Walking the Mt Vernon Trail, October 2004

Over the past few decades, the landscape of much of the United States has been altered to include many public trails. My understanding is that this has been stimulated by the reversion of railroad rights to the local communities, but there are several other factors as well. Where I used to live—Arlington, Virginia—is more or less in the middle of a set of trails stemming south from nearby Washington, DC. I presume the north and west of DC also have trails. I know that Seattle had these and was developing more as I left that area in the 1990s. And I've walked on others in California.

The Mt Vernon Trail begins around Rosslyn, Virginia and ends at the home of George Washington in Mt Vernon, Virginia. It is a magnificent trail, intended for either bicycles or walking/running, and is only interrupted by, officially, a traverse of Alexandria, Virginia. It more or less parallels the absolutely beautiful George Washington Parkway. The area around Washington, DC is very densely populated, and such natural features preserved by governments of various jurisdictions make life in that area far more comfortable than in other similarly dense areas within the US.

My buddy Ed Lohoski is an active outdoorsman, and it was his idea to walk the fourteen miles from my apartment in Crystal City, Virginia to Mt Vernon. We arranged with a friend to pick us up at Mt Vernon, as we were pretty sure we wouldn't feel like walking back. I set the pace for this walk, taking full advantage of the tour through Alexandria, what with its Starbucks and other attractions for the hiker. A year later, we did the trail again, but Ed took over. Our time for the same trip was a least an hour quicker than the first trip, which is shown here. Some people like coffee, some don't.

Fall is a wonderful time for such an adventure, as summers in the DC area can be rather uncomfortable for such an exertion. We made the most of it, and although with sore feet, finished up at Mt Vernon grateful for the ride home.