Just when I think I know all the local trails, I go and discover a new. Yesterday, we ran part of Pimmit Run, specifically a section of the Downstream Trail, which starts at Chain Bridge. (Tip: if the parking lot is filled up at this trail head, have you're GPS route you to 4101 N Randolph Ct, Arlington, VA 22207. You can park on the street there, and take a steep bike path down to the trail.)
Pimmit Run starts as a combined trail with the Potomac Heritage Trail, but branches off on its own near a challenging stream crossing, which takes you to Fort Marcy Park. (To stay on the Pimmit Run trail, skip the stream crossing). This is a "real" trail, with terrain you'd expect to find in any outdoor adventure. It worked very well for trail running, as about 80% of it was runnable, while the remaining 20% was both interesting and a challenge. It even included a ridiculously rickety "bridge" (if you can call two fragile planks over a 6ft drop a bridge), which took some nerve to traverse.
Like any area wilderness trail in this area, it occasionally brushes up against roads and houses (and in this case, of the mansion variety), but that didn't really detract from the scenery. It's far more amazing to consider that we started 15 minutes from our home, yet were really In The Woods. All of Pimmit Run is supposed to be about 8 miles worth of trail. I could definitely see using this trail to test out gear and skills for longer hikes, as it's close enough to hit on a random week day, yet authentic enough to let you know what to expect when you hit your real trail.
We didn't see huge amounts of wildlife, but I'm sure it's there. Some sightings include: a Black Vulture (man, that's one tough looking bird!), a bunch of fish and a deer. I also came across a plant with Leaf Antlers, or more technically leaf galls. Apparently, a leaf gall encases insect eggs, and provide them protection while they develop. Yum!
More useful information on Pimmit Run can be found here. But better than reading about it, grab the kids and spouse, and just hit the trail.
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