Summer Is For Adventure: Elle Runs DC

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When I think of Washington DC I think of politicians, Scandal and the White House. I have to admit that if I were to make a list of top 20 places to visit, DC would not have made that list a few weeks ago. So when my sister invited me to spend Labor Day weekend with her I didn’t expect much adventure outside of just getting to hang out with her. I was simply excited to get away for the weekend and see her new apartment.

Like me, my sister Vivian loves to plan and it doesn’t hurt that she has very similar interests, which mostly include eating and running. Normally I would have started a Google Doc and Map to begin plotting my trip, but since I had no clue about DC I let her take the lead. Naturally, her initial emails included mostly restaurant links, with some running options sprinkled in. Then she mentioned landmarks along those routes and even some hiking spots, which began to peak my interest.

The first few days were spent working remotely but Saturday marked our first real day of freedom and I was amazed at how much of a running community DC was. As we ran the streets of DC and saw landmarks like the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, and Washington Monument, we were constantly passing other runners of all types. Despite the sweltering humidity and crowded masses of tourists, people were out there doin’ their thang, and I have mad respect for that. It definitely made me appreciate the steady 70 degrees and sunny weather of Venice beach..

Another thing I learned that weekend is that DC is an unknown hiking oasis. On Sunday we hiked Section A of the Billy Goat Trail at Great Falls in Potomac, MD and I’ve never been so in love. Okay, I’ll be real. The heat and humidity levels at 1PM while hiking is NOT the greatest feeling and I was definitely sweating my life away. But despite how disgusting and dehydrated I felt at any given point, I still enjoyed every minute of the hike.

We started at the Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center and spent a few minutes reading about the history of the C&O Canal. Then we headed out along the trail, which started flat and easy with trees and water surrounding the path on both sides. On the left was a calm and serene lake, on the right we caught glimpses of the roaring Potomac River. We made a pit stop at the Great Falls overlook (b e a u t i f u l) before finding our way to the Billy Goat Trailhead marker and this is where the real challenge began. Although there was a faint trail, much of the hike felt like bouldering and looking for marked trees to find the right path.

Even in the shaded areas the heat was close to unbearable. Standing in the rays of the sun for too long resulted in pink and hot patches of skin, not to mention a very prominent RBF. But the views were so spectacular and calming, and quenched my thirst for the outdoors. Water, rock, tree, sun, and sky. What more is there to want? If I had an endless supply of water and a hat I think I would have stayed for the rest of the day. However, we called it quits after finishing Section A due to lack of water and an approaching storm. The timing worked out perfectly.

So basically it was an amazing trip to DC and I’m seriously already bookmarking places for my next visit. I highly recommend the Billy Goat Trail and hope I can finish the rest of the sections one day. I can’t even sum up my feelings about the cuisine in a paragraph so look forward to a post dedicated to all the good eats in DC!