The past couple of weeks I have still been busy hiking, but sadly negligent in writing posts about it. So I’ll have to back up and play catch-up again…
On Saturday, August 2nd, I thought a visit to Carderock was in order, since we hadn’t been there since March, when it was a frozen winter wonderland. I had planned to do Billy Goat Trails B and C again, but due to recent rains I wasn’t sure about how muddy the trails would be. Billy Goat Trail B isn’t too difficult, but a lot of slippery rocks could ruin your day! So we ended up hiking only Billy Goat Trail C and then down the towpath to Lock 10 and back, for a total of 5 miles of smiles, a little less than the 6 miles you usually get out of doing B and C together. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a pleasant hike, and I hadn’t visited Lockhouse 10 before. As it turns out, Lockhouse 10 is a pretty neat little hideaway. Originally built in 1830, it was remodeled by the National Park Service to resemble the lockhouse as it might have appeared in the 1930s. The lockhouse has two bedrooms and period appliances in the kitchen and bathroom but, as a practical convenience, there is central heat and air conditioning. The price is $150 a night, and I don’t think there are many places you could find accommodations for a family of five inside the beltway for that price! You can read more about Lockhouse 10 and make reservations at the C&O Canal Trust website.
The following Sunday, August 3rd, I was still a little uncertain about the weather, given a 60% chance of rain in the forecast, so a tried and true fallback position was a walk around Old Town Alexandria. There’s a lot of interesting things to see around town, of course, but this time we climbed up Shuter’s Hill for a view of Alexandria from the base of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, something we did back in February. (One of these days I have to arrange a tour of the place, even though not much walking would be involved.) There’s a historical marker there showing a panoramic photograph of the view in 1864 that provides an amazing study in contrast. Where once you could see the Potomac River and Cameron Run quite easily, today it is mostly obscured by buildings, especially to the southeast.
Last Saturday, August 9th, I had planned a hike at Leesylvania State Park until a sharp-eyed hiker alerted me that there was a conflicting charity walk starting an hour before our visit. Good thing — while there was probably enough room for both groups, rather than dealing with any possible confusion I cancelled that hike and immediately scheduled a substitute hike at nearby South Run. The South Run Recreation Center is a nice facility, from which you can hike southeast around Lake Mercer (our choice) or northwest around Burke Lake. Maybe the only drawback is the lack of any restaurants in the near vicinity, so no matter which direction you choose, you’ll lose those who need to go home going the opposite direction.
Last Sunday was the Supermoon, and a walk to see it didn’t disappoint! I noticed a couple of hiking groups had scheduled evening walks around the monuments on the National Mall in Washington DC, which seemed less than ideal: if you want to go stargazing, amid the lights of a large city is not the best place to do it. Old Town Alexandria still has a lot of ambient light, but at least along the waterfront you would see the moon rising to the east above the woods of Oxon Hill Farm. Not only that, but the close proximity of the supermoon causes an exaggerated high tide, so the waterfront is the place to go to check it out! So it was off to Old Town again, for a 5-mile hike going from the King Street Metro Station to the waterfront for moonrise, up and down the waterfront, and then back along the well-lit sidewalks of King Street. Just right!
I’m caught up for now, but that won’t last long — we’re headed to the Palisades tomorrow!