A few months ago I joined the Antietam Historical Association on their tour to the site of Blue Mountain House up by Pen Mar Park. The event was run by Todd Andrew Dorsett, who is one of the most knowledgable guys on this area. I had a real blast and was glad to meet Todd. Our tour guides were two young lads, Brett Reichard and Jared Wagaman. And when I say young lads, I mean that they are in high school. I was thrilled to meet these two youngs guys who are both deep into the local history and have enthusiasm to match. It is exciting to see some new blood at these historic sites.
Brett has been following my Western Maryland Railroad posts and graciously offered to show me where the cascades are. E.M. Recher photographed this site back around 1880, and it has been on my list of sites to find. Brett said that since I showed him where Jack's Mountain Tunnel is, he wanted to reciprocate by showing me the Cascades.
Well, of course it snowed last night and we (Brett, Jared, Todd, and me) planned to meet at noon because the temperature was expected to be a balmy 25 degrees. We met at Pen Mar and drove over the mountain to Falls Creek near Fort Fitchie. On our way to the site we walked a short distance on the old Western Maryland Railroad track and saw not one, but two trains on the way. BTW, we even saw one ont the way back, and it was right in the old Pen Mar cut. It was quite a thrill.
On the way to the cascade, Brett and Jared showed us some ruins of the old trolley bridge, which was very cool, but on the wrong side of Falls Creek to get to the Cascades. So for a few minutes we tried to cross over the creek, on rocks. Not a good idea. So, we walked thorugh the snow and brambles until we got to the train tracks and that is when the first two train passed us. I mean, Recher took those old photos because that spot was on the train line, but it is rare to see them running, and three in one day!
We made our way down to the creek and found the exact spot where Recher had his camera. It was a real thrill. Many of the rocks were exactly the same as they had been 135 years ago. Even cracks in the rocks were the same. I felt like Fraz.
Anyway, we took some images, and on our way out we heard a train coming up from Pen Mar. You have to understand that when the first train passed we were on the tracks but a ways from the cut. We bemoaned the fact that we did not have time to get to the cut and stand there while aa train went through it. So, when we heard a third train that would be coming through the cut, not for another minute, we looked at each other, nodded, and started for the cut. And there we stood as it went through the cut. It was awesome!