While during my frequent trips to the Nation’s Capitol, I usually drive down George Washington Parkway in route to my office. On many occasions, I fail to take my own advice and stop and smell the proverbial roses.
Recently, while participating on a conference call, I had to pull off the road in order to take some notes for a meeting with a very huge client. I decided to pull into the parking lot at Theodore Roosevelt Island in the District of Columbia.
After taking the call, I realized I had a couple of hours to kill so I got out of the rental car, locked the doors and put my phone on silent and proceeded to walk across the long bridge that led into the actual park.
The bridge, which crosses the Potomac River, was a nice and sturdy concrete bridge with high side rails ensuring no one would fall in. While it was wide enough for a car, there were signs posted everywhere for no motor vehicles and, surprisingly, no bicycles. I say surprisingly because all up and down the G.W. Parkway, there are bike paths that are frequently used by many fitness enthusiasts.
Even though it had just rained, I was wearing my cowboy boots and decided the mud was not going to deter me from this journey. I will say the mud was not the problem but the humidity caused me to increase the water level in the Potomac by at least an inch due to my perspiration.
I was not sure where or how this island came into being but found it was run by the National Park Service. After a little research, I found it was created in the 1930’s by landscape architects after the farmland was overgrown. In my opinion, it made their job easier because it was transformed into a natural forest that was once there.
Today there are miles and miles of trails, which are both woodland and swamp land. While I was not about to walk all of the trails, I did want to see the memorial itself. More specifically the four “walls” that proclaimed the thoughts the conservationist had written as well as provided a voice to his outdoorsman side.
While these words hit a very solemn note in my heart, I was also impressed with the stands or legs from the fountains. The fountains, however, were turned off and all of the water structures were either empty or had little water only from the recent rain storms.
After doing my research and seeing this as one of the signs in the park, I realized this place was more than just a place to visit but also a place to learn. This expanded on the theme of Naturalist and Conservationist that Roosevelt was known for.
While politically, some may not agree with Theodore Roosevelt, his methods or his policies, I look at the other contributions he offered the public. After reading several of his adventures and outside of Ernest Hemingway and David Livingstone, I feel he brings to life the inner being of the fire or wildness within my heart.
As with all of the National Parks, they close at dark and no alcohol or fires allowed. Regardless of this limit, I think it was well worth the visit and am willing to return with a little more time dedicated to walking the trails. The wildlife and signs of woodland creatures, seen along the trails alone, makes me want to do this sooner, rather than later.
For more information the website is: http://www.nps.gov/this/index.htm
For a parting shot, this is what I was blessed with as I was walking back toward the exit.
Use your instincts to survive