I had several ideas for a post today, but they would have required spending time indoors. Today and tomorrow are probably going to be the last with temps around 70 degrees, sunshine, and the fall foliage past its peak but still beautiful. So, spending the day outdoors won out.
I've been using my back pain as an excuse for not taking the neighborhood walks I've always enjoyed. But since I want to be in better shape for the family trip to Iceland after Thanksgiving, I decided to do what my back doctor told me to do a year ago: "just walk through the pain."
So guess what happened on my walk today? The back pain gradually eased, and I thoroughly enjoyed the walk. But -- no surprise -- I also found I was seriously out of shape and had to stop and rest more than before.
The Palisades: My Heaven on Earth
I've raved before about my neighborhood, the Palisades section of DC. It's situated on the hills above the Potomac River just before the Maryland line. It's often described as "country living in the city." As you'll see from the photos that follow, you can quickly go for a walk in the woods. Yet I figure it will take me 15 to 30 minutes to drive (non-rush hour) to almost any place in downtown DC.
For years, I commuted by bike to my office in the city center and knew the bike ride would take about 25 minutes. If I drove to work, the commute could be as short as 15 minutes or as long as an hour, depending on traffic.
All city amenities are nearby: banks, post office, gas station, Safeway, CVS, and restaurants that are on lists of the best in the area for both elegant dining and "cheap eats."
I grew up in Ithaca, NY, a town of hills and trees. My Palisades neighborhood is much like my old hometown.
We moved here in 1960 and bought a tiny two-bedroom house for $19,500. Our second child, daughter Ann, was born later that year. Within a few years, it was clear we needed a larger house. But by then we were sold on the neighborhood, so we bought a larger house exactly three blocks up the hill -- moving from 5030 Sherier Place to 5023 Eskridge Terrace.
I hope to spend my remaining years right where I am.
Today's Walk in the Woods
Running down the spine of the Palisades is Battery Kemble Park, named after a hillside Civil War fortification covering the approach to the city from the chain bridge that connected Virginia to DC and Maryland.
The park is a narrow stretch of protected woods that begins at the Potomac River and goes up the palisade hillside for several miles, running on both sides of MacArthur Boulevard, the main thoroughfare through the Palisades, paralleling the river.
A five-minute walk from my house brought me to the park entrance above MacArthur Blvd. I took this photo after going only a few yards into the woods: