Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 97: Revolutionary War Explorations

June 12: Although I was in a hotel with the curtains closed, I still woke up at the crack of dawn. Trail habits die hard! Most of the morning I spent working, catching up with emails and messages, but eventually we had to check out. It was Friday now, and the cost of the hotel was about to skyrocket for the weekend. We needed to move to cheaper digs.

Our first stop for the day was at Fort Montgomery where fledgling American troops battled the British during the Revolutionary War. The fort was a short jump off the Appalachian Trail along the banks of the Hudson River, although I still had a number of miles to hike before I'd reach that point. With Amanda driving, though, I could see it early. =)

Most of the building that made up Fort Montgomery have long faded into ruins, but the foundations are still quite clear!

The battle isn't one I'm particularly familiar with. I don't remember learning about it in school, and George Washington never fought there so nobody probably cares about it. It probably didn't help that Americans soundly lost the battle as well. People don't tend to dwell on battles they've lost. However! The silver lining--if you really want one--is that although Americans did lose the battle, it delayed the British--who were heading up the Hudson River--they were delayed just enough so that they didn't arrive in time at Saratoga allowing Americans to win that battle which was a huge victory and is mentioned in history textbooks all over the country. Even in California where I grew up. =)

Anyhow, Amanda and I spent a couple of hours wandering around the old fort, reading all of the interpretive signs and watching the video at the visitor's center. It's all very well done and includes some nice views overlooking the Hudson River.

Then we stopped at a nearby deli for lunch where we bumped into Focus, a thru-hiker I met briefly a day or two earlier. We were definitely in thru-hiker country!

Ultimately, the closest hotel we could find that was within our price range was way down just over the border in New Jersey, so that's where we started driving.

Until we detoured, veering a short ways off our drive to hit the Stony Point Battlefield and Lighthouse. This was another Revolutionary War battle that I'd never heard of before, but this one was a resounding victory for the Americans. (Go America!) It was a short battle that relied on darkness and stealth to overwhelm British forces before they knew what hit them. George Washington even dropped by for a visit after the battle had already been won, but they decided that they couldn't hold Stony Point once the British came back with reinforcements and abandoned it almost immediately after winning the battle.

Which isn't to say that the battle was useless. American forces did capture a bunch of guns, cannons and ammunition, along with a bunch of prisoners of war that could be traded or otherwise taken out of action. But in the grand scheme of things, the battle didn't really amount to much which is why I probably never heard about it in my formative school years.

After spending another hour or so exploring this area, we jumped into the rental car and continued on to our Super 8 just over the border in New Jersey. We ate dinner at a nearby restaurant (named "Boom" if I remember correctly). The food was fine, but I was kind of put out by how loud the place was. What's wrong with a nice, quiet dinner? *shaking head*

And the rest of the night, I got back on my laptop and worked on stuff like this blog! =)

Amanda makes a new friend! =) This was taken during a brief stop at the Bear Mountain Inn--which is located ON the Appalachian Trail. Just a sneak peak of what I'll be hiking through later! =)

Flowering trees at Stony Point Battlefield and Lighthouse

The battle at Stony Point was more fascinating than the lighthouse, but it's known for the lighthouse too! Amanda walks by to get a great view down the Hudson River.

View down the Hudson River. New York City is out there on the horizon somewhere!

The entrance for Stony Point State Park.

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