Tuesday, April 26, 2016

From Trolly Line to Running Trail. Maybe.

Some people run for time, some for distance. Me, I run for discovery. That is, the simple joy of learning something new. Sometimes the discovery is external: trying a new route, identifying a new tree, taking in a monument I've passed dozens of times, or conducting an archeological tour. Sometimes the discovery is internal: sorting out a thorny problem, debugging a program or architecting some fantastic solution. Sometimes the discovery is running related: am I going to collapse before I finish? Sometimes the run has a mission, sometimes I just head out with an open mind. But the goal is nearly always the same: discover *something*.

Last night I was on a mission. Specifically, what's up with this unmarked trail on Google Maps?

What I found when I finally hit the trail entry point was a beautiful grassy trail, that was, as Google Maps suggested, unmarked. This is a posh section of town, so I expected to see no-trespassing signs and whatnot. I didn't. Instead, I saw lots of deer:

A little research after my run gave me the low down on this section of trail:

During DC's streetcar era, the Glen Echo line ran from Georgetown to Glen Echo Park along a path through the Palisades. But for 52 years, this land has lain dormant. It could turn into a trail to get people on foot and bike between these neighborhoods.
The right-of-way is 3.11 miles from Georgetown to Galena Road in the Palisades, which is one block north of the Palisades Recreation Center. The District government owns the part west of Foxhall Road, in the map below. Pepco currently uses the land to access utility poles. Some residents use it for jogging, walking, or pet exercise.

The trail's entire length is 3.11 miles, and I ran about a quarter of it. Even still, I did find the gaps the article above discusses. I just sort of bushwhacked my way through following the path that other's had no doubt carved out.

I'm definitely going to have to return to fully explore this stretch of trail, it's a beauty, that's for sure.

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