By Andrea Kenner

Hiking the Northwest Branch Trail

I like to discover beautiful places to visit in the mid-Atlantic region, and I like to share my favorite places with others. I’ve recently discovered this one, and I’m sorry it took me so long. The Northwest Branch Trail is inside the Capital Beltway, so it’s close to Washington, D.C. It’s a seven-mile, paved trail that follows the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River through leafy, wooded terrain, with rock formations on both sides. The trail connects Prince George’s County with Montgomery County, and it runs from Hyattsville, Md. all the way to the Beltway in Silver Spring. Here’s a Mesh gallery of shots I took while meandering down the trails.

The lovely, restored Adelphi Mill sits on its banks.

Adelphi Mill in Adelphi, Md., near the Northwest Branch trail. (Photo by Andrea Kenner)
Adelphi Mill in Adelphi, Md., near the Northwest Branch trail. (Photo by Andrea Kenner)

It’s cool in the summer, and almost makes you forget you’re in a dense, urban area. But please don’t forget — it’s always safer to walk with a dog or a human friend.

Where do YOU like to commune with nature? If you’re in the mid-Atlantic region, do you have any favorite places you’d like to share? Please let me know in the comments.

Hiking at Savage Mill

I’ve been to Savage Mill in Savage, Md., several times before, but never as a hiking destination. I will definitely go back there again!

Savage Mill has a funky, old-timey vibe. It has lots of places for an after-hike lunch, including the Ram’s Head Tavern. According to Wikipedia:

“The Savage Mill is a historic cotton mill complex in Savage, Maryland, which has been turned into a complex of shops and restaurants. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. It is located in the Savage Mill Historic District. Buildings in the complex date from 1822 to 1916.”

The Savage Mill is close to Savage Park, which features a number of hiking trails. We hiked on some of those trails today. Here are some pictures from the day.

Tulips in the early morning sunshine
Tulips in the early morning sunshine
Hikers on the Bollman Truss railroad bridge adjacent to the mill
Hikers on the Bollman Truss railroad bridge adjacent to the mill
Rocks and rapids on the Patuxent River
Rocks and rapids on the Patuxent River
A bridge support on the Bollman Truss bridge
A bridge support on the Bollman Truss bridge
Pansies at trail's end
Pansies at trail’s end
streambed

Hiking at Lake Audubon

I participated in a 4.5 mile hike today at Lake Audubon in Reston, Va., with the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group. Even though it’s officially spring, it still looked a lot like winter today, and the air was chilly and damp.

streambed

It was a wonderful hike, and as a first sign of spring, we saw lots of skunk cabbages poking up in some of the swampy spots.

skunk-cabbage

Spring will get here, it’s just taking its own sweet time!

Connect

Today’s Photography 101 theme is “connect.” Today, I connected with a group of people who love to hike!

I’m a member of the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group, and this evening’s hike was the first of many weekly hikes at Centennial Park in Ellicott City, Md.. for the 2015 hiking season. The evening was warm, even though there’s still snow on the ground. The snow didn’t deter these intrepid hikers, who were all excited about getting outdoors and connecting with other hikers after a long, cold winter slog!

connect

A winter day at Brookside Gardens

This afternoon, we visited Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Md. And while it may look like the photos below were taken at two different times and in two different places, they were all taken today in snowy Maryland. That’s because Brookside Gardens has a conservatory with a beautiful array of tropical flowers and plants.

You can view the photos as a slideshow by clicking one and using the right and left arrows to scroll through them. To close the slideshow, click the x in the upper-left corner

And, if you’re interested in visiting Brookside Gardens, here are their hours and directions, along with a map.