And while watching The Wizard of Oz while listening to Dark Side of the Moon is a great goal, I really need to just get that one over with and out of the way. (And another 43 Things user made this infinitely easier by revealing that already-synched videos are on YouTube. Fab0.)

The thing that inspired me to come back here was Visit All the National Parks. I’m doing this but very slow about writing. And since I just started reading a book about writing,* I’m inspired to get the parks I’ve already visited blogged and scrapped and out of the way. Have been working on a post about the trip to Assateague Island for a few weeks,  just not had the time to finalize!

So the new goal to do at least part of one trip report each week. Each trip report has 5 parts:

  1. First draft—handwrite on bus (until I get computer!!)
  2. First draft—type
  3. Revise first draft, tag
  4. Pick a few photos, post blog, update National Parks Quest page’
  5. Format & print out a copy for the National Park Passport.

Ok this is on!!! Going to finish all the parks I’ve visited by the end of the year!!! Will still have a bunch more to go but it’s a start.

* YES, I know that reading a book about writing is really just procrastinating from writing, but I’m not equipped to write on the bus exactly. See “Into the Woods with Computer and Coffee.” Working on it.


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Antietam, Memorial Day 2010

Last day of Get Out Philly’s Memorial Day Weekend Bash near Harpers Ferry. After rafting, hiking & campfire, on Monday we headed to Antietam for our American Citizen duty on Memorial Day. My third visit to a National Battlefield. Got my pin! Im always amazed at the dedication & thoroughness of the records kept and detail of these places. Plaques by every field with lists of battles and commanders, and where they went and who they fought and how they did it and who one. I suppose it’s good that someone remembers.

90 degrees at midday. Adrienne reminded us that as hot as we were, the soldiers during the Cvil War summers wore long sleeved woolen uniforms and had to march for days in the heat. I certainly couldn’t imagine it!

I walked with the dog around the back of the Visitor’s Center. Up a small rise to a battleground and the West Virginia Appalachian mountains and valleys were breathtaking. Antietam was the last battle of the War, and right afterward Robert E. Lee surrendered. Twenty-three thousand soldiers died. Sad to think that so many people killed each other under these beautiful mountains, in the name of freedom. War is still the same thing, death in the name of freedom, murder under glorious blue skies, destruction of national treasures. Not American maybe, but treasures to someone. I don’t quite understand it today either.

As we drove through the rolling hills on the tour, down to Burnsides’ Bridge where the Union held off the Confederates, past the standard monuments from each state, naming and honoring the dead, the song our guide taught us on the ghost tour last night about John Brown was echoing through my head, with the chorus “Glory, Glory Hallelujah….” Prayers for the soldiers past and present, thanks for your sacrifice.

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Fort McHenry, Independence Day 2007

National Parks Quest
Note: It’s Flag Day and I’m going over my National Park stuff and on a roll with blogging. Might as well write up this old trip report about a visit to the birthplace of the National Anthem!

Essence of Tampa & Hanover Medley (MP3 file; load it up before you start reading to get the full effect!

On a day trip to Baltimore with Get Out Philly; small but fun group. Had lunch and saw the Aquarium, then went over to see Fort McHenry on the other side of the Harbor.

As we walked up to the fort, we could hear drums echoing from behind the brick walls. As we came up the hill toward the fort, a fife & drum corps was playing a call to arms. The Corps marched out in time with the music and stayed in formation to finish the song as we walked in. With the sun sparkling on the Chesapeake Bay behind and the enormous flag catching plenty of air, it was probably one of the best Independence Day kickoffs I’ve ever had!

The history of the fort was actually pretty interesting. Built in 1802 and shaped like a star, most of the fort’s wartime action was during the War of 1812 and the Battle of Baltimore, on September 13-14, when British troops attacked the city but the troops in the Fort held them off all night long. Francis Scott Key was a prisoner on a British ship in the Harbor during the attack, and wrote a pretty famous song amid the bombardment of the fort during this battle. Fun fact: Key just wrote the lyrics, and the tune was based, somewhat, ironically, on an old British drinking song.

During the Civil War, Union troops occupied the Fort and members of the Maryland Legislature were held as prisoners to keep Maryland from seceding from the Union. They had fairly roomy cells along the outer wall, and we went in some of them. Nearly 7000 Confederate troops were also imprisoned at the fort.

By 1912 the fort was de-commissioned. During WWI, the grounds served as a field hospital, becoming a key surgical center for soldiers returning from battle. In 1939 it became a National Monument and Historic Shrine.
Flag & Cannons
The fort itself displays what life was life during the different periods in the Fort’s history. The music continued as we explored the outside of the Fort and popped in & out all the nooks & crannies. The sun sank a little lower and we watched a park Ranger take the flag down with the help of some Boy Scouts while the musicians played taps. Definitely a great experience. Photos and fancy museum displays are good, but the music took me back a few hundred years and really amped up the learning experience. Time to look up the words to that old drinking song before we head out to dinner at Fells Point!

Re-enactor photos from the Fort McHenry Guard]
Fort & Flag photos from the National Park Service,
Music from Yalesville Fife & Drum Corps

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