As I recently mentioned, I have decided to participate in the 52 Hike Challenge in 2017. Today, for Hike 1 of the challenge, I completed part of the River Trail hike in Great Falls Park, Virginia. While the first part of the River Trail was really busy (near the overlooks), the rest of the trail was sparsely traveled – as one would expect for a late January hike. I hiked 1.74 miles according to my app and it felt really good to get out in the woods again.
Great Falls Park
We’ve visited Great Falls Park numerous times with out-of-town guests. Not only are the falls beautiful, but they are super accessible and great for all ages. As I was solo-hiking today (Hubs caught the cold I had last week), I wanted to venture in a place that I was familiar and would have people around in case I had any problems with my knee.
The River Trail hike in Great Falls Park technically begins after Overlook 3. However, I always include the overlooks with the trail because you have to pass them to get to the trail when parking at the Visitor Center.
Mather Gorge from the River Trail
Mather Gorge is the narrowest part of the Potomac River in Great Falls Park/C&O Canal National Historical Park. The gorge is named after Stephen Mather, who was the first Director of the National Park Service. The narrowness of the gorge heavily influences the river during high water, causing flooding upstream.
Wildlife in Great Falls Park
Today, I got to enjoy watching three different turkey vultures. The first was handing around the rapids near Overlook 1. The second and third vultures were perched in a tree between Overlook 3 and the wooded portion of the River Trail.
52 Hike Challenge Update
While I am committed to the 52 Hike Challenge, I am already behind by completing my first hike this late in January. I plan to make up my two missed hikes, but I was caring for my ill Mother back home in Wisconsin and then fell ill with a bad cold upon my return. My plan is to make up the hikes during the spring and summer when there is more daylight and we can complete a short hike after work.