National Park Access Free

2014 National Park "Free Entry" Dates!! January 20th Martin Luther King Jr. Day; February 15-17th Presidents Day weekend; April 19-20th opening weekend of National Park Week; August 25th National Park Service Birthday; September 27th National Public Lands Day; November 11th Veterans Day

Monday, February 17, 2014

#9 - Washington, D.C.

When the snow, ice, mud and cold have got you down, one option is to head into the city for an urban hike! That's what we did today, as Bonnie and I logged 9.73 miles on a visit to our Nation's Capital. Step inside this Gatehouse to the Capitol Grounds (relocated to the National Mall in 1880) and check out the monuments and parks we explored today.

West Capitol Grounds Gatehouse

What's best about a hike in a city like Washington? There are so many attractions and the landscape here was made for covering some serious miles. We took to the Hill to start, Capitol Hill that is, to check out the Capitol Building, Library of Congress, and the United States Supreme Court!

US Capitol
With your back to the Washington Monument, the Senate is in the chamber to the left, the House to the right!
Library of Congress
United States Supreme Court
Seeing these three stalwarts of our national heritage certainly gets the blood flowing, and the statues and fountains make for a beautiful area, however, we're just getting started! We have ground to cover and the next stop was at the United States Navy Memorial.

The United States Navy Memorial is just plain cool! Not only is there a number of outdoor exhibits to view, there is also the Naval Heritage Center with indoor displays, history, and other interesting information.

Me with The Lone Sailor: a tribute to all personnel of the sea services

The National Archives - as seen from the US Navy Memorial -
The Emancipation Proclamation was on display this Presidents Day weekend
We continued up Pennsylvania Avenue, beyond the Old Post Office building, beyond Freedom Plaza, past the Willard Hotel and Old Ebbitt Grill. We found when we arrived at the White House that this would be a good place to take a small break, as it is now a pedestrian only zone, and everyone there seemed to enjoy the tranquility of being away from the crowded city streets. With Lafayette Park directly across from the White House, there was ample space to pause for a drink and refuel.

The White House
George Washington was the only President to not live in the White House -
though he did oversee it's construction!

As far as the hike itself, everything was going fine! Yes, it's hard to not become a tourist yourself around all the monuments and history, but we stayed true to plan and headed toward the reflecting pool, the Lincoln Memorial, and the somberness of the WWII, Korean, and Vietnam War Memorials.

Like the Navy Memorial, the Army Memorial, the Revolutionary War and Civil War Memorials we had already passed on today's hike, we paused to read inscriptions, letters left, and to see the Valentine's day flowers left behind.

Korean War Memorial

Vietnam Women's Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Franklin Delano Roosevelt summed up war pretty good. His thoughts are next, as we headed to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Tidal Basin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and Jefferson Memorial to finish our hike.

On to the Tidal Basin - and on to dropping temperatures!

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial -  along the Tidal Basin - Opened August 22, 2011
Frozen Tidal Basin - looking toward the Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial
Thomas Jefferson

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Stricken with polio at age 39
Only 4 term President 1933–1945

FDR and his dog Fala

We continued on, completing our hike as the night came upon us. All in all it was a great day, to be in our Nations Capital on Presidents Day weekend.

Back to the wilderness after the thaw!


Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Confederate Soldiers

Ulysses S. Grant

Union Soldiers

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
DC anti-war / anti-nuclear protester

General Rochambeau, French nobleman who played a major role during the American Revolution

Civil War Veterans of the Union Army and US Navy

Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski - American Revolution


  1. Some fantastic photos here Mike - I did the tourist trail when I visited Washington but never as much as this - I thought the Vietnam War Memorial hugely impressive but would have liked to visit the Lonesome Sailor - loving the Blog - Keep on Hiking

  2. Thanks Steve! The snow is expected to melt, so that should help! One interesting fact on the Lone Sailor: the Sailor who was photographed for the statue is from my hometown. We grew up together, with him living just two blocks away!