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2012-05-19 - Pimmit Run Trail (Downstream)

~8+ miles @ ~15 min/mi

Today's trek begins at John Ferguson's home in McLean, where after a couple of rounds of Dominion (a card game), iPhone app discussion, and Kindle Fire demo, the pizza arrives and I take my leave. Two cans of Coke and handfuls of chips fuel me down neighborhood streets and into the Marie Butler Leven Preserve, a woodsy area near Kirby Rd in über-wealthy McLean Virginia. The maze of twisty little pathways among the trees confuse me, but after a couple of complete loops around the park I finally find my way out to Maddux Lane via a slightly-illegal trespass through a backyard and down a private driveway. The befuddlement continues when I try to follow my map, the official Fairfax Trails & Streams brochure. Another trespass gets me down to Little Pimmit Run but no path is visible. Bushwhacking to the stream and wading across the shallows yields wet socks but no enlightenment. So out through another private estate driveway I go, and then along streets lined with mini-mansions and graced with the names Oakdale, Hardwood, Balsam, Laburnum, Woodacre, and finally Ironwood. At the end of that road I scramble down a steep leaf-covered hill, through a field of wild pachysandra, and finally locate the proper trail again. Onwards downstream, through floody-muddy patches, over tree roots, around deadfalls, and across riprap placed to prevent erosion. A few walkers meet me along the way. Finally the trail takes me to terra cognita, when it passes under the George Washington Memorial Parkway and joins the Potomac Heritage Trail.http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Pimmit_Run_Trail_GW_Parkway_Bridge_graffiti_1.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Pimmit_Run_Trail_GW_Parkway_Bridge_graffiti_2.jpgI take photos of arty graffiti on the piers that hold up the bridge, then turn back. Going upstream the trail is easier to follow, and without misadventure or illegal trespassing I make it back through Marie Butler Leven Preserve. It's not quite two hours since I started and the map shows a further off-road trail extension toward the Potomac School, but at the end of Colleen Lane there's no obvious path to the stream. More bushwhacking gets me onto a faint track with deer hoof prints that suggest it may not be human-made. Half a mile or so later I give up, cut through another back yard — with fingers crossed that the owners aren't armed and trigger-happy — and take neighborhood streets back to John's house, where a soapy shower attempts to remove poison ivy oils from arms and legs.
The Garmin GPS trackfile estimates 8.44 miles; Runens on the iPhone is more generous with 8.71 miles. Included in that figure are a couple of miles wandering off the Pimmit Run Trail.http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Pimmit_Run_Trail_downstream.jpg

(cf. 2012-03-11 - Pimmit Run Trail (Upstream), ...) - ^z - 2012-06-03