Rock Creek flows from near the northern corner of the District of Columbia south to join the Potomac River not far from the Kennedy Center. Good hiking, biking, horse-riding, and running paths web the park that envelops the creek. The park is also home to a startling amount of animal life, refugees hiding in the middle of the city. Earlier this week I passed near three deer --- two does and a young four-point buck --- while jogging home along the Western Ridge Trail (or, should I say more accurately, Western Ridge Trial; its steep hills make it quite an ordeal in my current out-of-shape condition).
Starting just north of the DC line, a lovely 13 miles of well-groomed paths snake along Rock Creek. They hook around soccer and baseball fields, tennis and basketball courts, horse stables, and open meadows. They run almost through back yards in residential neighborhoods, cut across parking lots, cross busy streets, and parallel the Capital Beltway, a ring road around town. And the trails curve through deep, quiet woods --- perfect areas for meditation.
As a bonus, mileposts along Rock Creek Trail make great landmarks to add to a geeky CoordinateCollection. Beginning with Mile Zero, here are the latitudes and longitudes that I've found using my little GPS during various excursions.
|0||38:59:10||77:03:14||Maryland border; Beach Drive end of Western Ridge Trail|
|1||38:59:25||77:03:38||by Meadowbrook Stables, south of East-West Highway|
|2||39:00:18||77:03:44||woods near side path to Audubon Society|
|3||39:00:35||77:04:04||just outside Beltway; small hills|
|4||39:00:28||77:04:54||close to Connecticut Avenue crossing|
|5||39:00:56||77:05:43||near another Beach Drive crossing and footbridge|
|6||39:01:30||77:05:40||more hills in the woods|
|7||39:02:04||77:05:01||Ken Gar Palisades park|
|8||39:02:45||77:05:16||Dewey Park, south of Randolph Road|
|9||39:03:26||77:05:38||dense forest, hills|
|10||39:03:59||77:06:07||approaching Parklawn Memorial Park|
|11||39:04:40||77:06:25||Aspen Hill Park, north of Viers Mill Road|
|12||39:05:25||77:06:50||south of Baltimore Road|
|13||39:06:08||77:07:16||hills before Avery Road crossing|
(All latitudes are North, all longitudes are West; datum is WGS84. Note that this table may contain errors, both typographic and due to satellite signal problems.)
Much of the "Marathon in the Parks" route follows Rock Creek Trail, but its mile count increases in the opposite direction (see CoordinateCollection, 19 May 2002). A small memorial glade for Sue Stottmeister is not far from mile 11 above (see SueWenRun, 29 May 2002).