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2011-12-04 - Rock Creek Park with Clair

~3.5 miles @ ~13 min/mi

To avoid the shame of arriving late like last time (2011-10-16 - Beach Drive with Clair and Sophie) I'm half an hour early at the parking lot (Broad Branch and Beach Dr) in Rock Creek Park. Clair is on her way, so I scout out a segment of the Teddy Roosevelt side trail and decide it's too steep and slippery for us. Clair has done trails in the western USA but not in the east, so today's excursion is a get-to-know-you intro to autumn-leaf-covered roots and rocks for her. We climb the Western Ridge Trail and pass a couple of equitation rings, following the route that Caren Jew and I did on 2011-09-25 - Western Ridge Trail and Beach Drive and that I tried solo on 2011-11-13 - Rock Creek Park - Valley Trail and Western Ridge Trail. I remember belatedly to turn the GPS on, so we're missing the first half-mile or so of data. Clair leads and shows great talent for blaze-spotting. We debate the color of paint used on the trees: I call it "teal" but Clair prefers "sea foam".

At Military Rd we leave the Western Ridge and turn east along the horse trail — and to my great surprise immediately have to step aside for an actual horse and rider who are approaching, the first and only ones I've ever seen there. It's a lovely horse wearing a lavender blanket. After a pause to survey Fort deRussy we descend the steep hill to Rock Creek and cross back under Military Rd to Beach Dr. A 5k race is underway, but all we see are walkers. After joining the Valley Trail for half a mile or so we've had enough hiking on non-runnable terrain, so we scramble down to Beach Dr. Clair wants to stretch her legs, so we blast along at ~7 min/mi pace for almost a mile back to our cars. Finally I get warm enough to take off the windbreaker!

(cf. GPS trackfile, ...) - ^z - 2011-12-15