Comrade Ken Swab calls and wants to go running, so instead of drinking beer and eating popcorn all day I slip on my trail-slipper AeiShoes and power up the old GPS. Ken picks me up in his van and we park just outside of DC on Beach Drive to commence what was to be a short trail loop. (Remember the Gilligan's Island theme song? " ... a three hour tour ... a three hour tour ...") It actually wasn't bad at all, even though we get semi-lost because of construction work in Rock Creek Park along the Valley Trail and end up going about twice as far as originally planned.
We take the Western Ridge Trail across Wise Road and then turn eastward on a side path to Beach Drive, where we cross the Riley Spring bridge and join the Valley Trail. (Thus far this is the route that Deborah Mellman led me on in early 2003, on an icy morning when nobody else showed up for her MCRRC "Back of the Pack" trail jog.) Ken feels strong when we reach the Valley Trail and suggests that we turn south and do an extra mile or so. Lots of folks are out walking their dogs.
Construction signs and barrier fences force us to turn further to the east after the trail goes under Sherrill Drive, and we suddenly find ourselves on 16th Street NW near Whittier St. We scratch our respective heads and turn south again, figuring that there must be some way back to Rock Creek. At Joyce Rd. we re-enter the park but I mistakenly insist that we turn toward the golf course, thinking that we can't possibly be so far south as Military Road this soon. I'm wrong, of course --- clearly I need to get a better GPS with stored maps --- but after a digression to the clubhouse we get back onto Joyce and soon find ourselves near the central Park Police station. This is familiar terrain to me from many past journeys, so from here on we just follow Beach Drive the ~2.5 miles back to Ken's van.
I collect waypoints along the way, and now have the spreadsheets and templates to turn them into a customized Google map --- see http://zhurnaly.com/maps/Swab_Zimmermann_2oct05_map.html for the result. (And thanks, Ken, for getting me out of the house today!)