Friday, January 09, 2009

A winter's day...

It was bright and sunny and in the low 30's today, so what better way to spend the day then hiking up to the old federal stone fort atop Maryland Heights with my four-legged buddy? we made it up to the fort proper in about an hour, only to find the area covered with ice that had formed on the trees during recent ice storms, then fallen to the ground when warmed by the sun, only to re-freeze there. Now the sun was starting to melt them again. It was beautiful, but it also made for some tricky walking. Just imagine dumping thousands of ice cubes on your floor then trying to walk on them after they'd melted just enough to be really slippery.Here's Lagniappe amidst the ice. It was literally a carpet--a slippery, treacherous carpet.

And there was plenty more ice where that came from, as you can see by looking at the trees. All of them were coated.
There's no ice or snow down there at the river level, or at the Lair for that matter, but there's sure plenty of it up here, a mere 2,000 feet above that river. Everything was coated. And I mean everything. It was on all of the rocks and steps that we had to climb to get up here. In fact, it was so slippery that I finally gave up on the loop trail and cut back down through the woods from the old 100-pounder battery site to the trail that we'd come up, which wasn't nearly as bad as the descent down towards the 30-pounder battery and the overlook trail below it promised to be. I'm generally not one to quit or pass up a challenge, but the reality of a slip and fall from some of those narrow and very icy trail spots onto the rocks below didn't seem worth it, especially as it was just Lagniappe and I up there and he's already demonstrated just how helpful he is in an emergency.

But as always, it was nice to get up and reflect on the work that went into building and manning these old fortifications, especially when you consider that every stone for building and every gallon of water for drinking had to be hauled op the side of this mountain from the river below, as did the massive cannon and every projectile for them.

And Lagniappe? Well as you can see, he's all set to man (or "dog") the breastworks and repel any attacking Confederates that try to come up.

Go git 'em, boy.

The only downside was when, after the hike, I took him into Harpers Ferry to stop by the Swiss Miss ice cream shop to see Sharon, the owner. Unfortunately she was not there and the place was closed. Well dogs do not understand "closed". All this one knew was that he was at his ice cream place and no one was opening the window to give him any. He scratched at the door then stood up and looked in the window but still no Sharon and no ice cream. Then he looked at me and whined.

Poor dog. I had to take him to 7-11 and buy him a beef jerky just to cheer him up.


  1. Sounds like a great way to spend
    the day.

  2. *snort* Somebody is spoiled! hehe.
    Looks like it would have been a great day for hiking..minus the snow and ice!

  3. He's really a handsome dog. The last picture is a good image of him.

  4. Wow- does that bring it all back. I loved the hike up to the Stone Fort- what an evocative place!

    Glad you were able to console Lagniappe with something good; as you properly note, "Closed" signs mean nothing to the canine mind. In like fashion, Nelson can't understand why we walk right past the shuttered DQ these days; all he knows is that's the place the nice girls give him a doggie sundae.

  5. AAWWW! He is such a precious boy!
    I love the bottom picture of him.
    So cute looking in the window of the ice cream shop.

  6. Your dog and guns bring a smile...Dogs and guns -can't do much better--- unless you add a horse or two...

  7. Sweet! I agree sounds like a great day!

    And oh what a handsome best friend you have!

  8. What a handsome dog!