Friday, April 08, 2011

Hoof it to Ft. Foote

Today The Washington Post’s Weekend Section featured A Tour of Civil War Washington. Great stuff, including Lincoln’s Summer home and a fort (now surrounded by apartments) which was the site of the Civil War’s only battle within DC, but Father Goof would like to add a stop.

A few winters ago I needed to take the kids somewhere. A few months before I had taken GoofBoy to Ft. McHenry and GoofGirl wanted to see a fort too. She particularly wanted to see the “cannon-shooters.” I was willing to drive, since we were listening to one of the Harry Potter Books. So I thought I would take them down to Ft. Washington, an enormous fortification on the Potomac that guarded the nation’s capitol. However, I couldn’t find it – I have an extraordinarily bad sense of direction.

But I kept passing signs for Fort Foote. (I’d never heard of it) but finally I gave up on Fort Washington and went to Fort Foote. There was just a dirt parking lot and some woods. We walked around a bit and didn’t see much of anything (although the kids were pretty excited about brightly colored pebble they found – probably from an aquarium).

Then we found a path into the woods. There were some odd little hills. Then we found historic markers that explained that Ft. Foote was an earthwork so there were no massive stonewalls, just big piles of dirt. We started wandering around. We found some ruins of barracks, cannons, and spectacular views of the Potomac River.

I love our National Parks and will go on Ranger walk after Ranger walk (I’m the guy asking annoying questions!) As a visit to the website shows, this is not one of the gems of the system - no events, no talks, not reconstructions, not much of anything. But that made it awesome! I let GoofBoy take the lead, GoofGirl followed him and I took the rear (in case there were any Confederates infiltrating.) When we came to a creaking bridge – there was no one around to tell us not to climb on it.
We just run around, exploring and climbing onto and into.

Gettysburg it ain’t, but the site’s lack of importance and development of the site gave it its charm and made for a great day of exploration and adventure.

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