Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. July 7, 2018 — The auspicious press room at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is just off the West Wing, constructed over what was once the inauspicious presidential swimming pool.
As life would have it, my favorite journalists swam in the deep end of that former pool, now known as the press room basement.
You could say this invisible nether region was reserved for the less pyrotechnic news broadcasters such as Bloomberg, the Voice of America, NPR and the like.
I wish I’d taken photos of these down-under denizens who were literally schmooshed into their phone booth-size working spaces.
Believe me, ya hadda be there to appreciate it, especially the irresistible treats they’d bring from home each day. I was soon food-conditioned and grazed almost daily. It was an irresistible trap of sorts. In return for treats, I’d respond to questions. Hope my answers were as good as the brownies.
After my time at the Executive Mansion expired, keeping in touch was precarious. This was the mid-1990s when the Yahoo search engine was revolutionary and long before social media.
Two decades passed. Then our friend Tina thought we should meet-up at a baseball game on July 4. Catching up, we realized some of us had in common a previously unknown love of nature.
Impulsively I offered to organize a hike and BOOM, there we were, three days later, munching (this time my homemade blueberry muffins) in a Harpers Ferry parking lot preparing to assault the Maryland Heights overlook. Maryland Heights Trail
The weather was unheard of for July in the mid-Atlantic region. Our 7 a.m. departure featured low humidity, a light breeze and a sweat-free temp of 60 F. Up we chugged, skidding to a stop at the featured overlook in well under an hour. We toured the 1862 civil war fortifications on the mountain top before finishing the 10 km loop before lunch time.
Along the way we took selfies like giddy teenagers.
With time to spare, we toured the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Visitor Center, then we stopped for burgers and beers in town before moseying down to John Brown’s fort.
After exploring the lower town and crossing the river over to the C&O Canal, we marched up to Jefferson’s Rock, then through the ancient cemetery and back to our initial rendezvous point where we hugged all around and agreed to hike again soon.
Upon reflection, I’m thinking food history might be repeating itself. I’ll keep baking blueberry muffins and other treats, as long as they keep coming.
To those from that era who weren’t there: We’ve got plenty of roster slots, lots of fresh hikes, and all the freshly baked muffins you can eat.