Last weekend was not only a long one (because of Veterans Day), but also about the last hurrah for autumn colors here in northern Virginia. To take advantage of the extra day our hiking group did three hikes over the weekend!
The first two, Burke Lake and Lake Accotink, were repeat hikes, but always nice to visit when the leaves are brilliant. Burke Lake, on Saturday, was a 4.7-mile hike, and certainly more appealing than when I last visited in March! Sunday’s visit to Lake Accotink was the first since last November, and the 5.2-mile hike yielded the same wonderful Autumn experience.
The most exciting event was reserved for Veterans Day itself, in a visit to Forts Foote and Washington, two scenic landmarks that once stood watch over the sea approaches to our Nation’s capital.
I wasn’t too sure how this two-location event would work out, especially since we started off carpooling from a third location, the King Street Metro Center in Alexandria. The answer was, swimmingly! The beautiful day and the hikers’ enthusiasm made everything easy. Fort Foote’s appeal is its two enormous 15-inch Rodman smoothbores, each 49,000 pounds, sitting incongruously in the woods. Glimpses of the Potomac through the trees along the riverbank hint at the field of fire they once commanded. A bit later, the high clouds in the skies over Fort Washington were beautiful! From the ramparts you can easily make out the Washington skyline to the north, and the landing at Mount Vernon is distantly in view to the south.
The 3.5- mile hike around Fort Washington’s grounds, along with exploration of the fort’s interior and the Fort Foote excursion, made for a 5-mile hike in total. A Google map of the two visits is here, with a hat tip to Fortwiki for many of the details. Click on the photo below to open a Flickr slideshow of photos in a new tab.