Five for Friday: Walking is Wonderful

C&O Towpath
C&O Towpath, north of Violette’s Lock

It’s been a hectic month, so I thought I’d go with an easy read for today. Nothing too taxing, just a celebration of the worlds that open up when you have a chance to take a walk.

1. After the rains of the previous week, we finally made it down to the river last weekend and ended up just north of Violette’s Lock, on the C&O Canal towpath. There was plenty of mud to dodge, but the weather was fantastic, and the humidity and insects are still at manageable levels. The river, though–the river was rushing, carrying so much water and debris following the deluge. It felt good to be out and just walk. Certainly one of those days that made me wish I had a pack full of food and water, with plans to be out for hours. The cherry on top was spotting the first oriole of the season, not to mention leafy green views like the one above.

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Visiting the U.S. National Arboretum

Blue bells at the National Arboretum

We visited the U.S. National Arboretum in northeast DC last weekend on a gloriously sunny day. It had been at least eight years or so since we’d been there, and it was refreshing to see it again. Living in the suburbs sometimes makes me feel as though everything in the city is light years away. Every time we’re in DC, though, I remember that it’s not, which makes me inclined to head in on a whim more often.

The Arboretum is a good place for whims. First, it’s free. Then, if you walk in any direction once you’re there, you’ll find a great view, regardless of whether it’s the blossoming tree just before you, or a vista spanning a section of the Anacostia River. I highly recommend it as a day trip for those in the DMV region, or as an add-on to any out-of-towner’s schedule during a visit. The Arboretum is hilly, so walking it serves as a decent workout as long as you don’t drive from one spot to the next (and if you don’t need to, you shouldn’t!). Although visitors could previously take a tram tour, the website indicates that they have been suspended for the 2018 season.

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Five for Friday: George Masa, Changing Economies, and Controlled Burns

1.   George Masa, a photographer who worked on maps for the Appalachian Trail and what would become Great Smoky Mountain National Park, is being inducted into the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame next week. Read about him here, or view photos of him here.

2. From the Poetry Daily website, “A Landscape,” by Carl Dennis.

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The North Carolina seashore on an impromptu walk before a funeral a week ago.

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Reading List: Before They’re Gone

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The splendor of the glaciers. The melting of the glaciers. Breathtaking views of wildlife. Diminishing numbers of wildlife. This is the back-and-forth journey readers take through Michael Lanza’s 2012 book, Before They’re Gone: A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks.

Lanza, an outdoors writer and photographer, takes his family on a series of adventures through 10 national parks: Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Glacier Bay, Mount Rainier, Olympic, Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Joshua Tree, Yellowstone, and the Everglades. He weaves together tales of his children’s antics and interests on the trails with research about the effects of climate change at each park they visit.

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Five for Friday: NPS, Earth Day

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Olympic National Park, July 2015

1.   Saturday begins National Park Week, and Saturday, April 21, is fee-free day at the parks. Learn about other special events here. Take a hike!

2. Earth Day is Sunday, April 22. The Earth Day Network is focusing on plastic pollution this year. Get involved or just learn more here.

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