Monday, September 17, 2018

Anacostia Trail and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens - You can check out anytime you want ...

When we rode our bikes to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens over 4 years ago, I noted how impressive the Anacostia Trail was. At the time, however, to reach the gardens you needed to include city streets in your route as the trail wasn't complete.

Last night I ran the 6+ miles from Anacostia Park to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and found that I was on pristine trail nearly the entire run. Even Google Maps hasn't caught up yet to the trail, as there are sections that look like so:

Don't be discouraged by this: you'll find a shiny new bridge when you arrive at this point in the trail.

I saw deer, butterflies, interesting birds and possibly a beaver while running along the trail. I arrived at the Aquatic Gardens and took a stroll. It was approaching sunset and I had the place to myself; it was just about perfect.

I had planned on doing about 6 miles of running, so rather than doing 3 out and 3 back, I opted to run 6 miles to the gardens and Uber back to my car. I ordered up an Uber and started walking to the parking lot to meet my ride. It's then that things started to go sideways.

I found the parking lot. I also found a barbed wire topped security fence and a locked gate that was keeping me from exiting. My Uber may have been 20 yards away, but there was no way I was reaching her. After much apologizing to the driver, I explained that I wasn't going to be able to meet her at the pick up point. I'd have to run another mile or so down the trail and try again.

As I made my way out of the gardens, night was falling and my idyllic scene started to look like the opening of a horror movie. As I jogged out, I noticed an odd sensation. I realized that frogs were crossing the trail in front of me and kept bashing into my legs as I ran. It was surreal.

After a mile or so, I found myself back on a city street waiting for my Uber to arrive. To add insult to injury, the mosquitoes were swarming and if I stood still they'd feast on me. I can only imagine how I looked to the folks in the tidy homes across the street. Here I was, a disheveled runner pacing the street mumbling to myself (though in defense, I was actually on speakerphone with the Uber). The Uber arrived, Anacostia Park was open (whew!), so I was able to reach my car and drive myself home.

What a night! I got a run, nature walk, some pics, and solid Uber story out of the deal. What more could you ask for? If you haven't spent time on the Anacostia Trail, you're missing out. This has to be one of the region's best places to bike, walk and run.

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