Thursday, August 22, 2013

Keep It Local: Great Falls, VA -- River Trail at Difficult Run Loop

It's been a few years since we hiked the Virginia side of Great Falls. In fact, we probably haven't been since I was just a few weeks old and the 'rents were desperately trying to get out of the house. Mom recalls trying to figure out the Baby Bjorn and being incredibly nervous about relinquishing me to daddy to carry because she was still recovering from a C-section and not allowed to lift that much weight.

But when No Monsters in My Bed linked to this Arlington Magazine article of great local hikes, mom thought a visit was due. Turns out she was just as nervous this time to relinquish control over our little bodies to ourselves as we perilously tottered along River Trail, which has serious drops off into the Potomac. It probably didn't help that she had the two of us and the dog by herself -- she was constantly playing a game of "who is nearest to plunging to their death now and who can I let go to save the other?" That being said, it was a really pretty 2.8-mile hike for those of us not so concerned with such things.

The first half of the loop winds through the woods and lots of historical sites from the Potomac Canal days, which was new to all of us (we had our snack at the remains of a lockkeeper's home). Then we made our way over to the River Trail for a little mom heart attack time. She generally insisted we stay on the trail a few feet back from the edge, but it can be hard to tell sometimes where the trail is and where well-worn jaunts lead. I insisted I was a "professional rockclimber," but mom made me stick to "bouldering" on the side of the trail away from the river, which has sufficiently large rocks for climbing.

At a particularly narrow part, mom directed us to walk right behind her -- only to turn around and find just Cam and Vegas. As she shrieked out for me at increasingly loud decibels and was met with no answer, I popped out just in time to tell mom I was bouldering like she said I could. She dragged us onward and we ran smack into some order of nuns singing prayers on rocks overlooking the river. We stopped and watched for a while until mom felt she had a little help from above and we finished the hike at one of the overlooks. Then Vegas hopped up on on the guardrail on all fours. Mom announced the hike was over.

Safe to say that the next time we go back, we'll have at least a 1:1 adult to child ratio!

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