Sunday, January 31, 2010

Holy Mather Gorge!

Last weekend, when the greater D.C. area wasn't covered in six inches of snow, I took advantage of Saturday's beautiful weather to do some "hiking" (you know me, it couldn't have been too intense or I probably would have twisted an ankle and ended up plummeting to jagged rocks below, rendering myself incapable of even blogging about such an experience due to extensive injuries...) and exploring in Great Falls Park.

The undeniable highlight of Great Falls Park is admiring the Potomac River rushing through the Mather Gorge, complete with surprisingly accessible viewing platforms.  Approachable from both the Virginia and Maryland sides!  Yeah, I'm still growing accustomed to the fact that I can be in two states and a district (D.C., I just don't know what to really call you - I want to refer to you as a "state," but you're just not) in a matter of mere minutes.

To borrow the National Park Service's words since my pictures don't really do it justice, "the falls consist of cascading rapids and several 20 foot waterfalls, with a total 76 foot drop in elevation over a distance of less than a mile. The Potomac River narrows from nearly 1,000 feet, just above the falls, to between 60 and 100 feet wide as it rushes through Mather Gorge, a short distance below the falls. The Great Falls of the Potomac display the steepest and most spectacular fall line rapids of any eastern river."  Sounds impressive, right?  It really is!  Got as close as I wanted to, though - there were some crazy kayakers attempting water feats that are completely beyond my realm of physical capability.

The camera and I also spent some quality time indulging in my unnatural obsession with zooming in on tiny little pieces of nature.  I can't help it, I'm just fascinated by all the stuff that grows on stuff here.  You just don't get it in West Texas.  And look, there was a little snow still hanging around from Snowpocalypse!  Little patches o' snow + frozen rivers/creeks = cool (literally) nature moments.

Great Falls Park is also home to the crazy-old Patowmack Canal, which demonstrated some early lock engineering and allowed the colonial folk to get themselves and all their stuff from place to place.  Nice work, colonial folk.

For excessive and kinda blah (hey, it's January - a whole lot of brown and gray going on out there) nature pictures, check out the Picasa album.  And for just a dash of human interest amongst the rocks, water, twigs, and mud...


Sully said...

I do love all your photos and how they flesh out your descriptions so beautifully!

Erin said...

Thank you so much, Kerry Marie! I like smashing the words and the pictures together...two of my favorite things.