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Monday, January 21, 2013

Walking through the wilds of D.C.

We're in the middle of a pretty momentous weekend. Not only is Monday a national holiday (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), it's also the day Barack Obama's second (public) inauguration ceremony will be held, with the traditional parade along Pennsylvania Avenue. This doesn't sit well with a certain reactionary relative of mine, who in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy has somehow deemed it appropriate to let the world know how small his penis, I mean how much he loves assault weapons by way of endlessly posting anti-Obama/Second Amendment-misinterpreting diatribes on Facebook. Dinosaurs don't die out quickly or quietly, unfortunately (though they do seem to have an inordinate amount of free time on their hands). 

The biggest thing happening tomorrow, though, is my daughter's seventh birthday. The plan is to open some presents, have some playmates over for lunch and eat some cake. Which means we have a good excuse to stay home tomorrow, and not fight the crowds and extra security that would come with a trip into D.C. Instead, Amber and I took the Metro into the District on this unseasonably beautiful winter day this morning to do some walking through parts of Washington's surprisingly natural settings. We didn't always go the way we intended, but we had a good time walking around the wilds of Georgetown.

Amber does some situps along the Rock Creek Trail. Behind her is the Connecticut Avenue Bridge.

Rock Creek is a surprisingly clear stream running through an equally surprisingly woodsy part of an otherwise densely populated urban area.

The last time we walked through Rock Creek Park, we encountered a couple of deer. No such luck this time, though there were plenty of birds about.

Amber shields her eyes from the sun in Dumbarton Oaks Park. It was here that we...OK, I took a wrong turn and took us off course.

We ended up on Massachusetts Avenue, where it was a long walk uphill to Wisconsin Avenue, where we could get our bearings. At least we got to pass by the British Embassy, with its prominent statue of Sir Winston Churchill standing out front, with one leg supposedly on American soil and the other on embassy grounds.

The unplanned detour did provide us with the opportunity to stop for a deliciously greasy lunch at Z-Burger on Wisconsin Avenue.

Back on track and suitably fortified and rested, we soon found ourselves at Holy Rood Cemetery. A pleasantly ramshackle burial ground with great views and many overturned and broken gravestones, the presence of damaged and empty tombs didn't seem to faze my daughter much.

Amber descends the steps down to 37th Street, where Whitehaven Park and the Glover-Archibald Trail awaited us.

At one point the trail passed under an abandoned train track, all that remains of a trolley that one took local residents to an amusement park.

The Key Bridge, spanning the Potomac River and linking Georgetown in Washington, D.C. with Rosslyn in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

A Georgetown hockey fan is obviously happy the NHL was able to salvage the remainder of its 2012-13 season.

The Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal passes through Georgetown. Amber and I walked along this very path back in early September last year.

There was much less water in the canal this time compared to four months ago. I don't know if this is usually the case in winter, or whether it has to do with drier conditions and warmer winters.

From Georgetown, the two of us started back along the Rock Creek Parkway, meaning to return to our starting point, the Woodley Park Zoo Metro Station. However, my little one's legs were starting to feel the effects from so much footwork. So when I recognized the Turkish Ambassador's Residence, and realized we weren't far from Dupont Circle, we went off course again, deliberately this time, to catch the subway back. Still, when taking our first detour into account, we probably exceeded the 6.9 miles (11.1 kilometers) the planned route was supposed to take. 

Giving the gift of exercise and fresh air to my daughter on her birthday - a good excuse not to buy her that scooter she's been asking for.

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