Thursday, October 27, 2016
Get Lost In Nature
Last weekend I decided I wanted to get out for a walk, I have a couple of six day work weeks coming up, and the weather was wonderful. I drove out to Mt Vernon on Sunday morning, drove around the parking lots three times looking for a open space, or someone walking toward a car that might be leaving, and gave up. I drove back up the George Washington Parkway toward Washington DC, and just south of Alexandria, I pulled into Belle Haven Park, on the shore of the Potomac River. This is just south of the Wilson Bridge, not more than 6 miles as the Eagle flies from the Capitol building, and took the trail out in to Dike Marsh.
The trail into the marsh is an old mining road, the marsh was a source of sand and gravel from the 1700- into the 1940's. George Washington described it in his survey as a "fine improvable marsh." His idea of improving it was to mine it, dredge it, fill it. It was slow digging and when the National Park Service took over and starting looking at preserving and restoring the wetlands some wetlands still remained. If you wander off the trail and look at the waters edge you can see remnants of docks and remains of long sunken shipping. But you can, easily get lost in nature in the marsh. You are never far from civilization, but you are surrounded by nature.
If it was not government land, it would have long ago been filled, dredged, built full of million dollar condos with semi-views of the water. We are lucky to have this natural space, so close to the city.