Great Falls National Park ~

We continue to wait.  Six weeks plus three days and counting…  To silence the inner countdown clock, if even for just a few hours, we took ourselves on a bit of an adventure to Great Falls National Park where we took a good long hike and spent the afternoon communing with Mother Nature.  And then we stuffed ourselves with hamburgers, fries and a decadent milk shake topped with whipped cream and a cherry.  It did the trick.  Unfortunately, today the inner countdown clock is ticking louder than ever.

As it turns out, Great Falls National Park is just 20 minutes down the road from where we are house sitting.  The forecast called for a blue sky and temps hovering around 80 degrees.  How could we not go?

The interesting tidbit about Washington, DC and the surrounding area which includes Virginia and Maryland is that all three seemingly run together.  One can visit Great Falls National Park in Virginia and/or Maryland but many do not realize the falls are just 15 miles above the nation’s capital.  Okay.  We didn’t know that factoid either, but having lived in the area for three years now, we do know how close in proximity everything is.  GPS will tell you, as you drive along and within miles of each other, “Welcome to Virginia” or “Welcome to Maryland” and of course, “Welcome to Washington, DC” and you’ve only been in the car for 30 minutes or less.

For the history buffs among us…  George Washington envisioned a systems of canals that would allow the transportation and trade of goods between the east and the Ohio Valley, which would in effect tie the country together.  A series of five canals were constructed in order to navigate the Potomac River.  Where the river could not be navigated, at the point of the Great Falls and rapids, locks were built.  Keep in mind the design and construction of the canals and locks took place between 1785 – 1802 and the canals were in use for 26 years transporting flour, corn, whiskey, etc.  It was quite the engineering feat of the day and remnants of the locks can still be seen.

Great Falls National Park

Remnants of the locks along the canal at Great Fall National Park

Communing with Mother Nature always tends to soothe our souls, or at the very least quiet the damn countdown clock.  Plain and simple, it feels good to walk through the forest of trees while watching the rippling water of the Potomac flow nearby.  With one exception.  I am not a fan of snakes.  This cannot be emphasized enough.  As it happens, near our temporary home, there is a hiking trail that crosses a creek and I have seen several snakes basking in the warmth of the sun, on a rock in the middle of the creek.  I suppose all creatures are entitled to enjoy the warmth of the sun.  I did not know (not being a fan) that snakes are such agile swimmers.  And, now that I’ve witnessed a copperhead snake swimming in the calm water of the Potomac River above the Great Falls, I am fairly confident that it will be a cold day in hell before I ever again wade into a river.  But, I digress.

So, we continue to wait.  I’m pretty sure the universe – and the country of Portugal – are trying to teach me a lesson in patience, something I sorely lack.  If you look up the word patience in the dictionary, you’ll find my picture.  In the meantime, we continue to be grateful for our lovely house sit and the days are being put to good use.  We have mapped out our Eurail journey and booked accommodations at each destination.  We are scheduled to board our first train on July 15 in Brussels.

Yes, I know, that’s just four weeks plus five days from now.  Tick. Tick. Tick.

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25 Responses to Great Falls National Park ~

  • You found a very good distraction, beautiful place. The waiting game is frustrating, we are also impatient to sell our house, but all we can do is keep fingers crossed and wait. Your Eurail trip sounds exciting, not long before you start, I am looking forward to follow you
    Gilda Baxter recently posted…Fifty Shades of Downsizing – It’s NOT A One Size Fits All ApproachMy Profile

    • It was a great distraction, Gilda, definitely helped to take our minds off of the ticking clock, at least for a few hours. Your house will sell, every house has a buyer. Unfortunately, it involves those pesky tasks of waiting and having patience!

  • Gotta watch out for those copper heads.

    • As I said, not a fan and I know you’re not either. I will never look at a rock at a river’s edge in the same way again. Well, actually, I mean I’ll look at that rock six ways to Sunday and back again before I step lightly! 🙂

  • Eesh- Snakes, and copperheads at that, would keep me from any wading too! Loved the history tidbits and it’s interesting to think of the former general, President Washington, conceiving such a farsighted plan of canals and locks to move both goods and people around the new nation. Great Falls National Park sounds like a wonderful way to pass some time while you’re counting the days and waiting for your visas. My fingers are crossed that it will be this week for the good news. BTW, how’s that lesson is patience going?
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted…A Walk Across Prague’s Charles Bridge, Three Towers and Thirty StatuesMy Profile

    • My thoughts exactly… Eesh! George Washington was definitely a man of his time and many of his accomplishments can be seen in this area. Another fascinating place to visit is Harper’s Ferry. This is where it all got started after all!

      Lesson in patience?! Bah!

  • This is a spectacular place, Patti! I really loved the pictures and the video!
    Agness of eTramping recently posted…Not Just Disneyland – Alternative Attractions in FloridaMy Profile

    • It really is very pretty. This was our first visit and we hope to return soon. We were on the Virginia side of the river and we’d like to see it from the other side, in the state of Maryland.

  • I believe you are doing very good with patience, which I also lack. Best for my spirit is also touching bases with nature, but not touching snakes although do find them fascinating to watch. Yet it’s hard to imagine such beautiful forest near to a city.

    • It is pretty crazy, Gaelyn, to find such a beautiful national park just minutes from the city. It is wonderful though, I know you’d enjoy it.

  • I know the agony of waiting for an upcoming adventure, but you’ll be on that plane before you know it 🙂 I was so impressed with the US parks and would love to visit more of them. Lucky you have such beautiful distractions on your doorstep (minus the snakes!).
    Amy recently posted…Ear plugs, emergency tissues and yoga, our top travel health tipsMy Profile

    • The National Park system here in the US is outstanding and has so much to offer visitors, it’s one of the country’s greatest assets. I know you’ll return one day and have the chance to explore more – you really need to visit the southwest!

  • Enjoying following along on your adventures. Can’t wait to read about your Eurail journey!

    • Thank you, Tammy! We are excited about our upcoming journey and it’s good to know you’ll be with us in spirit!

  • Good way to distract yourself from the stress! That is a gorgeous place for a hike!

    • It is a beautiful park, Kevin, and so surprising to find it so close to the city. The park has beautiful and well-maintained hiking trails that run parallel to the Potomac River. It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

  • What a gorgeous spot in the world. Loved your videos. Mid July will be here in a blink of an eye! Best of luck for your upcoming journey and adventure.

    Peta

  • Glad you are seeing the natural DMV. We love our Northern Virginia coolness.
    Charles McCool recently posted…8 Great Casual Places to Eat in Charlottesville VirginiaMy Profile

    • We’ve been enjoying getting to know the McLean and Great Falls area while we housesit. Everything is SO green and lush in this area and the falls are wonderful!

  • Hi Patti, I just stumbled across your Blog and have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures in retirement. I am curious about all the waiting for the Visa’s for Portugal and I have to plead ignorance with regard to your situation and Visa’s in general, since I have only read a few posts. This post suggested that you are scheduled to travel to Brussels in July, so why do you have to wait for Visa’s? I thought US Citizens could travel for up to three months without a Visa? I assume your final destination will be Portugal?? for an extended stay, necessitating the Visa? Confused, but intrigued.

    • Thanks for finding us, Suzanne. Yes, you’re correct in that US citizens can travel to Europe without visas. However, there are 90-day restrictions for countries within the Schengen Regions. After 90 days in the Schengen, one must leave for 90 days before returning. Once we obtain our Portuguese residency visas, we have 4 months of flexible travel in/out of the Schengen. The added month is a perk but for us the end goal is to renew our 4-month visas for 1-year visas, thus giving us a total of 16 months of flexible travel and the ability to spend extended time in Portugal. If you read our post, ‘Portugal: The Expat Experiment” it explains a bit more.

  • You must be going f***ing crazy. I’d be going nuts.
    I see you wrote this 12 days ago. Hope you’ve gotten news in the meantime.

    Frank (bbqboy)
    Frank recently posted…Tips on visiting Creel, Copper Canyon, Mexico. And what you really have to know.My Profile

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We are Patti and Abi. We retired early to live a simpler life, travel the world and hopefully, inspire others to redefine retirement.

 

2 years, 352 days ago!

 

 

 

 

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