This morning we went for a hike in Riverbend Park, on the south bank of the Potomac River in Northern Virginia. Our stated intent was to see if any Virginia bluebells had popped up, but also just to enjoy one of the few 70-degree spring-like days we’ve had so far this year.
The first leg of our route took us upstream along the Potomac Heritage Trail from the Visitor Center to Witch Hazel Bluff and back, about 1.6 miles round trip. After a short break we hiked downstream along the Potomac Heritage Trail into Great Falls National Park to visit the overlooks of the falls and return, about 3.9 miles round trip. The total hike was 5.4 miles and the trail was remarkably clear and dry, considering we had 4-8 inches of snow only 5 days ago!
Nope, no bluebells, but no one was very disappointed. Here and there some crocuses were just pushing out of the leaves and at one spot, a little patch of daffodils proudly proclaimed that Spring is on its way! Of course, the Great Falls overlooks are always worth the visit, and there were quite a few visitors despite the earliness of the season.
Sunday afternoon we’re doing a hike along Four Mile Run in Arlington, but the high temperature will be 25 degrees lower than Saturday’s, setting up things for another dose of snow this coming Tuesday. But not to worry – the other day a sharp-eyed blogger reported that the cherry trees are budding on the National Mall in Washington DC, so it’s time to start doing some daytime snooping around down there during the week. This year I plan to do several cherry blossom hikes at different times during the day, before and during the predicted peak bloom days on April 8-12.
After that it will be off to the races, because all the must-do Spring hikes are just waiting to be checked off, like Virginia bluebells at Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Center, azaleas at the National Arboretum, and roses at Bon-Air Memorial Rose Garden along Four Mile Run, just to name a few. That’s aside from some other out-of-the-way places like Conway Robinson Forest and the Blue Ridge Center that I haven’t had time to explore due to the messy weather. Looks like a wonderful Spring for hiking lies ahead!
PS: Say, I almost forgot to mention – something to consider when hiking at Riverbend or Great Falls parks is the lack of places to grab a bite of lunch afterwards. Great Falls itself is very small and mostly residential, so there’s not much there. Going a little further afield, you tend to get sucked into Tyson’s Corner, with all its traffic and navigational problems. Fortunately I remembered visiting Mylo’s Grill quite some time ago, about 10 miles away along Old Dominion Drive in McLean. They were able to set up a private room for about 20 of us on only 2 hours’ notice. The service was excellent and the food was outstanding! It’s pretty easy to see how they earned top marks from Yelp and Urban Spoon…