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A tradition continues

By Staff | Aug 29, 2014

The Pack Horse Ford river walk will once again mark the end of summer. On Sept 20, locals and visitors can join the parade of history enthusiasts as they make their way from Shepherd University’s McMurran Hall to the Potomac Rivers shores for the 11th year of this event.

Newly appointed organizer, Shepherdstown resident Dan Smith, will lead this years ford across the river.

Smith called the event a fun community activity for all ages.

“It’s just a fun thing to do,” he said.

Though its varied from year to year, this year’s walk will incorporate discussion of the Pack Horse Ford’s historical significance.

“The farmers, settlers, and the Indians used to cross cross at Pack Horse Ford,” Smith said.

Pack Horse Ford also sits approximately one mile outside of Shepherdstown and marks the location where General Robert E. Lees army made its famous retreat following the civil war battle at Antietam, just prior to the battle of Shepherdstown.

Smith said that as in years past the event will conclude with a community picnic for all whove participated, to be held at the Potomac River boat launch ramp on the Shepherdstown side.

Those interested in participating can contribute a dish to be dropped of a McMurran Hall prior to the walk.

Participants should bring water shoes, a large staff or stick for the trek and plastic bags to hold belongings.

As it’s his first year at the helm, Smith said he couldn’t be sure how many people to expect this year.

Fellow organizer David Springer said the group has hosted as many as 80 participants in the past.

“You can never predict,” he said.

Smith said planning is beginning early this year to gather all the necessary supplies including boats and other water crafts for the float back.

Those interested in participating or volunteering to help can contact Smith at 304-876-3523.

Smith said only bad weather and high water will cancel the event. A Sunday Sept. 21 rain date has been planned.

The three mile walk and wade, beginning at noon at McMurran Hall will take approximately two and half hours according to Springer.

Smith said the event is indicative Shepherdstown character and community.

“It’s uniquely our town, which is uniquely Americana.”