Monday, October 13, 2008

Mount Vernon Trail

On Saturday, my friend Debbie and I drove down to Mount Vernon and offloaded our bikes to cycle the Mount Vernon Trail. It was a beautiful day with bright sunshine and a slight breeze and after a false start when we had to dash back to the car and pump up our tires, we set off.

Along the whole route, the landscape changed constantly. One moment we were cycling along wooden boardwalks across marshy terrain and then we'd be on an open path with grass on one side and the Potomac on the other. Many people use this trail and we shared the path with other cyclists, walkers, joggers and skaters.

The new Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge is an amazing piece of architecture and I was awed to be able to get so close to it and see it from a different perspective from the drivers who course its surface. We cycled along side it and also underneath it where the sheer enormity of it forced me to stop and just stare.

About halfway along the trail, we wound our way through the streets of Alexandria that flanked the river. We stopped on seeing the van above offloading its cargo of noisy but friendly parrots. The keepers were setting up their stands on the sidewalk and letting people have their photos taken for a donation towards the care and training of these birds, most of whom had come from abusive backgrounds. They were gorgeous and I could've spent all afternoon with them, they were so attentive.

The small shops in Old Town Alexandria were all geared up for Halloween with windows and doorways decorated for the occasion. The guy above was on the side of the trail enjoying the sunshine with a coffee whilst catching up on some TV.

After leaving the hustle and bustle of Old Town, we were once more on the open path, this time heading towards Roslyn. We passed the Ronald Reagan Airport ,with low flying planes taking off, and the Navy and Marine Memorial with its gulls flying over the crest of a wave.

Cycling through Lady Bird Johnson Park and past Theodore Roosevelt Island, we then crossed the Potomac and ended up in Georgetown to stop for a well deserved lunch and a photo.

The canal passing through Georgetown is pictured above alongside Debbie and I with our bikes, ready to start on our way back.

On the way back, at Theodore Roosevelt Island we passed a lady on her bicycle pulling a trailer with three chihuahuas inside. They looked very pleased at being carted around and not having to lift a paw except in welcome!

Looking across the Potomac, you can see many of the landmarks in D.C. including the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Below is the Inner Harbor in Maryland with the Gaylord Hotel in the middle.

Peddling through Dyke Marsh Preserve, I noticed a woman crouching down in the undergrowth with a camera, and being nosey, I had to stop. We had a great chat about the garden spider which I'd photographed in the past but not seen as large as the ones I saw here. We both squatted side by side leaning forward with our cameras and Laura was actually brave enough to reach out and touch them. I took a photo of her taking a photo so the image would show how large these spiders were.

Debbie and I were very impressed with the thought that went into this trail. Along its course were water fountains and the photo below is of a water fountain especially for woofers. The bowl even has a pawprint in it. We also passed two trail wardens who walk along the paths offering help, water or first aid.

By the time we'd got back to the car, we'd cycled between 38-40 miles, but because the trail was so pretty and so easy to navigate, it seemed like much less. Only later did my sensitive posterior remind me of the time spent on a saddle!

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