Last weekend turned out to be a busy weekend for hiking. Early in the week I planned a hike in Reston on Saturday, but left Sunday open because the weather forecast predicted a good chance of thunderstorms. It wasn’t until Saturday that the forecast was revised to a sunny day, leading me to come up with a couple of hikes for Sunday out of whole cloth.
Saturday morning we went for a 5.5-mile hike around Lakes Audubon and Thoreau in Reston. There are hiking paths throughout Reston, all paved with asphalt, and fairly flat with a few hills here and there. Given the fact that Reston is a planned community with restrictive bylaws, it’s ironic that Lake Thoreau is named for Henry David Thoreau, the American author and philosopher noted as a development critic and tax evader, best known for his book Walden, about living a simple life in a natural setting, and his essay “Civil Disobedience,” in which he argued that government is more harmful than helpful, and citizens should not blindly acquiesce to government authority or pay taxes if they are perceived to be the source of injustice. In any case, it was a pleasant if fast-paced hike (over 3 miles per hour), followed by lunch at Cafesano, a cafeteria-style Italian/Mediterranean restaurant overlooking Lake Thoreau from a shopping mall east of the lake. A Google map of our hiking route is here.
By Saturday the forecast for Sunday was revised to sunny and a high temperature in the mid-70s, from the 50/50 chance of thunderstorms that was previously predicted. A beautiful day demands a hike to match, so I reached in my back pocket and scheduled a Sunday morning hike at Scott’s Run, along the south bank of the Potomac where I-495 crosses over the river to the west of Washington D.C. Scott’s Run Nature Preserve is only 384 acres, which rules out a long hike, but the waterfall and river cliff overlook, along the Potomac on the west and east sides of the preserve, respectively, made for a nice hike of almost 2.5 miles.
Belle Haven Country Club, located along the Potomac just south of Old Town Alexandria, puts on a great Independence Day fireworks display every year, and even if you aren’t a club member, you can enjoy a great view of the fireworks from along the Mount Vernon Trail, just north of the Belle Haven Park along the Potomac. The fireworks display was originally scheduled to take place on the evening of Thursday, July 3rd, but due to the thunderstorms it was postponed until Sunday evening. So it was only natural for us to hike south along the Mount Vernon Trail from Jones Point Park to Dyke Marsh, and conveniently stopping on our way back just as the fireworks display began at 9:30 pm. In addition to the fireworks, starting the hike at 8:00 pm meant we were hiking during Golden Hour, which provided some opportunities for nice photos. (Not that I took very good advantage of them.) The evening hike was 5 miles round trip, so those who did both Sunday hikes managed a respectable 7 miles of hiking, and all three together added up to almost 13 miles.
This coming weekend is looking like it will be the complete opposite of last weekend. Both Saturday’s and Sunday’s hikes were planned in advance, being tied to a sesquicentennial anniversary and the probable peak bloom time frame for aquatic flowers, respectively. In addition, this morning I added an moonlight hike in Old Town Alexandria, hopefully to catch the City of Alexandria’s birthday fireworks display. This time around, though, the weather forecast has been sunny and mild for both days, but now a chance of thunderstorms is creeping back into the picture for Sunday.