The phone rang today. It was my plane, wanting to know why I haven't been out to take it up in a couple of weeks. and since it was a beautiful fall day, with all the leaves changing colors and not a cloud in the blue sky, how could I refuse?
I launched and flew west, skating over the mountain ridges west of the airport.
Once I had ten miles and a couple of ridgelines between me and the airport, I turned north and took in the sight of this nifty little lake.
There's a parking area and a boat launch at the north end, but damned if I could find the road leading to it due to the thick foliage around it. Trying to find something from the air around this part of West Virginia is like looking for traffic on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, only without the AAA. You know it's down there, you just can't see it.
But look what I did see: A fort! A whole freaking FORT!
From the MD DNR website:
The stone fort built in 1756 protected Maryland’s frontier settlers during the French and Indian War. Fort Frederick is unique because of its strong stone wall, large size, and roomy barracks. Fort Frederick also saw service during the American Revolution as a prison for British soldiers. For the next 131 years, the fort and surrounding lands were farmed. During the Civil War, Union troops were often stationed near the fort to guard the C & O Canal. In 1922, the State of Maryland acquired the fort. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, a company of the Civilian Conservation Corps restored the fort and began development of the state park. In 1975, the park reconstructed two soldier’s barracks inside the fort. These barracks are open seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day and on the weekends in the spring and fall. During those times, staff and volunteers dressed in 18th century clothing occupy the fort, demonstrating daily life in the 18th century.
And here's a random shot looking back west along the Potomac River.
Heading east along the river, I then stumbled across this place.
Next I flew down the Blue Ridge for a bit, following the Shenandoah River. On the other side of that ridge can be seen the Commonwealth of Virginia
Then it was back to the airport for a few touch-and-go practice landings. I put in four text-book landings, all without the slightest bounce, bang or squeal and no stall horn. Naturally, all of the CFIs at the FBO where the flight school is were gone for the day so no one saw those. There's never an audience when I've got my landings perfect, but on those occasions when I come in stupid, catch a gust or flare too high, drop like a rock and bounce down the runway like a drunken Kangaroo, that's when everyone who has ever worked at the airport for like the last ten years is going to be there watching. It never fails.
Still, a beautiful day and a flawless flight. Hard to beat that.