Tours, Trails & Group Rides

A Short Turn Around Valley Forge

I had a busy day, but managed to squeeze in a short run for Basil and me at Valley Forge, site of George Washington’s Revolutionary War encampment (and now a National Park).

Even in early spring, and in spite of the paths that now wind through, it’s possible to look over the land and recognize how bleak it much have been during the famous winter of 1777-1778.

The air was damp and the sky cloudy on this visit; this greenery just hinted at warmer weather to come.

This re-purposed train station no longer serves travellers — at least not those who would take a train directly to Valley Forge.

Some entity has put up a faux picket fence on the other side of the tracks. It’s also peculiarly short, and there’s still access to the river behind from either side.

I believe that these buildings date from Washington’s time, but many visitors would be surprised to learn that quite a few on this land don’t.

The asphalt path is new, though this building is not. This structure may have been a stable, but if I’m remembering correctly, it was a storehouse for supplies. (On these excursions, the cyclist in me  takes precedent over the would-be historian.)

Most of the cabins in the park are re-creations; the originals weren’t built for the ages, and did not survive.

It’s almost ludicrous to say that the accommodations were crude. That’s a very small fireplace in the back, across from a door that could not seal, and there are spare, uninviting, bunks lining both side walls.

There are half-a-dozen sleeping shelves to a side.

Lest anyone think that these cabins are a suitable size for human habitation, here’s a photo with my diminutive Brompton, Basil, to demonstrate the scale of these dwellings.  Basil’s handlebars come to just above my waist; I’m 5 feet, 2 inches (157.4 cm) tall.

There’s a split rail-fence next to this ridge of cabins. That’s a little unusual for this geographic area; split-rail fences exist, but if one encounters an old “fence”, it’s most likely a stone wall.  That may be because split-rail fences don’t endure as well, but stone was plentiful in the early days of settlement, and fields had to be cleared, which made rocks and boulders readily-available building stock.

Sometimes wars end, and the combatants even become allies.  Nearly 240 years later, these upstart colonies and their former British overlords are still getting along . . . and this US resident and her beautifully-built British bicycle are among the beneficiaries of that peace.