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I was hoping to get in at least ten miles as a part of my conditioning for the 50-miler on the Big Island, but was only able to cover 6.75 miles around Great Falls Park along the Potomac River (just a few miles outside Washington, D.C.). I wasn't feeling very good that day and uncharacteristically decided to "stop and smell the roses" while I enjoyed my lunch overlooking the Great Falls (and they are Great!).

My route took me along the Matildaville Trail, through the ruins of Matildaville, past a long abandoned quarry, and back to Old Carriage Road. I spotted a deer or two along the way that didn't seem to care if I was there or not! I followed Old Carriage Road to the end at Georgetown Pike. I walked up the road a very short distance to Difficult Run Park where I followed Difficult Run Trail (which parallels Difficult Run stream) back to the Potomac River.

There were several people fishing along Difficult Run and at the Potomac as well as several kayakers across the river around Sherwin Island. I would notice kayakers in several locations up the river through Mather Gorge as I made my way up to Great Falls.

I picked up Ridge Trail and then switched to River Trail and shortly got my first view of the sheer rock walls along Mather Gorge - WHAT A SIGHT! Each overlook was more spectacular than the last!

I meet more and more people along the trail as I got closer to the falls. I even meet a group of Boy Scouts from Spotsylvania that were rock climbing a scary piece of cliff. They weren't impressed that I was preparing for a 50-miler with scouts myself until I told them that it was on the Big Island of Hawaii - THEN they wanted to know more!

I finished at an overlook of the Great Falls where I was able to find a quiet spot to enjoy my sandwich, apple, and cookies while watching the people, birds, kayakers and mostly the water tumble over the Great Falls. I was amazed that something so spectacular is so close to our nation's capital! I look forward to coming back and exploring both sides of the river in the future. All in all, another fine day out of doors!