My fake siblings Jon, Darren, Sarah, Yvonne, and I belatedly honored Veteran's Day with a trip to the Antietam battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD. On the bloodiest day of the Civil War in September 1862, 23,000 soldiers were killed, missing, or wounded. See my powerful reenactment of a dead Confederate soldier below:
Yes, dammit. I happen to be slightly obsessed with autumn. When I was living in California and Hawaii the turning of the leaves was easily the thing I missed most (just don't get me started on the things I now miss from those places).
Back to the event at hand: a wonderful hike of Old Rag at peak or close-to-peak foliage. Amazing weather and large crowds greeted us when we arrived at the trailhead at 9 AM. An hour later and we certainly would have had our patience tested on the trail. To clarify for those of you unfamiliar with the mountain: Old Rag's famous rock scramble to the summit is full of narrow and often difficult passages through the rock, which naturally creates bottlenecks when the crowds increase. Fortunately on the way up I had none of that, and hiking down again the same way (foolish foolish foolish, but Jon made me) we managed to wiggle our way down a weird alternate route through the worst of the bottlenecks. My thighs have been in pain ever since, but it was absolutely worth it. Perfect, perfect day. PS - for another write-up of the same trip (one could even say a better write-up), see Jon's account.
Last weekend I managed to finagle a day off work (a holiday, even - not "personal leave"), which I planned to spend hiking in the George Washington National Forest before heading over to Paris, VA where friends Jamie and Kevin had rented a PATC cabin for the weekend. Well, long story short, the hike was a bit of a bust, and on top of that, the guy I was caravaning with, John, somehow got his car stuck in a ditch and we were compelled to spend the next 2+ hours driving to Front Royal (for cell service), calling AAA and waiting for the tow truck, driving back to the GWNF, and finally towing that sucker out.
Fortunately John's car was undamaged by the whole fiasco. And we were still able to get to Paris early enough so that it was still light out for our rainy 2-mile hike along the AT to the cabin. Saturday was spent sleeping in, eating pancakes (I was the flipper), and hiking a roughly 10-mile loop of the AT in the Sky Meadows area. The day was just gorgeous and sunny, and the foliage was beautiful (see also the picture of my "rainbow tree" at the top of this post).
Sadly I had to leave that evening to get back to DC for the New Pornographers show, but I felt like I managed to make the most of the trip. And now I've realized that these PATC cabin/hiking weekends are pretty much the most fun and wonderful thing I do.