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Hikes, stars, sedimentation, books, and pix

From: Mike
Sent on: Tuesday, January 6, 2009 2:03 PM



Good new year to you!


Last year was indeed eventful for the Wondering Soles: 28 hikes, including 5 on a trip to WV, plus 1 cancellation due to weather, with well over 500 participants, and only 6 complaints -- a distinct improvement over the previous year (18 participants; 33,472 complaints).


For this first calendar month, here are two hikes for the price of none, plus a meeting.





Sat. Jan. 10. Rock Creek Park. This Saturday, we'll explore Rock Creek Park, in the heart (more like the left lung) of Washington and one of the best city parks in the world. (I've seen about three, so I'm a great judge.) You'll have the option of doing the first 6 miles (1.8 blisters -- barely moderate) or the full 11 miles (3.6 blisters -- borderline difficult). I had hoped for snow cover, but the park is still beautiful as a winter venue, and has an abundance of hills (a total of about 3200? of elevation change) and a paucity of people. Among other things, we?ll visit a prayerful rock, a poetic cabin, a defensive parapet, and a risqu? crossing.


Good heavens, I almost forgot! You can put stars in your eyes with a planetarium show at 1 PM or 4 PM, after finishing the 6 or 11 miles, respectively. (To have a successful trip, you have to planet.) The shows are free and last about 50 minutes, rating 2.6 stars and only 0.3 sores. This is the only planetarium in the National Park System. I'll have more info when we meet.


Bring lunch if you are doing the full hike, or want to eat with us after the first 6 miles. Bring 1 (short) or 2 (long) liters of water. Bring rain gear for the occasional drips (liquid, not people) we may run into. Good hiking shoes are recommended for tricky and muddy parts of the trails. Meet at the Visitor Center, just south of Military Road (, at 9 AM. If you need a ride, let me know.



Sat. Jan 24. Accotink Creek. This easy hike (about 4 miles or 0.8 blisters, very moderately paced) will focus on the impacts of road projects and other construction on local stream valleys and watersheds. We'll look at the effects of the expansion of I-495 to implement the High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes, the recently built paved trail, and a natural surface footpath; discuss impervious surfaces and how they affect natural areas, including sedimentation and run-off, and ways to mitigate those effects or find better solutions (It?s sedimentary, my dear Watson.); and talk about how to identify, document, and report construction-related pollution events.


Guest will be Jeanette Stewart, founder of Lands and Waters, a local nonprofit dedicated to environmental advocacy. As an option, we?ll continue the conversation at a nearby eatery after the hike. Meet at 10 AM, but for meeting location and additional details, I?ll send an email and post on the WS around the 11th, when we figure it out. Leaders are Kris Unger and yours truly.



Thu. Jan. 8. Environment and Fiction Book Club. Come join the first regular meeting of this new book club, when we?ll discuss The Botany of Desire: A Plant?s Eye View of the World, by Michael Pollan. If you haven?t read it, don?t worry. Although it?s a good book (I?ve read about three, so I?m a great judge), the discussion is better. This and subsequent meetings of the Club will be held on the second Thursday of each month at 7:45-8:45 PM at the Palisades Neighborhood Library, 4901 V Street, NW, Washington, DC (parking available). For more information, and to find out how to get a library copy of the book, contact Keith Mintzer, [address removed] or 202/258-0137.



Pictures from last month?s (seems like last year) Antietam hike:



Coming up: Sat. Feb. 21. Hazel Mountain Circuit. Strenuous winter hike (about 4 blisters) in Shenandoah National Park. More info to come or check website.

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