Disappointment

I’m kind of disappointed with the past weekend’s hikes. Plans almost always fall short of expectations during execution, and these were no exception. You just can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t, as this fellow I used to work with once commented.

Saturday morning was supposed to start with a bird watching nature hike in Dyke Marsh, hosted by a member of the Friends of Dyke Marsh, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving Dyke Marsh from being lost to the ever-changing course of the Potomac River. Unfortunately, despite the sunny 65-degree day, the host decided it was too muddy and declined to take the group bird watching, so I had to substitute a walk along the Mount Vernon Trail. A 5-mile hike was the result; probably a disappointment to those who signed up to see and learn about the birds that inhabit the marsh, rather than just getting some exercise.

Sunday I planned a 6.5 mile hike to Roosevelt Island, starting from Fort C.F. Smith park. The island is pleasant enough during the spring and summer, but during the winter it is drab, gray and brown. I’m not a big fan of Roosevelt Island anyway, because its small parking lot is almost always full. (That’s why we had to start at Fort C.F. Smith.) But to make things worse, both Fort C.F. Smith’s and Roosevelt Island’s Calvinfacilities were locked for the winter, despite website entries to the contrary. There was a single portable toilet at Roosevelt Island, which wasn’t of much use to a group of 50-odd people: you’d have to wait almost an hour for everyone to have a turn, and setting a shorter arbitrary time limit to wait would just make things worse for those who weren’t at the front of the line. Needless to say, one of the hikers just couldn’t resist taking me to task about this, as if there was something I could do about it. There’s always someone anxious to point out the hole in the donut.

Incidentally, the statue of Theodore Roosevelt on the island, with its archetypical demagogic pose, is amazingly similar to statues of a few other notable persons. I suppose that’s not too surprising: all of them appealed to the emotions of the masses and sometimes had to break eggs in order to make an omelet, as the saying goes.

I’ll be happier when spring finally arrives, and all the closed facilities reopen. Plans tend to work better when you have something to work with.

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2 Responses to Disappointment

  1. Jet Eliot says:

    The Dyke Marsh host sounds like a wimp…

    • John M says:

      She would rather we just go away: their principal interest isn’t birds, but lobbying Congress to fund restoration of the marsh to the area it occupied in 1937, at a taxpayer cost of up to $40 million. We’re trying again this Saturday with a different host from that bunch, but even if it goes off, I suspect we’ll hear more about lobbying than loons.

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