Staying in the Washington, DC area for a week can a fascinating experience. I went to help a friend in Arlington while she recovered from surgery. Part of the recovery was walking – always good and good for a body! – and there’s this amazing Mount Vernon Trail that flanks the Potomac River for miles. It’s a hike-and-bike trail. People bicycle a lot in our nation’s capitol and its outlying areas. There’s even a bikeshare program where members can grab a bike at any conveniently located dock, ride to work or wherever and deposit the bike at a dock on the other end. People not bicycling can often be found walking to and from the Metro or the bus or even the airport. The Mount Vernon Trail has a branch to Washington National Airport. My friend told me that some people save cab or Metro fare by using the trail to and from the airport. Sure enough, along came a guy rolling his suitcase and carry-on at a fast clip to catch his plane.
Not all the trailways are official. The Mount Vernon Trail has tributaries where people’s feet have worn steep little dirt trails up to roadways or residential areas. We found just such a side trail up to a couple of blocks of three-story apartments and our destination, a Harris Teeter grocery store under some of the apartments. As we went up the trail, down charged a man in full business regalia, charcoal suit and white shirt and tie, carrying a briefcase. Steep dirt trail + business suit and briefcase = hurrying to the office is not a visual equation I’m familiar with, but it was a rather delightful sight.