dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
I spent part of this evening in a dark place where i could see stars in all their glory, but not the moon. I reveled in the awesomeness that is the night sky; the awesomeness that makes us feel small, that makes us feel isolated, that makes us feel alone, if yet enthralled by the wonder that surrounds us.

Peace to you, my friend.
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
The July hike along the Potomac is further postponed. Might you be able to joing my nephew and me for a gently 10 miles along Bull Run and the Occoquan this coming Saturday the 4, from Bull Run Park to Occoquan Regional Park?
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
As most of you know, VERY severe storms hit the Washington, DC region on Friday, 29 June 2012.

from the National Park Service:

Park Closures after Recent Severe Weather and Electricity/Water Outages

Turkey Run Park, Potomac Heritage Trail, Ft. Marcy, and Great Falls Park are closed on July 3, 2012 until further notice. Please use caution when using park trails or driving throughout the GWMP. We appreciate your patience as we repair the damage.


Due to this, the hike i was going to lead along the Potomac Heritage Trail on Saturday the 7th is postponed until the 1st or 2nd Saturday in August.
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
So, today, i went down to see the nephews -- aged 12 and 5, for the purpose of exploring in the woods between the neighborhood i grew up in and the local HS which my friends and sister attended, but i did not. Back in 1987 or 88, they built a fence around the school, which is located two blocks from Potomac Mills, but left a few pedestrian pass-throughs on the neighborhood side of the school, located a short distance away through some woods and to cross whichever branch of Neabsco Creek that runs from main run from between Birchdale and Ashdale, Birchdale and the HS, and somewhere upstream from there. Anyway...

We got to the school, i parked in the back of the lot, and found that the pedestrian pass-through, which in my day were used by large numbers of students (there are ~800-1000 students per class there) from Birchdale and part of Forestdale to walk to school instead of riding the bus. Of the four pedestrian cut-throughs in the fence, two had bars welded across them, one had a locked gate, and we found an open gate by wandering the grounds a bit. So, we were into the woods, if on the other side of the school from where we wanted to be.

Dry, slippery leaves, and we wended our un-pathed way toward the locked gate, from there further down the hill toward the run, across the run, and downstream a bit until i saw the familiar path from the back of Birchdale down to the creek. We went a bit more downstream from me to show elder nephew that the old wall he was seeing was a shed in someone's yard.

We went back upstream on the Birchdale side to the bath, then up the hill. We found a fence that trees had fallen on, went through, decided to go back out of that fence for fear of going forward and finding it converged with the other fence, and went up the hill, to discover still solid, if rusted, and missing some wood bits compared to 25 years ago
this along the disused path, as i had told him it existed. A bit worse for a quarter century of wear, but still solid. He now knows what a combine harvester is, and for what it is used, as well as how it attaches to a tractor.

Setting out, the younger one did not want to go with us, but we insisted and prevailed, despite reasonable-for-his-age delaying tactics. :) We had a nice two hours romping in the woods on a gloriously warm January day. Much fun was had. It was interesting to me to see the school from the tennis courts, which i knew existed, but had never seen. Entrances on the schools and libraries here are numbered from 1 to n, where 1 marks the main entrance, then the rest are numbered clockwise around the building. Gar-Field HS has at least 32, and i'm guessing 33, entrances, as i theorize the smoking bus tunnel entrance is number 33, but i did not walk through the tunnel to see.
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
Went for a hike along the Potomac Heritage Trail (PHT), specifically the 10-mile segment along the George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP)in Fairfax and Arlington Counties, Virgina, and the District of Columbia. I went with my friend Katherine and my nephew Jaden. [livejournal.com profile] tomhundleyrn was going to come, but he got in really late at night/early in the morning, and i could not rouse him any of the three times i tried. It turned out to be a good thing that he was not with us, about which more as we go along.

So, of the The Potomac Heritage Trail, we hiked the 10-mile portion from the Western trail head at the end of Live Oak Dr in Mclean, VA to the Eastern end at the parking lot for Roosevelt Island in Washington, DC. We waded in the Potomac, in Maryland at one point along the way. This bit of trail is maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. For reference, Chain Bridge is the approximate mid-point for our hike.

I picked up Jaden, hit Trader Joes for some drink and food, then met Katherine at her home in Arlington. From there, we drove in separate cars to Roosevelt Island, where i left mine, and we both got in her car, and we all went to Live Oak Dr and the trail head, which was clearly marked and easy to find. We got out of the car, applied insecticide and sunscreen, read the sign, which indicated 10 miles to Roosevelt Island, and Jaden led the way down the steep, long, winding, wooden staircase to the river. The time at start is about 1300 Eastern Daylight Time. (GMT-4)

The greenery was lush, as it is wont to be here in late August. The trail had light blue-to-slightly-greenish blazes, due to a lights blue having been painted over yellow. We walked along, through the pretty greenery, along the river for a ways. As we were going, i explained that there were toilets available at Turkey Run and probably Fort Marcy, and at the end, and we planned to stop at Turkey Run to eat.

This got long, so... Turkey Run and paw-paws )

Turkey Run to Fort Marcy )

On to VA 123 and Chain Bridge )

We walk on, past several bridges, each time telling Jaden, no that's not Chain Bridge, that's just a Parkway bridge. Chain Bridge crosses the Potomac. We finally reach the parking area next to Chain Bridge, and i point up, announcing "Look up. THAT's Chain Bridge, and give a brief history of bridges on this site. Sign there said we have 4.7 miles to go. Four point seven miles that start with a big hill, and a series of such hills yet again, but breathtaking views of Chain Bridge and the Palisades along the way. The trail eventually put us on concrete under a Parkway bridge. I think this was where Spout Run Parway hits the GWMP. Surprisingly steep under the bridge. Katherine and i took it in 3 segments, with short pauses along the way. We got up there, and it was levelish for a while before more steep downs and ups. Time now is about 1800 EDT (GMT-4).

This bit of the hike was accompanied by nice views of Sibley Memorial Hospital and the building at the Dalecarlia Reservoir in DC.

The home stretch ) In that last bit, we'd past a sign saying "Roosevelt Island 1.7 miles". As we went along, Jaden kept stating that we had to've gone that far. We kept countering that a mile is farther than he imagines, and this is harder than walking down a road. Heh.

We took Katherine back to her car, stopped at a 7-Eleven in Annandale and got more to drink, got carryout from Canton Cafe in Springfield, and ate it at Jaden's house a bit down 95 from there. Had thought of crashing at my sister's, but wanted my bed and some ibuprofen. :)

So, a long, long arduous hike. I'd like to do it again next July, knowing what we're getting into this time.

I also propose the Bull Run-Occoquan Trail for Saturday 10 September. I've done the the part from B to C on the map, which takes about 1.5 hours. I propose starting at A or B and going to D or E. Any takers? It's a MUCH easier trail than the PHT is. By far.

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dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
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