Anniversary at Antietam

Yesterday Carolyn and I celebrated our third anniversary by visiting a walking trail at Antietam, not too far from the Maryland/ West Virginia border.  Antietam has some of the most beautiful and peaceful natural scenery I’ve ever seen.  This is tragically ironic, considering it’s the scene of the single bloodiest day in American history.  On September 17, 1862, well over 20,000 men were killed in one day’s battle during the Civil War.  (The actual count varies, but the general consensus seems to settle the number around 23,000.)

So we had a great time enjoying a gorgeous nature trail, but it was definitely darkened by all the monuments and signs which are constant reminders of the carnage that took place there.  Having a vivid imagination didn’t help.

We started at the National Cemetery and wound our way through a trail that alternately crosses through woods, cornfields, and a stream, and comes out near Burnside Bridge.  It was awesome.

Unfortunately, after crossing Burnside Bridge, we missed our turn as we tried to follow the road back to where we parked.  The temperature was in the upper 90s and it was really humid.  The constant clouds of gnats didn’t help.  After much, much prayer and some help from a couple strangers, we finally made our way back to the car.  I really didn’t see this coming, considering how well we held up in the extreme heat of our overseas trip last summer.  But by the time we made it back to the car, we were thinking about nothing but AC and cold water.

If only we’d taken the camera…  Not only is the landscape so peaceful and beautiful, but we also saw a lot of wildlife.  There were countless groundhogs everywhere, and we startled quite a few deer who took off bounding through the high grasses and trees.

The trail was one we went on several years ago.  We went there to go hiking with a group of friends, back when we were “just friends” in the summer of 2000.  It was a very memorable day back then, and it made for a memorable experience yesterday, too.  It’d be great to go back again someday–when it’s thirty degrees cooler and we have a map and lots of water!

After getting cleaned up and coming back to life, we ate dinner at Cracker Barrel.  I know that’s not exactly an anniversary-style restaurant, but it’s a place we really enjoyed eating at when we lived in Tennessee, and it just seemed to fit the moment.  We actually had to go quite far just to find one!

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Published in: on June 20, 2007 at 8:42 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Antietam really is a one-of-a-kind place. As great as I’m sure it would have been to have a camera, you may not have enjoyed it as much from behind the lens. I can’t believe you didn’t mention this trip to me last weekend – I could’ve had a map for you!! Last December Sheila and I went to the annual candle illumination they have on the actual battlefield. They light a candle for every casualty, and it really hits home as you slowly drive through the park. Beautiful, but sad.

  2. Wow, that sounds like quite an experience. You up for going again this December?

    Yeah, lesson learned: ALWAYS take a map and MORE water than we think we’ll need! (Especially when it’s nearly a hundred degrees.)


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