Saturday, June 25, 2016

Park Within a Park

The Washington and Old Dominion Trail (W&OD) is a walker's delight, a long skinny ribbon of asphalt through the D.C. 'burbs. Its dimensions tell the tale: 45 miles long and 100 feet across!

"Share the trail" is the motto and the practice, and of course it is a good one. But the best way I've found to share the trail is to get off of it. My surface of choice is not the paved path but the horse trail that runs along beside it.

With a surface of cinders or dirt it's easier on the joints. And it puts you even closer to the vegetation, to the sights and smells that are so vivid in high summer.

Most importantly it's away from zooming cyclists, whose "passing on the left" grow a little old after the forty-fifth iteration.

Sometimes the horse trail runs right alongside the paved path and other times it meanders higher or lower. When there's a bridge over a highway it doesn't always take it.

The horse trail, in other words, has a mind of its own. It's a placid alternative, a park within a park.


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