Wednesday, July 7, 2010

W&OD Trail: July 4, 2010

Having grown up in Illinois near one of the original rail trails in the United States, getting a rail-trail in Charlottesville would be on top of my "wish list."  Unfortunately, because Amtrak would not agree with my priorities, it is unlikely Cville will get a rail-trail any time soon.

The trail is a popular place!
So whenever I have a bike and the opportunity, I love to check out other rail-trails.  A family visit to friends in Northern Virginia gave me the opportunity to check out some of the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, which heads west past Leesburg from Arlington.

I took several rides on the trail in the Vienna area.  I headed into downtown Vienna to find a couple of geocaches with the children, and later in the day headed west to Reston with Miles before cutting off the trail to go to the host family's swim club pool.

The trail is very popular, with kids learning to bike, spandex-clad power bikers and joggers, and dog walkers among the many demographics on the trail.  Will was almost hit by a couple of tiny fawn crossing the path on our ride to town, so I guess we should count wildlife as trail users, too.  I could not help thinking about how the county government in Illinois reserved the right to transform the Illinois Prairie Path corridor into a highway in the future when that path was first started.  Such an action would likely create a riot, because these trails are such a great resource in their communities.

From the front: Miles, Teddy, Will, Sophie and Phoebe
head through Vienna.
There were some imaginative geocaches that we found along the trail, and these seem to thrive despite the large crowds using the trail.  It makes the ride that much more fun.  Folks living near the W&OD should count themselves as lucky, because they have a healthy alternative to the traffic-choked streets and highways in the DC area.

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