2007-05-19 - Rock Creek Recon

12+ miles @ ~13 min/mi

Delightful weather follows a cold front, with temps in the 50's and light breezes. At 7am I leave home and loop through Walter Reed Annex to take Rock Creek Trail southward, as usual a bit too fast (~11.5 pace). Meadowbrook Stables is hosting an equestrian show this weekend, so dozens of horses and their riders are getting ready to trot. At the DC border (cf. Rock Creek Trail Miles 0 to 4) a small herd of three trail runners with a golden retriever precede me onto the Western Ridge Trail. I walk the hills and lose sight of them after a few minutes. A puzzled hiker is studying her map [1] and I help her locate the side trail she's seeking. Then to my surprise near Bingham Dr. and Oregon Ave. I catch up with trio + dog, paused to chat and catch their breath. They blast on and I plod, pausing to refill a water bottle from a tap at the fenced-in gardens.

After ~2+ miles on the WRT I reach Military Road near the ruins of Fort DeRussy [2], traveling the last bit via bike path rather than the official WRT since I miss the green blazes near the Park Police Stables. From there it's only ~0.7 miles east to Beach Drive on the paved path parallel to Military Rd. The blue-blazed Valley Trail leads me ~3 miles north to Boundary Bridge where my Rock Creek Park expedition began. Total Western Ridge Trail + Valley Trail + Military Rd. loop distance is thus ~6 miles, over gentle but interesting terrain. The horse show at Meadowbrook is now in full swing, with dozens of kids perched on ponies and scores of parents proudly watching. At home, after cooldown and a change of clothes I reward myself with a bowl of hot and sour soup.