Monday, June 02, 2008

Big Time in the Jungle

On his way back from Grandma & Grandpa's 60th anniversary party, Chris was able to stop by this past weekend. He had spent some time in Columbus as well, watching minor league games and visiting his old friend Virgil. He got here late on Thursday, and I left him to his own devices on Friday.

Saturday, we had hoped to go out to Shenandoah and hike Old Rag, but the forecast said there could be strong thunderstorms because the atmosphere was "energetic." Instead, we went up to Rock Creek Park.

I've ridden through the park plenty of times, but never really stopped there. We hiked out from the Nature Center (which includes a planetarium!) and went to the ruins of a Civil War battery, Fort Drury. Not particularly impressive, just mounds of dirt really. But interesting for as a touchstone of local history.

We headed down into the park, and ended up going along the creek for some distance. Not rough hiking, by any means - easy grades, well maintained trails. Really quite nice. It was easy to forget we were essentially in the middle of the city - felt like a "real" forest. We even came upon a deer on the trail - clearly used to people, since it let us get within about 15 feet before shambling off. And while it was hot and humid, but proximity to the creek and the plentiful shade helped ease things a little.

Unfortunately, the free park map doesn't include a lot of detail on the trails, things like the badging used to mark the way. And the signage and badging was fairly poor. So we ended up doing a figure eight instead of a loop, since I took us left when we should have gone right. Still, it was a lucky mistake - the distance ended up being just about perfect, about four and half miles of easy trails. And that extra loop was very nice - it reminded me of some of the cross country trails we ran in high school.

The timing could not have been better - we got home, and just as we finished cleaning up, the sky opened up. The storms were brief but intense. I'm glad we weren't stuck out in anything like that out on the Blue Ridge.

After that, we had lunch, and went to see the new Indiana Jones movie at the Odeon Uptown, the big movie palace up by the zoo. Pretty fun movie, if you know what to expect (basically a 50s B-movie with modern effects and a huge budget). And the Uptown is just a fun place to see a movie - huge curved CinemaScope screen, real balcony, etc. They even show the awesome 70mm prints sometimes - better than HD.

And we ended up back in Del Ray, having dinner at the Afghan Restaurant and Strawberry Shortcake (with fresh Del Ray Farmer's Market berries) at the Dairy Godmother. So, pretty good visit.

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