I thought we'd done all the best hikes in DC. Of course we have done the Valley Trail and Western Ridge Trail in Rock Creek Park. We love the Glover Archbold Trail just west of Georgetown. And Roosevelt Island is always a delight. But when we are walking to Roosevelt Island, just as we leave the overpass bridge, there's a subtle sign and an alluring grassy footpath to... where?
Well, part of the Potomac Heritage Trail runs from Roosevelt Island all the way to Scott's Run Nature Preserve. At 10.8 miles that seemed a bit vigorous so we took an Uber to the Virginia side of Chain Bridge, where we caught the trail and walked it back to Georgetown, about 4.2 miles, all along the Potomac. What a brilliant, wonderfully accessible adventure. When we got onto the path, we were both worried: "is this really the path??" Certainly the first part of this adventure is a little challenging and a tad confusing, involving some basic rock scrambling (aka sliding down steep slopes on my bottom), with some forest-y, rocky, and almost beach-y terrain. The Potomac here is narrow and still, with a few fishermen which felt reassuring as we walked onwards into what felt like the middle of nowhere. It got a bit less technical, with more obvious trail markings, but there was plenty of hopping on stones over streams and little waterfalls, lots of shade, beautiful, surprising scenery, and a lot of fun. At some point the river widens and kayakers appear from Fletcher's Boathouse. Then the paddle boarders. And eventually Key Bridge comes into sight. It took a decent while to walk this trail due to the challenging rocky bits, but by the time we popped out at Roosevelt Island, we'd really earned our pies from the delicious Pie Sisters, just across the water in Georgetown. Be aware: if you start this route at Chain Bridge, there's not anywhere you can really leave the trail till you get to Roosevelt Island. Take water etc.
Adventure number 2 happened thanks to a serendipitous realization that it was 'Obscura Day' on Saturday, a global day where people become adventurers in their own city, finding things that are not easy to find. This is run by Atlas Obscura whose mission is pretty much that. They run all sorts of cool events in DC and I am literally traumatized that I only just found out about them, not just for DC but for reference every time I travel. I was sad that the #ObscuraDay Dupont Underground tours were full, but I was rather thrilled to find there was a walk to two 'lost' DC landmarks: the Capitol Stones, and Fort DeRussy. What fun! It's amazing that there are so many stones from the 19th Century US Capitol building, all neatly piled up in Rock Creek Park. Some have great carvings and the like. And what's extra amazing is that the forest has grown around them so that it felt for all the world like I was strolling through a lost temple at Angkor Watt. Fascinating! Here's a tip for finding them: start at the parking lot at the nature centre. Head south-east-ish on a path past the stables for about 10-15 mins and the stone yard will appear before you. As for Fort DeRussy, fascinating to hear the history of the forts hastily erected to protect Washington, and to walk around the perimeter. This is in the opposite direction from the nature centre, just on the other side of Military Road and a tiny bit north.
What else have we been up to? Well I started another fab sculpture class at CHAW, had drinks at a GLINT happy hour (gay diplomats) in the really quite lovely Town beer garden, and went to a fab DASER event on digitalizing museums - they have lots of great events about the intersection between science and the arts. Loved watching The Devil Wears Prada in Farragut Square last night after some superlative cheese in Sona. Oh, and went to New York (lovely wife did the Brooklyn Half Marathon, and we saw Fun Home and both parts of Wolf Hall at the theatre), Atlanta and Savannah (where lovely wife worked), and Senegal (where I went to a conference and did a cool day tour of Dakar). And went to an American Institute of Architects meeting on design and health in honor of my starting up a new organization, the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health. As you do. It's been a busy couple of weeks since I last wrote...
What's coming up that sounds cool
Monday 1st June - DASER, in association with the Shakespeare Theatre, are doing a free rehearsed reading of Arcadia and Iteratia. Register in advance and bring photo ID.
Tue 2nd - Head to Adams Morgan for free outdoor film, The Bicycle Thief or play board games to benefit SpeakeasyDC.
Wed 3rd - It's Perfect Liars Club at the Bier Baron! There's still a few tickets - grab them here. And see you there!
Thu 4th - This is the first time I've been really attracted by an event at Tudor place, but tonight they're doing an event focused on portraits called Silhouettes to Selfies. 21+ and featuring cocktails, photo booths and art - sounds like fun! Or else there is Phillips After 5, with a jazz focus.
Fri 5th - LGBT storytelling courtesy of SpeakeasyDC, and at the 9:30 Club no less! And Our City Festival kicks off.
Sat 6th - It's the 32nd annual Dupont-Kalorama museum walk today, with several museums free of charge and with special events. Then go participate in the Silent Disco in Dupont Circle.
Sun 7th - It's the last day of the Our City Festival.
Have a great week!