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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Between a highway and a wet place

One of the things I used to enjoy doing with my daughter while we were living in Taiwan was to go on walks in the local hills. Amber would huff and puff her way up the hillside trails, stopping to look at bugs and flowers and generally enjoying the great outdoors. Now I'm determined to replicate those experiences as much as possible in our new (albeit temporary) home. Last week we battled the thorny plants and sticky spider webs of the Patuxent River State Park in Maryland. This morning (Saturday), sans Mom who was attending a seminar introducing Washington, D.C. to foreign-born spouses, my little one and I took a stroll along the Potomac River across from Theodore Roosevelt Island and Georgetown.

Our reference guide for our excursion today was AMC's Best Day Hikes Near Washington, D.C., which Amber is holding while posing on the footbridge that crosses the Potomac from the Virginia side to Theodore Roosevelt Island:

We had already walked around the island a few weeks ago, so the only reason my daughter and I strolled over the bridge again was to make use of the restroom there before moving back to old Virginia. There was a nice view of the Key Bridge and Georgetown:

Back in Virginia, the two of us headed from the parking lot along the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail:

Amber pauses just before the Key Bridge:

Continuing on under and past the arches of the bridge, the Three Sisters soon came into view. The siblings are a group of stones protruding out of the Potomac River. Various forms of water transport were out and about on the river this morning:

At one point we found ourselves walking right next to the busy George Washington Parkway, but for the most part we were tromping through meadows and past trees. Soon after the Three Sisters, we reached the place where Sprout Run flows into the Potomac, at which point we turned around and started back to the car. But not before marking the spot with a picture:

With the exception of a few joggers, we had the trail to ourselves this morning:

The views looking toward Georgetown, especially as we got closer to the Key Bridge, were even better on the return leg. Perhaps one day we might rent a boat from the opposite side of the Potomac and do a different kind of circuit around Theodore Roosevelt Island:

The only disconcerting moment of our morning walk happened as we stopped for a break of granola bars and Gatorade under the Key Bridge. I went looking for a spot to take a bio break, only to discover a pair of hands moving in the bushes. For some very odd reason, someone was sitting cross-legged in an extremely dense area of foliage, and appeared to be eating something. Not wanting to urinate on a potential psychopath, I mumbled a quick apology and got my daughter and myself quickly back on the path toward the parking lot.

Amber had a great time this morning. Granted, this trail was an easy walk for a six year-old, but she kept herself busy picking up interesting rocks and quizzing me about the animal knowledge she's picked up from watching shows like Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go! and Wild Kratts. She even stopped to take pictures of berries:

There are some walks in the Best Day Hikes books that aren't suitable for small children (or exercise-averse spouses), and I will attempt those ones solo. But there are plenty of other hikes in Maryland, the District and Virginia that I look forward to doing my little girl in the weeks and months ahead (weather permitting). Whether or not we can persuade Mom to come along is a question that will probably have to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

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