Kaid Benfield Archive


A musical & visual homage to one of our greatest city parks

Kaid Benfield

Posted October 7, 2011 at 1:27PM

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  cycling in Rock Creek Park (by: Rebecca Schley, creative commons license)

I consider myself very fortunate to live a little over a mile from one of the country's great places of urban refuge, Washington's Rock Creek Park.  It's a rare weekend that I'm not there riding my bike, choosing from an array of routes between 15 and 40 miles.  If you're a cyclist, it's a place where you can select the trail and ride at a leisurely place, or go flat out in a paceline on Beach Drive.  I'm frequently doing the latter, for at least part of the ride, and often spontaneously with other riders I didn't know until one of us hopped on the other's wheel and we started trading "pulls" into the wind.  The camaraderie between riders working together is one of the great pleasures of the sport.

Much of the time, I run into someone I do know and we say a quick hello as we go about our fitness regime.  There are long flat stretches but also hills if you know where to find them, as well as a couple of nice descents.  But it's always a serious climb at the end out of the creek's valley back up to my house.

If cycling isn't your thing, you can picnic, relax, hike, run, skate, ride a horse, walk with your dog, play tennis, or enjoy one of the country's great zoos, among other things.  This being DC, Rock Creek is actually a national park, at least the portion within the city limits.  But there is also a substantial extension north into Maryland, going out as far as the creek's source at Lake Needwood.  The Maryland part is administered by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Rock Creek, like so much of nature, is at its best in the fall, in October.  Right now.  I could go on, but the real point of my post is to introduce you to a beautiful short video that conveys the park's beauty and spirit much better than more words from me would.  It was shot around Peirce Mill, where I usually enter the park on my rides.  Watch it in full-screen mode if you can.  Enjoy:


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