John's Adventures

Hello! I'm John Grayson and I hope you enjoy reading of my adventures as much as I enjoy participating in them. I am one of those technology professionals whose interests lie outside of technology. Instead of checking out techie stuff, I check out history, nature, sports, and alcohol. Have Fun!

Monday, October 18, 2004


Weekend at Yorktown

This weekend I travelled to Yorktown, Virginia for a living history weekend to celebrate the last major battle of the American Revolution. The event was held at the Yorktown Victory Center. This site is not part of the national historic park, but instead is operated by the State of Virginia.

Years ago I used to attend this event annually, but it's been in the neighborhood of 10 years since I had been to it. A lot has changed over the years. The camps have been moved, there are no merchants, the games on Sunday morning don't happen (the tug-of-war between the British and the Americans was always great fun), and we didn't have a battle/skirmish.

I like most of the changes. It looks better for the public to have the opposing camps in positions that can't be seen by the other camp. In this case there was a stand of trees between us that blocked the view. I also support dropping the battle/skirmish. The site is small. The numbers of troops make the battle look a bit rediculus. Instead of having a battle we drilled and had firing demonstrations. Most people are happy to see up close how a flint lock musket works and even if you don't aim at the British troops they like to see the flames and smoke.

This weekend Steve (regiments fifer) brought a barrel to help us sleep on Saturday night. The barrel was filled with a mixture of mead and cherry brandy. He called in mandeira. I've never heard of it before, but it tasted good and those who spent the night enjoyed it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Washington Monument State Park

This past Sunday (October 3, 2004) I got my lazy self out for a hike. I did a little searching around and found a trail that exits Greenbrier State Park in western Maryland and itersects with the Appalachian Trail. Did some more looking around the Internet and found that only 3 miles south along the AT is the oldest monument built to honor the life of George Washington. This is of course within the boundaries of Washington Monument State Park.

Well off I went! I arrived at the Visitor's Center in Greenbier State Park early in the afternoon and started off. I used the Bartman Hill Trail to reach the AT. This trail is new enough that some park maps don't even include it. Most of the way the trail is easy to follow, but at times it needed more blazing because it hasn't been used enough yet to be recognizable as a trail through the woods. Anyway, it more or less goes straight up hill and doesn't waste much time with turns. The terrain is fairly rough too with many rocks and some bolder fields to keep you occupied. It is well marked at the AT though so it wasn't hard to find on my way back.

The AT portion of the hike was relaxing. The AT follows a ridgeline with some ups and downs but it never really gets steep. After a while I arrived at the Washington Monument and looked around the monument area only. It was fairly crowded at the monument so I have to assume the walk from the parking lot to the monument (sits on top of a hill) is not long.

After a few minutes with the crowd I decided it was time to go. I was somewhat disgusted with a group of bird watchers at the top of the monument. I don't mind that they were watching birds, in fact they focused on carnivorous birds and that alone is cool, but they needed to remove themselves from the top of the tower. You can climb the stairs to the top for a better view of the surrounding area, but there isn't much room at the top and when you get there to find several birdwatcher complete with binoculars, cameras, telescopes, and tripods there isn't much room for you to stand there.

Another nice walk through the woods with nobody to bother me. Even passed some nice people along the way.


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