over the river and through the mud, on a Great Falls hike we go…
I’ve been hankering to do a mud run for several years, and after taking on a mud/rain hike this weekend, I’m positively convinced it needs to happen STAT.
Randall, Matt & I had planned to go hiking on Saturday, and when it started pouring, and the weather channel predicted rain and storms all day, somehow we still got in the car and headed out, you know, I guess on the hope that it would stop? It didn’t, and it was freaking awesome. I’m like
a six year old my puppy Theodore on a muddy trail – I don’t avoid puddles, I jump in them!
Little Theo is, ah, well, hyperactive, to say the least. I thought as a Beagle/Basset mix he’d have the curiosity and cute face of a beagle with the lazy, adorable long body of a basset. Aside from the body parts, I was way, way wrong. My little Bagle Hound is a freak of nature. He’s supernaturally energetic at all hours of the day or night. And he will walk you if you let him, and it’s mostly impossible to not. And he loves hiking. He’s all hound, that’s for sure – he smells anything, like a rock, I swear, he’ll run to chase it and want to play with it.
So anyway, we brought Theo along with us, and I, like the clever pet owner I think I am, brought a cup of peanut butter for him. He loves peanut butter, and I use it in training him to be better on the leash. What I learned: hiking > peanut butter. He didn’t care one iota about the peanut butter. He smelled mud, it was raining, and he was in nature; he was the happiest little dog. He practically made our fairly easy hike into a mud run, as we pulled him and called out to him and ran to keep up with him. And it was freaking awesome.
We trekked the 25 minutes or so out to Great Falls on the Maryland side to hike the Billy Goat section “C” trail. I wanted to show Randall and Matt section “A,” the most strenuous of the three (though not very), chock full of rock scrambling. “A” contains a pretty steep section, however, that dogs can’t do (trust, don’t try), and given the rain, would be treacherous.
Hiking “C” turned out to be beautiful and a section of Great Falls I’d never seen before. There’s only about 200 feet of incline, so it’s a simple, laid back hike. That said, you really do feel encompassed by green, locked in a forest all your own (especially when it’s raining and muddy and no one else dares to hike!). There are incredible pockets between the foliage allowing for pristine views of the Potomac.
There’s a waterfall mid-way through the hike, a small but lovely one, that requires slightly tricky footwork to cross, especially when the water is high. Theo doesn’t like water, to say the least, and Matt had to soothe him and help him across.
The “C” section trail we did was only about 1.5 miles. You can do it as a loop, walking the last .5 miles on the paved road to return to the parking lot. We opted to make it an out-and-back hike, returning the way we came, to make it a solid 3 miles.
You know what the best part of hiking is? It’s freeeeeee!!! Well, there’s gas, but at a mere 25 minutes outside D.C., it’s nominal.* If there’s any greater feeling than accomplishing a great hike, it’s being rain-drenched and mud-covered after!
*Unfortunately, Great Falls is 7-10 miles from the nearest Metro, making it inaccessible by public transportation.