Saturday, March 28, 2015



During a recent trip to the District of Columbia, my hiking companion and I took a hike in the famous Rock Creek Park.  

 Located in the northwestern corner of the District, there is a wonderful 2000 acre park built around the Rock Creek.  The Park extends northward for 12 miles from the Potomac River to the Maryland state line.

 From the over 25 miles of  trails, we chose to take a hike along a section known as the Western Ridge.  It began at the Pierce Mill in the southern end of the park.

The mill was constructed in 1820 and operated until 1897.  It was recently restored but was unfortunately not open during our visit.  From the mill we hiked up the creek northward toward the main part of the park.

The trail is well marked and well many runners were encountered we felt guilty not running along the banks of the Rock Creek.  But if we had we would not have enjoyed the wonderful scenes that a large creek in the early spring time provides. 

We spotted a pair of ducks on the way up the creek who proved too elusive to capture in pictures.  One time even diving into water to avoid a picture being taken.  

We left them alone intending to sneak up on them on the way back down the creek.  But we did get a nice picture of a spring Red Robin. 
Rock Creek is adjacent to a very busy parkway which unfortunately created lots of traffic noise but leaving the creek and climbing a steep hill into the woods, we escaped to a forest solitude similar to that found in many Piedmont North Carolina hikes. 

 Being that it was late in the day we did not venture far from the Rock Creek and soon returned to its banks and followed the bank side trail downstream hoping to find our elusive duck friends.

Near a bridge we found their hiding place in a calm section of the creek created by bridge abutments.  The calmness of the water created one of the most amazing reflections I have ever captured. 

Not far from this calm section we found our duck friends...and the Daddy Duck was one of the most incredibly colored Mallard Ducks I have ever seen.   
Dating Ducks

Mommy Duck
Daddy Duck
The ducks are more aptly described a "Dating Ducks" as they proved to be inseparable, but were nice to pose for me in the middle of Rock Creek.  
An artist would be too shy to add these colors to this duck...At least 10 different colors

Passing by the Pierce Mill we returned to the Western Ridge loop trail.  The trail led across an 1882 bridge as we chose to walk the eastern bank of the river in order to catch the western ridge trail on the way back.
From a top the 1882 bridge we caught a nice view of the mill dam at the Pierce Mill.

Along the eastern creek bank trail we were reminded that the park is cut from the banks of granite rock hillsides.  

The creek created a nice rocky beach from which I am sure many would venture in the cool water on a summer day.

From the beach we took the steep climb up to the Western Ridge, from which we could look down on the beach from several hundred feet above.

The trail was illuminated by the late afternoon sun which will soon be adorned with spring blossoms.

Returning to the creek bank we crossed a footbridge on the way back to our car and one last picture called out to us.

Rock Creek Park is a place that you need to add to your list of places to visit while in Washington.  It is near the National Zoo and is a pleasant place to spend the afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown.

Trail rating is easy....access is a 9...many places to park in different places in the park.  We chose the one closest to the Pierce Mill.  The trail is an 8....well defined but not well marked as I only saw one trail map and was never quite sure where we were when we ventured from the creekside....scenery is an 8... effort to view is low...easy hike....nice scenery....wish it was later in the spring...can't wait to return one day.


We stayed in a hotel near these two wonderful day I vow to return to DC and do a blog with just church photos.....these were two neat old churches.

The white church is the National City Christian Church built in 1930

The other church was architecturally more interesting is the Luther Place Memorial Church built in 1873 as a memorial to peace and reconciliation following the Civil War.

The church was right out of a Gothic horror movie but was elegant and inviting nonetheless.  It is of neo-gothic architectural style and features stained glass windows picturing twelve early protestant reformers including Jon Hus.

These churches can be found at Logan Square where stands the statue of General John A. Logan,  native of Illinois and a hero of the Civil War taking part in the Vicksburg Campaign and later serving as a member of Congress and a vice presidential candidate.  

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