Besh Ba Gowah

6

October 11, 2017, Globe, AZ-

The Southwest is as abundant with remembrances of the past, as anywhere on Earth, and perhaps more than many places.  The various cultures and civilizations that came here, long before the Athapascans, the Comanches, the Utes, to say nothing of the Spanish and other Caucasians, will perhaps never be well understood.  I see, however, that in many ways, these distant ancestors of the Hopi, Zuni, Havasupai, Hualapai, Yavapai and Rio Grande Puebloans are mirrors of ourselves.  Visiting the Salado ruins at Besh Ba Gowah (Apache, for “Metal Camp”), I saw a carefully planned, apartment-based community, which relied on knowledge and cultivation of high desert plants, having drawn on the practices of the Huhugam and others who came here, well before the 11th and 12th Century heydays of the Salado people.

Here are a series of photos of the excavated and unexcavated ruins, the upper and lower gardens, of Besh Ba Gowah, lovingly restored and maintained by an appreciative City of Globe and its citizens.  I am not commenting on all of the individual photos, hoping that you may draw a sense of the vastness of this complex.

Entry to Excavated Ruins:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Excavated Ruins:


SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Unexcavated Ruins:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Arizona Gray Squirrel, a bit mottled by the dryness.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Upper Ethnbotanical Garden:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Lower Ethnobotanical Garden:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Look closely, and spot a smiley face:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Besh Ba Gowah, and Globe as a whole, are nicely placed between Flagstaff, Phoenix and Tucson, making this stunning area a natural place, in which to enjoy a Fall day or three.

NEXT:  The Further Glories of the Gila Wilderness

 

Arizona’s Miami

6

October 11, 2017, Globe, AZ-

This old copper-mining community, near and in competition with, a town called Miami (pronounced my-AM-uh), was, in times long gone, a gathering place for foragers and for farmers.

I spent a fair amount of time in each town, today.  Starting at a small chapel in a canyon called Bloody Tanks, where a former professor of mine was born, some eighty years ago, I noted the fervour of the copper miners of Miami.  This chapel, dedicated to St. Mary, has the full protection of the townspeople, regardless of their individual faiths.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bloody Tanks has an interesting tributary of the Gila River, which itself figures prominently in my planned stops of the next day or so.  It’s dry here, as the big river is, around these parts.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Miami was very quiet in midweek.  It seems the majority of the town’s business, these days, is conducted along Highway 60, which runs clear across the Southwest.  Miami’s downtown, what there is of it, is largely a series of antique shops.  It would be a nice place to rejuvenate, but I prefer to see that revival run by locals- as is happening in Superior and Globe, on either side of the Cobre Valley.

A revival sparked by the Apache spirit would be a fine one.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The “can-do” spirit of people like Manuel Mendoza also does this town proud.  There are many who have carried on, based on his example.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After looking around downtown, I took a ride along the hill to the south of town.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

From the south, one gets a good view of Miami’s extant copper mine,

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

as well as of ‘M” Mountain.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament is the town’s most prominent church, highly visible from the south ridge.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Miami’s hills will, no doubt, draw me for further exploration.  It was time, though, to head on over to Globe’s tribute to its indigenous past:  Besh Ba Gowah.

 

 

Vignettes, but No Pictures

8

October 11, 2017, Silver City-

I am intending to get to bed shortly, so as to wake up in time for a 2.5 hour drive to Gila Cliff Dwellings.  So, there will be no photos of Besh Ba Gowah or the Gila Wilderness, for a day or two.

I do want to mention a few people I have met, over the past two days.  There was a little girl, about 3, who expressed concern about the bandaid on my left facial cheek.  I have it to guard a sun blister that is slowly healing.  No explanation was needed, but her concern was priceless.  Another little girl greeted me this morning, as I went to my car for an item.  She was pleased that I was on vacation, like she was.

At the Slow Food Prescott meeting, last night, I was able to invite three couples to our upcoming observance of the Bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s Birth, on Oct. 22.  It takes a lot for me to offer invitations, and two of them were accepted graciously, with the third being rather hesitant, but taking it anyway.  More importantly, a Convergence event was announced at this meeting.  It will be held from November 10-12, which I can attend for at least two days- and with some negotiation and calendar tweeking, three days.  There will be an all-nighter, on the last night, ending at 8 AM, 11/13.  Work the next day, of course, will keep me from that part.

When I got to Superior, I had to bang on the window to get the resident manager’s attention- no doorbell, and the phone is in the office.  It took ten minutes, but I got in my reserved room.  Tonight, in Silver City, my initial room had a dead magnetic strip, and a broken faucet handle in the bathroom, so I got a different room and a discount on top of a discount.

At Tammy’s Cafe, in Buckhorn, NM, this evening, the grill was overloaded, so it took several of us close to 40 minutes to get our meals.  The staff, though, is incredibly energetic, attentive,  and gracious.  No one is idle.  The food was marvelous, worth the wait.

In the meantime, I had a lengthy conversation with a young ranch hand, named Jason, who gave me a wealth of information about Gila Cliff Dwellings, Casa Malpais (in Springerville, AZ) and various cliff dwellings on both private and county land, between Silver City and Springerville.  Tammy, the cafe owner and one of her waitresses were also full of information on the prehistoric remnants of the area.

It’s always a good day, when I feel open to connecting with new people.

 

 

What Would I Do In Portugal?

4

September 11, 2017, Phoenix-

What would I do, if I went to Portugal?

I’d sit on a hilltop,

in Braga,

and ponder what made

the Bishop of that city,

issue a screed against the Guarani,

who stood between his country

and control of the Rio de la Plata Basin.

I’d visit the Fish Markets,

in Lisboa,

Porto,

and Coimbra,

and listen to the banter

of people who rise early,

and bring Omega 3

to the masses.

I would stand

in the grandeur of Evora,

and reflect on the

temporary nature,

of all save God.

What would I do, if I found myself in Zanzibar?

I would pay my respects

at memorials to those

who freed the people

from servitude.

I would befriend the common folk,

be they Waswahili, Arab or Indian.

I would book passage on a dhow,

from Unguja to Pemba,

spend three days on each island,

saving Stone Town for last.

What would I do, if called to China?

Macao would be first,

because of the School of Nations.

I’d not visit the casinos,

being averse to monetary gambling.

Shanghai- the Bund is being overshadowed,

by those great Chinese structures

and systems,

which Pu Yi envisioned,

when he turned the country over,

to Sun Yat-sen.

I would gladly walk,

from the Great Wall’s fastness,

in Beijng,

to the field of the terracotta warriors,

in X’ian,

if the authorities were inclined

to let such a thing happen.

I would stand at the Potala,

inside the Forbidden City,

and within the Stone Forest,

as my spirit soared,

from the energy

extant in each.

What will I do, in my forest town,

over the next two years?

I will serve those

who only seek

to meet each day,

with wonder and a smile.

I will follow the promptings

of  my Creator,

which are not found,

only in carefully arranged stones,

or  in the pronouncements

of this body of personages

or of that Enlightened Soul.

I will use this time,

to inculcate

the spirit-set

of making each act

a holy act.

I will love.

The Hollow Brings Fullness

15

July 25, 2017, Mooreland, OK-

I have a penchant for finding lush canyons and small forests, in places that are mostly noted for being “featureless”.  Nowhere is featureless.  The scoured and glaciated plains of Kansas are punctuated by riparian arroyos, which offer a pleasant break for the distance traveler, as well as a hangout spot for local youth.  One such is The Hollow, in Sedan, about which, more in a bit.

I decided, after breakfast with my cousin, Lisa, to forego the Oklahoma Turnpike and take US 166 across southern Kansas.    My first stop was in Baxter Springs, which celebrates its tie to the Mother Road.  Another shutterbug, a young lady, was quietly taking in the even quieter scenes of downtown Baxter, as I checked out “66”.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I had miles to go, as yet, so I left Baxter Springs, after about twenty minutes, continuing on through bustling Coffeyville.  Sedan, though, called out to me, to take the right turn into town, where I spotted a sign for “The Hollow”.  This town is known for its “Yellow Brick Road”.  A couple of teen girls, very much owning downtown, at this mid-day, sauntered down the yellow bricks, not long after I took this shot.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Sedan also is notable for a museum dedicated to Emmett Kelly,  a famed circus clown of the 1930’s-60’s.  Emmett was a native of Sedan, so his statue stands in The Hollow Park.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Some elements of The Hollow are vintage Great Plains:  There is the old St. Charles school house.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There is also the requisite gazebo, but with a pointed twist.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I can sit in gazebos for hours, but this time, forty minutes for lunch and contemplation were enough.  I wanted to have a few minutes with the hollow itself.  An iron ring, extracted from the creek, when the junkyard, which once occupied this land, was being cleaned up, is interposed between school house and gazebo.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The garden area of The Hollow is marked by ruins of the junk yard office, of all things. The boardwalk leads through the garden, and down to the arroyo, which has a waterfall, in times of heavy rain.  There was no waterfall today, though.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This little spot reminded me of small crevices that I used to fancy my “caves”, when I was a little boy in Saugus.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here, the official trail ends, but I am willing to bet that there are plenty of kids who have made their way quite a bit further north, along the creek bed.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My Sedan visit was capped by a salad bar and sandwich lunch, at Seasons Rotisserie, a solid little place, with a handful of regulars, three of whom had just returned to Sedan, from several years elsewhere.  Two sisters, from Ohio and Pennsylvania, were on a road trip as an homage to their late father, who grew up in a small Kansas town.  They were visiting several such towns, in Kansas and Oklahoma.  I was glad to be able to tell them about The Hollow.

This part of Kansas is favourable with hunters, as is illustrated by this acrylic painting, on Seasons’ wall.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I later learned that there is a sizable property, Red Buffalo Ranch, that caters to outdoorsmen.   If you happen by Sedan, the ranch is, no doubt,  also worth a visit. I might check it out, one of these trips.

Arkansas City (pronounced the way it looks), saw me pass through, without so much as a by-your-leave. It was getting late, and  I was concerned about checking in with my friend, J.E., in Enid, OK.  He is hanging in there.  I also wanted to stop in at Da Vinci Coffee Shop, as the owners were such welcoming hosts, the last time I was there.  I needn’t have bothered.  The owners weren’t there, and the baristas were a bit surly and suspicious of me and my out-of-state car.  You never know who will greet you.

After several minutes talking with John, I headed further west, to Mooreland, which is just shy of the northwest Oklahoma cow town of Woodward.  Mooreland Motel and Cafe is run by a tough, but gracious, grandma, who proudly showed me pictures of her “babies” and said she was closing for the night, so she could go be with them, and I would be the last guest to check in.

I think I like Mooreland, quite a bit.

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Campgrounds

2

July 23-25, 2017, Sarcoxie, MO- 

My summer’s journey is winding down, with one last family visit, before I am back in the Southwest.  I chose Ferne Clyffe State Park, in southwest Illinois, for the night’s stay, after Paducah.  I could have stayed at a campground in Kentucky, but the urge for closing the gap won out, and I moved along, to the precincts of Dixie National Forest.  Ferne Clyffe’s fee collector was gone home, by the time I arrived, but other campers assured me he’d be there, bright and early, Monday morning.

I had a nice night, sleeping under the stars, with few insect problems.  This was the scene, as I waited for Chief Ranger to arrive, for my payment.

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I then got on the road, looking for a little cafe, at which I might grab some breakfast.  It turns out the the local farmers all eat at home, so the nearest spot was the Nu Diner, in Cairo- about twenty miles to the southwest.  I’ve been to Cairo, six years ago, and made a more extensive visit to the town, at the time.  Despite its location, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, Cairo is fading, and the mayor, popping into Nu Diner, to greet his constituents, had few words of encouragement, at this point in time.  He knows what everyone else knows:  Jobs aren’t coming back, anytime soon.  I like the little town, and hope that hydroelectric, or some new technology, can   keep it going.  Cairo is not in the middle of nowhere- Paducah and Sikeston are each a half-hour away, in opposite directions.  (The waitress at Nu Diner allowed as how she finds going to Paducah a headache.  I guess it’s all in how one looks at matters.  Then again, I was there on Sunday evening, so I can’t speak about workaday traffic.)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Speaking of Sikeston, the bustling little city, at the top of Missouri’s Boot Heel, has Lambert’s Cafe (Huge, but sorry, I’m still full from a Nu Diner breakfast) and Jerry James Melon Stand, with huge watermelons to be enjoyed.  I picked one up, for Cousin Lisa and her husband, Curt.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Driving across southern Missouri, I opted for state highways, and experienced a bit of what the locals are enduring, with ‘slow or no’ wireless fidelity, from Poplar Bluff to very near Springfield, nearly 200 miles.  This, to me, is a sign of things to come, should Net Neutrality be removed, and Internet Service Providers be allowed to charge extra for service that is now fairly standard, in much of the country.

I got into Sarcoxie, close to where Lisa and Curt live, around 4:30, catching a decent dinner at Hungry House, right off the freeway.  Then it was setting up camp at Beagle Bay Campground, on the other side of I-44.  The owner was a bit flinty-eyed, and looked at me with suspicion for a few minutes, before her husband came in and said I could use one of the “primitive” camp sites (as tent sites are known, in these parts).  There isn’t much primitive, about Beagle Bay.  There are showers, a game room and a stocked fishing pond.  I carefully set up camp, and repaired to the game room, to hook up my lap top and catch up on e-mail and other doings.

This morning (Tuesday), I checked out some of the campground’s features.  An old atrium has been preserved, just east of the main campground.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The family that camped next to me headed for the fish pond, early on, and I followed suit, though skirting their fishing stand, and taking in a few scenes of the pond itself.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I connected with Lisa, who expressed frustration at, TA-DA, her phone being out of order.  Now it was back in service, and we met at Hungry House for breakfast and catching-up on Boivin family happenings.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I like having family here and there, in various parts of the country, and it’ll be all the more enjoyable, over the next few years, as I head back and forth, in summer.  Then again, I’m hardly ever isolated, with a network of reliable friends.  So, I think I will see what southern Kansas has to offer, before dropping down to Enid, and looking in on an old friend.

NEXT:  Baxter Springs and Sedan

Wide Murals and A Long Market

8

July 23, 2017, Paducah, KY-

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This old river town, now also a regional hub for the Confluence- (people in Cairo, IL refer to Paducah as “town”), has two places that drew me back, all the way from last year, when I passed this way after dark, and ended up in Marion, IL.  The first is the Ohio Riverfront.  Middle America has done well, in making the most of its waterways, both the great rivers and the Great Lakes.  Retaining walls are accompanied by walkways and adorned by murals.  Public events, ever with music, are a given- especially in summer.  This is Paducah, named by William Clark, who gave the local Comanches the name Padoukas- a corruption of the Kaw term for them: Padoka.

The Ohio is joined by the Tennessee River, not far from here.    Then, as you may recall, the Ohio itself conjoins the Missisissippi, a few miles further west, at Cairo.  Thus, one might set sail in Huntsville, Alabama and make one’s way clear to Billings, Montana, or Wichita, Kansas, with clever navigation.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The preacher man was too busy singing, to introduce himself, but he is apparently a local fixture, as many of those in their lawn chairs said they’d be at his gospel festival, a few days into August.  He covered all the timeless classics, and got me to croak along, on a few of them.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The triptych mural, on Paducah’s floodwall, covers different aspects of the river’s heritage.  This one, of the riverboat, looks at a period of time that fascinated me, as a child.  The gamblers and the roustabouts of the early river communities were among my favourite characters, on shows like “Daniel Boone.”

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

River traffic made Paducah prosper, in the mid-Nineteenth Century, even into the beginnings of the Rail Era.  The solid buildings still maintain a bustling downtown.  Even on Sunday evening, when most everything was closed, I got a sense of the city’s vitality.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Every Midwestern town, it seems, has a gazebo, and Paducah is no exception.  This gazebo spawned its own park, and Garden Club.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Should I pass this way again, I would make certain to come when the long Market Hall is open.  Growing up with Boston’s Faneuil Hall, I am perfectly content spending hours in a public market.

Along Broadway Street are some ever-enticing abstract murals.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Lastly, this evening introduced me to St. Clair Court, the site of a three-story wooden hotel and theater, across from the Market.  It was destroyed by fire, in 1895.  Adjacent to it is this brick and mortar wonder.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

So, there is a taste of one of Kentucky’s interesting river towns.  Like any region, the Ohio Valley would offer a full experience to the discerning and curious traveler.  Alas, I must head westward, though through other interesting areas, to my own exhilarating Home Base.

NEXT:  A Tale of Two Campgrounds

The Ohio Knows

4

July 23, 2017, Jeffersonville, IN-

I stayed, last night, at an off-the-beaten-path inn, made all the more interesting by there having been an intense storm, which had caused a power outage.  Spanish Manor Inn lies on the eastern outskirts of a small Bluegrass Country town:  Olive Hill, itself a far exurb of Lexington.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The motel is run by a pastor’s wife.  The  pastor himself uses one of the buildings as a wedding chapel.  They graciously received me in their home-office, and explained I was fortunate to get the last available room.  Given the intensity of the storm, I scarcely blame them for putting up a no vacancy sign, as soon as I headed back down the hill to the rooms.  There was no Internet, of course, but I surely got a restful sleep, despite the booming and crashing outside.

I texted my nephew, who lives in the Louisville area, just across the Ohio River from the city.  It has been a game of schedule tag, up to now, for me to meet his wife and children.  Today, though, they had a few hours, so off I went towards Slugger Town, going through a bit more rain on the way.  I ditched the rain, around Shelbyville, stopping only to pick up some gift items for the young family.

I had no trouble finding their suburban home, and after an impromptu tour of the house, the five of us went to a pleasant Mexican restaurant- my second confirmation this month, that there are people in Indiana who do such cuisine right.  This takes care of the contention of several people, that there is no proper salsa in the Midwest.  We had it, aplenty.  Once back in the house, I joined my nephew, niece-in-law and grand niece, in the family room, to watch Aladdin, for the first time in twenty-five years, while grand-nephew took his nap.  Once it was time for life’s errands to resume, I bid thank you and farewell to the wakeful members of our family’s Indiana branch.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Ohio knows when to be gracious to a visitor.  This often overlooked sibling to the Father of Waters has been on my radar for a visit, for many years, and there was no time like this afternoon, at the Falls of the Ohio, a sometimes tempestuous section of river, shared by Louisville, on the south bank and Jeffersonville, on the north.  The Indiana side has an Interpretive Center, closed on Sunday.  The river itself, however, offers a wealth of walking trails and rocks on which to sit and meditate, or, as several were, fish.

The Ohio is not always accommodating, to put it mildly, and there is much deposited in the woodlands, on either bank, from Devonian and Silurian fossils, in the soil, to broken branches from the roiling storms of summer and winter, alike.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here are some scenes of the cataracts, which both draw people to the salubrious banks and make life difficult for those plying a trade, along the Ohio.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I chose this spot to sit and reflect on how nice the drive through Kentucky and southern Indiana had been.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Of course, the River answered, “Thank you”.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This is a surreal view of Louisville, hidden by a railroad bridge.  There is a sign, on I-65, that warns of a toll booth, but I saw no toll booth on either northbound or southbound, and there were no cameras, either.  Methinks the toll has been discontinued.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Lastly, before I headed south again, en route to Paducah, a wink to Lewis and Clark was in order.  This area was integral to the planning phase of their monumental exploration, and there was a family tie:  George Rogers Clark, who secured the then-Northwest Territory for our fledgling nation, was William Clark’s brother.  Clarksvillle, Jeffersonville,  New Albany, Corydon and Vincennes are all filled with historic sites, associated with the Clark family and the pioneers of the Ohio Valley.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My spirit guides were calling me westward, to Paducah, for a further appreciation of the Ohio River, just a few miles shy of its meeting with the mighty Mississippi, at Cairo, IL.  So, on went the Hyundai and I.

 

Fortresses and Myths

4

July 22, 2017, Lexington, VA-

I stopped, overnight, in a town I love:  Harrisonburg, home to James Madison University, to two young couples, who I love as if they were my own children, and to another young lady, whom I also love like a daughter, but who has become a bit estranged, over the past year or so.  I visited the former, at their establishment:  Artful Cafe (formerly known as Artful Dodger), in the heart of downtown H’burg.  Readers might remember this place from my 2016 excursion.  They were coasting, on Friday night, saving their energy to lovingly greet participants in the Shenandoah Pride Festival, which was today’s big event.  I stopped by, again this noon, on my way out of town, and purchased enough cold brew coffee to keep me happy, on the way to Lexington.  The definitely straight young husbands were bare-chested, in solidarity with the Pride group-who, ironically, had not a bare chested person among them.  Their wives sported rainbow bandanas, as their contribution.  Me?  I am very happy with my woman-loving self, and I accept other people’s sexuality, without casting the judgement that belongs to the Creator alone.

I spent about thirty minutes with my Lost Angel,

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

at another coffee shop, across town, near James Madison University (seen below).SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

J filled me in on her life, of the past two years and, more importantly, of her dreams for the next few.  She seemed a bit embarrassed to not have any great achievements to recount, but you know, just seeing her and knowing that she was essentially okay, was more than enough.  J, and the other four kids, are people who I just want to see happy, as I do with my son and his lovely girlfriend.

I headed south, on I-81, with Charleston, WV and beyond on my radar screen.  Then, I saw a sign for Stonewall Jackson House, as Lexington loomed ahead.  I know, “He betrayed our country!”.  There are those who beg to differ, so being an admirer of some OTHER aspects of his life, I left the highway and drove past the formidable fastness of Virginia Military Institute, where Stonewall was an instructor, prior to the cataclysm.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My interest in Thomas Jonathan Jackson, though,was not in his military exploits, but in his creativity and in his foresight.  His garden was decidedly Jeffersonian, incorporating many of the ideas put into practice at Monticello, including drip irrigation and organic crop rotation.  As you can see, he did make every square inch count for something.  The scarecrow was a “falcon”.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Stonewall also, to the consternation of Lexington’s other citizens, believed Black people should be literate, and taught his “house servants” to read the Bible.  I would not be surprised to learn that this action of his actually led to his being coerced to join the Confederate Army, whose cause, despite his ferocity in battle, he only tepidly supported.  He died at the hands of one of his own sentries, which could very well have not been an accident.  Saddest of all, his own sister, an Abolitionist, declared him “dead to her”, upon the secession of Virginia and his being recruited by Robert E. Lee, in 1861.

TJ was a man of culture, and did foresee the end of slavery, war or no war.  He believed in the universality of learning, and maintained a progressive home.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Satisfied that I had confirmed my suspicions about the decent side of Colonel Jackson, I headed west, across the Mountain State.  At a rest area, off I-64, east of Beckley, WV, I took a photo of the Blue Ridge, and found what looks like another being, inserting self into the view, gazing northward.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Being far from alone, then, I continued on, into more rain and made it to Olive Hill, KY, before stopping at Spanish Mansion Inn.  More about it, and the Ohio River, in my next post.

 

Vale of Three Mountains

2

July 21, 2017, Harpers Ferry- After experiencing the intensity and blood-echoes of Antietam, I headed the back way southward, through tourist-clogged Shepherdstown, to slightly less congested Charles Town, not to be confused with the West Virginia capital, Charleston, which lies a good 3 hours to the south.  There, I spent a restful night, on the outskirts of town.

This morning, after driving past the even more-overpopulated Harpers Ferry KOA, a mini-city, I opted to first take a ranger-guided tour of the approach to Lower Town.  Ranger Michael gave us a fully- detailed visit to what had been Storer College, an institution of higher learning, founded in 1865 and aimed at training African-American teachers.   The school closed in 1955. It is now part of Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, with a National Park Service Academy (Mather Training Center) and Lockwood House, a Union Army hospital and later headquarters for Gen. Philip Sheridan.  When Storer College was founded, Rev. Nathaniel Brackett made Lockwood House the administration building.  It is now a research facility for the National Park Service.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Behind Lockwood House lies Harpers Ferry Cemetery.  Michael led us through the burial ground, en route to Jefferson Rock.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Thomas Jefferson stood on this rock, in October, 1783, and was extremely impressed by the view.  From that point on, the rock has borne his name.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

St. Peter’s was not there, back then, but you get the idea.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We walked past the ruins of an Episcopal Church, which was there in 1783, before Michael bid us farewell, so he could conduct another tour.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I took the shuttle bus back to the upper parking lot, and drove back down, for further exploration of Lower Town.  I stopped, for about twenty minutes, at the headquarters of the Appalachian Mountain Club, this being the midpoint of the Appalachian Trail.  The staff and several through-hikers were encouraging of my pipe dreams of someday walking that venerable long path.

Here are a few scenes of the business district and Virginius Island. These are the ruins of Shenandoah Pulp Mill, built at Halls Island, by Thomas Savery, in 1887 and destroyed by the Great Flood of 1936.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Flood also put an end to a cotton mill, on Virginius Island.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

These days, Virginius is popular with swimmers, along the Shenandoah River and with the ubiquitous deer.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Thankfully, it is only accessible by footbridge.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I walked on down, to Lower Town, and gazed at the confluence of the Shenandoah, with the Potomac.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The small fire station, which once served as a “fort” for the abolitionist John Brown, faces the two rivers, at the edge of Lower Town.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I walked on, up Main Street, avoiding the temptation to buy trinkets.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The last stop, before heading out towards Harrisonburg, was The Coffee Mill, where the heat of afternoon called for a root beer float.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Harpers Ferry certainly had a hard time being hemmed in by two rivers and three mountains, during the strife of 1850-1865, but it has found a place in the hearts of grateful citizens, in this day.