Saturday, March 23, 2019

Glenmont Walk: A Long Walk on a New Path

I have been working out pretty hard lately and hadn't taken a rest day for a while, so I decided that I should do my first Crow Walk on March 17, 2019, from the Glenmont Metro Station. It turns out, however, that Glenmont Station is seven and a half goddamn miles from my house, so I don't think that counts as a rest day even though I was walking.

Glenmont Station is the last stop on the Red Line. I had been to this station once to buy a special Metro card for the second Obama inauguration, but I'd never taken a train there. Upon first glance, it was much like every other Metro station in existence. Wikipedia seems to think it is of note that Glenmont is the only Red Line station to have a six-coffer design, leading me down a rabbit-hole that started with "what the hell is a coffer," and ending with "I have so many questions about coffers."

Photo of the platform of the Glenmont Metro Station with a train waiting.
I could only find evidence of four coffers for the longest time until I realized that the train was blocking one of them.
The Glenmont Station was planned ever since the first layout was approved in 1968, but wasn't actually opened until 1998 due to a morass of bickering amongst politicians, political bodies, and businesses. I could go into it—and it is actually kind of interesting and dramatic—but I don't know that I really need to considering you can go to the Wikipedia page that lays out the whole story in more detail than I would. Also, my eyes kinda glazed over during parts of the story, so I'm not sure I fully understand it.

What I do understand is that Glenmont is not actually 7.5 miles from my house as the crow flies (ha!). But I wanted to take the Matthew Henson trail to the Rock Creek trail and that is what added all the mileage.

Map of my walk including mileage notations.
I recently figured out how to show you this map instead of a tiny thumbnail and am feeling preeeetty proud of myself.

The Matthew Henson trail is almost two miles away from the station, but you can get there without walking down Georgia Avenue, which is where Glenmont Station is. I walked through neighborhoods for about a mile and then doubled back to Georgia, because I wanted to spend the most time on the trail that I could.

You guys. People throw a TON of trash onto the side of Georgia Avenue. It's kind of a bummer. If anyone wants an old-school TV, I know where you can find one. I was very happy to arrive at the Georgia Ave trailhead so I could make a left turn off of the trash heap.

two photos, one a selfie of me in front of the sign for the trailhead and one of the trail itself.
Most of the trash on this trail was empty beer bottles. People are the worst.

The walk itself was really nice. It was a gorgeous day, as you can see. It was warm enough that my capri leggings and light jacket were fine, although cold enough that eventually I wished I'd brought gloves because evidently walking doesn't warm up your hands all that much.

I'd never walked the Matthew Henson trail—and I LOVE checking out new-to-me running routes—so I was excited to check it out. There was even a trail-side informational display about Hanson, who I'd not thought about at all, but turned out to be very interesting. He was a Maryland-born black explorer who adventured with Robert Peary and planted an American flag at the North Pole in 1909.

On that same display there was also a set of instructions for walking on the trail that included the wise suggestion to "keep alert for surprise actions by dogs and children." Very sage advice for pretty much any day in your life, honestly.

Sadly, the day was yet another day without crows, but I spent a chunk of time watching three vultures circling the trail. They were pretty cool. I also found this fun, colorful little duck:

Photo of a duck (a mallard?) on a rock in the creek.
I forgot to quack at him.

Eventually this trail dumped me onto the Rock Creek Trail, which is very familiar to me. I stayed on it until I hit Knowles Avenue and walked up it into Kensington. The elevation on this walk was easy and fun and felt mostly level (except for those two hills at the end).

Elevation map spanning about 400 vertical feet. Much of it was downhill.
The break in the graph at about two hours is where I paused my Garmin at a stoplight and forgot to turn it back on right away.
So there we have my first Project Crow walk. Interestingly, I don't walk all that much slower than I run. (I mean, I do, but I expected each mile to take about 20 minutes. Even with stopping to gawk at signs and birds, I was only slightly over 18-minute miles.) My final review of my route: If you live in the area and haven't traveled on the Matthew Henson trail, I highly recommend it.


Photo of me outside standing in front of a Glenmont Station sign

Metro station: Glenmont
Line: Red Line
Distance: 7.51 miles
Time: 2:17:59
Pace: 18:23 min/mi
Crow sightings: None, but I saw vultures and a delightful duck.
Interesting tidbit: I found some fun online reviews for the Glenmont Station, including "staircase smells like pee every time," "fuck the red line!" "you can literally get away with anything on the 3rd floor of the garage," and the super descriptive and very helpful, "farecard machine."

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