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Monday, March 18, 2013

Back in the saddle again (sort of)

At the urging of my seven year-old daughter, the two of us went out for a long walk this afternoon and all indications are that my left knee is fine. Granted, today's "hike" was hardly that - a 3.5 mile (5.6 kilometers) stroll on paved, level road around a man-made body of water called Lake Artemesia in College Park and Berwyn Heights, Maryland. Still, there were no problems with the knee, and the only discomfort I felt was in my hands each time I took my gloves off in the 40°F (4°C) weather. It'll be interesting to see what the MRI results will indicate tomorrow morning.

The beginning of the Northeast Branch trail took us past the runway of the College Park Airport. Established in 1909, Wilbur Wright (Orville's brother) trained military aviators there. It was also the site of the first controlled helicopter flight in 1924. For all that history, the airport was deathly quiet this afternoon, with not a single take-off or landing while we were in the area. The Metro Green Line and train tracks on the western side of Lake Artemesia, on the other hand, were constantly seeing use (Amber counted an 81-car freight train at one point).

Amber poses by the Northeast Branch. This creek runs south to eventually flow into Washington, D.C.'s other river, the Anacostia.

Animal tracks on the muddy banks of the Northeast Branch. I'm guessing that they of deer (top) and raccoons (bottom).

38-acre (15.4 hectares) Lake Artemesia was created in the mid-80's when Metrorail dredged sand and gravel from a smaller bass and goldfish farm (also called Lake Artemesia) to extend the Green Line roadbed, then transformed the excavated area into its present-day form.

The northernmost end of the lake, and the best spot for picture-taking, according to a passing park ranger.

Amber took this picture

A lot of birds could be seen this afternoon. Today's wildlife highlights: the above-mentioned animal tracks, and seeing a seagull pluck a small fish from the lake. Today's wildlife lowlight: coming across a rabbit that had been cleanly decapitated. So clean that it couldn't have been done by an animal, hence a somewhat disturbing find.

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