biking the Northwest Branch Trail

The last ride I took on Pearl, back in July before our trip, was up the Northwest Branch Trail along the—wait for it—northwest branch of the Anacostia. I’d never been up beyond University Boulevard, and likely won’t go again. Not because the trail wasn’t nice; it was, even with the stretch of gang-tagged trees making me only too aware of the spate of sexual assaults taking place in our area.

The non-fear-based downside is that the trail ends in rocks only a few miles from my house, at the Beltway overpass, so it’s not really made for a nice long ride. I ended up at the rocks right around high noon, so it wasn’t the best light for photos either, with the stark contrast of canopy and glare. Nonetheless, I parked Pearl—taking the probably unnecessary step of hiding her behind a huge rock—and walked up the trail just far enough to see the small waterfall. I have to admit, I was hoping for something a bit more dramatic when the kid coming out of the woods carrying his bike told me there was a ‘waterfall’ up a bit, but it was nice for what it was.

Pearl and the rock.

Waterfall below.

Beltway above.

As for wildlife, I saw loads of larger birds—flickers, grackles, robins, a thrasher, red-bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker—but nary a small one. I’m guessing they were quite a bit higher than the trail, up at the tops of the trees that were growing up the rather steep banks.

biking the Northwest Branch Trail

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