Quick Escapes: A Closer Walk in the Woods

I had another Saturday jam-packed with errands, laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping vaguely planned in my weekend-fogged brain when I got a call from my friend Paul wanting to get out into the gorgeous day. What a great idea! We agreed on Roosevelt Island, which is about a 15 minute walk from my home, and which I am normally kayaking around.

Now why would anyone clean house on a day like this?

Now why would anyone clean house on a day like this?

It is an 88 acre island in the Potomac between Key and Roosevelt bridges. In the 1930’s the Civilian Conservation Corps turned it into a memorial to Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th president and a complex and varied character, known for his foreign policy, corporate reform, and conservation of wild lands. People who only know about his foreign policy should dip into his writing on wilderness preservation and trust busting, which are radical in today’s terms.

The island is full of beautiful paths.

The island is full of beautiful paths.

The island has miles of walking paths through upland forest and marsh. Paul and I circumnavigated it, fellow gardeners noticing native and non-native plants, as well as bird life. This is a varied hardwood forest, with different kinds of oak, tulip poplar, walnut, hickory, and probably some ash. On our way to the marsh, we saw this fallen tree.

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I offered to give it some scale. Huge.

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Because the waters of the marsh are tidal and rise and fall with the level of the river, there are raised walks.

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This place is also duck heaven.

My duck picture was blurry, but this one shows the bald cypress, getting ready to drop its needles.

My duck picture was blurry, but this one shows the bald cypress, getting ready to drop its needles.

We noticed a lot of cat tails and other marsh plants.

That's the Kennedy Center through the undergrowth and across the water.

That’s the Kennedy Center through the undergrowth and across the water.

Even in dappled woodland light, you’re never far from the city, which is what makes this such a lovely quick respite and a miracle of preservation.

I was trying to catch the light on the water.  The mud shows it's low tide.

I was trying to catch the light on the water. The mud shows it’s low tide.

On our way to the central part of the island where the memorial is, I spotted this wild ginger. It looked like a nice little colony.

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The memorial has a statue of TR, and in the warm months, has working fountains and a man made moat, over which small bridges lead out to the rest of the paths.

It's quite a nice memorial space, with willow oaks planted around it.

It’s quite a nice memorial space, with willow oaks planted around it.

It also has quotes from Roosevelt’s speeches and writings. Not among them is “I can run the country or I can watch Alice. I can’t do both.”

Paul did not pose with his arm up, like lots of other people coming through.  He was intent on one of the stone benches...

Paul did not pose with his arm up, like lots of other people coming through. He was intent on one of the stone benches…

On the bridge off the island, while I was gaping around at the water, Paul said, “That guy’s proposing.” We and a dozen other people stopped to give them space. I didn’t capture the down-on-one-knee actual proposal, but here is the aftermath. Best wishes, you two!

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I hope they have many happy returns to enjoy each other and the beautiful views.

Potomac Boat House, viewed through an arch of Key Bridge.

Potomac Boat House, viewed through an arch of Key Bridge.

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35 Responses to Quick Escapes: A Closer Walk in the Woods

  1. I’m always impressed to read about early preservationists. Beatrix Potter did the same for Northern England, a woman ahead of her time.

    I’m glad your friend Paul could entice you outdoors. I’m struck once again by the mixture of history and nature which is your day to day home. I’m glad I got the chance to visit this past year and hope to go back and see so much more.

    The thing about laundry and dishes and grocery shopping is that they are never done. You just get ahead for a bit. So a day like you had should be savored and enjoyed. Well done.

    Like

  2. What a beautiful place! Another on my list of places I’d love to visit.
    Like you say… the chores can always wait, but that specific beautiful day is only available once and should be enjoyed.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. reocochran says:

    This was a gorgeous day and like a poem says, “Cobwebs can wait, go enjoy the day!” Such a beautiful brilliant blur sky shining through golden branches. The hug on the bridge was beautiful yo capture, too. Smiles, Robin

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Glad you got out… I always choose a walk over housework! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Perfect choice of what to do on a gorgeous autumn Saturday…reminds me of the following, from the Persian:

    “If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
    and from thy slender store two loaves
    to thee are left,
    sell one, and from the dole
    buy hyacinths to feed the soul.”

    Though not presently bereft of mortal goods (maybe we all have too many!) you chose to feed the soul and take us along. Thank you!

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  6. Thanks for the lovely walk. Oh to be a duck!

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  7. The thing about DC is here is this great huge city full of people and governmental stuff and also monuments and carefully tended gardens and parks and smack in the middle of the giant river an island with even more carefully tended walks and monuments. The place is a treasure trove!! You have the best of both worlds living there I think Lisa! I too think it is wonderful that you chose ‘out’ rather than ‘in’ on this day.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lisa, what a fabulous post to find today 🙂 I ashamedly have to admit that I’ve never made it over to the island, but now seeing how wonderful it is, it’s found a place on my spring bucket list! Thanks so much for sharing the day’s adventures (proposal included!), and I love that you stepped into the picture of the fallen tree. A true photog, you are, to want to give it scale. Made all the difference! Happy November!

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  9. It literally gave me goosebumps seeing how beautiful your part of the world is! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing your lovely fall walk! I love the photo with you posing so happy and pretty! xo Johanna

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mary Tang says:

    Thanks for the walk; I’d like to do it one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A gorgeous day indeed

    Liked by 1 person

  13. KerryCan says:

    How wonderful, to have such a spot in such a busy, populated area! It makes nature seem even more precious. You absolutely made the right decision to ditch the chores and walk instead. And I love the TR quote–that Alice must’ve been quite the pip!

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  14. What a lovely place to walk!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. danellajoy says:

    Meh, I would of stayed home…….
    Of Course I’m Kidding!!!
    Here’s what I enjoyed, you had mentioned the memorial prior to the picture…. I’m reading your words and I get a picture in my head of what the memorial would look like ……I laughed out loud when I saw your photo of the memorial…. nothing like the picture in my head.
    I realised I had been imagining the New Zealand way of things. A memorial in NZ tends to be a statue with a plaque. It would seem a memorial in America has quite a bit more presence! Oh and thank goodness it does!
    Thank you once again for taking me on a walk Lisa, I truly enjoyed it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Robin says:

    Beautiful walk, Lisa, including the now-engaged couple. I wish I’d seen this post before I did my Walktober round-up so I could include it (with permission, of course). I’ve never been to Roosevelt Island. It looks pretty in fall colors. And that tree! Wow! It’s huge. What a long life it must have had.

    Like

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks, Robin! I should have sent you a link–actually thought about it, but couldn’t remember whether I was supposed to do something else. The prior post could also have been part of Walktober. I’ll do better next year!

      Like

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