Into the Marsh

All summer, I’ve been taking my bike out on the trails of Northern Virginia. There’s lots of great, well-maintained trails in this region, so there’s no shortage of options to choose from.

One I come back to on a fairly regular basis is the Mount Vernon Trail, which runs from D.C. through Old Town Alexandria and then all the way down to George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon. It’s a long ride to get all the way down there — 13 miles each way if you leave from where I live — so I’ve been working up to it by taking progressively longer rides each time I head out that way.

Today I rode out farther than I had before (about nine miles down the trail), and along the way I discovered the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, which the trail runs right by. It’s really stunning, and it’s startling because one minute you’re riding along past the usual trees-and-grass, and the next you’re riding along a bridge with cattails that are literally taller than I am waving on either side. It’s like you’ve been transported into a nature documentary.

Stumbling across this was one of those “hey, cool!” moments that you occasionally have in life, so I figured I should get a picture. It doesn’t really do the place justice but here you go anyway.

Dyke Marsh

I’ve been hoping that I’d be able to ride all the way down to Mount Vernon and back before the summer ended, but given that it’s September already that’s looking unlikely. But even if I have to wait till next year for that, it’s still been a worthwhile experience, not least because of moments like this.