Usually by this time we’ve had at least one or two good snows, but not this year. There have even been enough warm days to bring up a few green shoots here and there. I’m also seeing a smattering of yellow forsythia blossoms as I walk down towards the river, but they look dazed and confused, probably feeling much like we do when being awakened too early. This is vaguely disappointing to me. I don’t want to see signs of spring before winter has even gotten its feet on the ground. Strange as it may sound, I need winter. Not that I like to be cold, or that I revel in travel delays, but I do enjoy the long evenings, the occasional unplanned retreats when the weather hits, and when the sun is out, like today, a winter walk on a bright, cold afternoon.
So this afternoon we headed up the Capital Crescent Trail, enjoying the fact that the low temperatures had held off the usual weekend crowds. Heading northwest, we cross into Maryland and walk past the Washington Aqueduct and through the Dalecarlia Tunnel, built in 1910 as part of the Georgetown Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. I’m always amazed at being in the midst of such history, literally down the road from the epicenter of world events, yet seemingly out in the middle of the woods! About a half mile past the tunnel we take a detour onto the Little Falls Trail, crossing the Little Falls Branch of the Potomac River, which is the geographical boundary between DC and Maryland.
The Little Falls Trail winds around following the stream and turns us back in the direction of home. With the sun going down, the temperature is dropping here in the “backwoods” of Maryland. We hurry along just in time to catch the sun going down over the Potomac and get back to the house right at dusk. Our round trip has been about five miles, a brisk and invigorating afternoon–time now for chili and a fire. It’s the best of winter, even without the snow, and likely that those bright little yellow blossoms are thinking twice about poking their heads out today.