I probably ride on the Mount Vernon Trail over 200 times per year. It’s incredible how much variety I see. There are so many different kinds of wild animals: bald eagles, ospreys, beavers, egrets, snapping turtles, cormorants, herons, red winged blackbirds, ducks, geese, raccoons, bunnies, possums, crows, robins, cardinals, woodpeckers, deer, and on and on. I see planes taking off and landing, sailboats, crew teams in their shells, kayaks, cruise ships, dinner ships, fishing boats, canoes, folders, fixies, recumbents, trikes, racing bikes, touring bikes, rollerbladers, walkers and runners. I see old row houses, restaurants, apartment buildings, a coal fired power plant, trees, underbrush, office buildings, bridges, tunnels, monuments, river and streams. And even though motor vehicles are not allowed on the trail, I see this in the same place every year:
Now, you may be wondering how this happened. Here’s my guess.
About 3 miles south of Alexandria, the Mount Vernon Trail merges with a narrow suburban street called Northdown Road. It crosses over the GW Parkway on the stone bridge then the trail begins again on the other side.
This driver came down Northdown Road and saw the trail and, despite the posted signs warning that no motor vehicles are allowed, she kept right on going down the narrow winding hill. After a couple hundred yards she realized that maybe, just maybe, she should be driving here so she stopped. Then she puts it in reverse and starts backing up. Maybe she swerves to avoid a cyclists speeding down the hill behind her or maybe the task of driving a big ass truck in reverse up a winding hill is beyond her abilities or maybe she tries to do a three-point turn in reverse. Regardless, she ended up backing off the edge of the trail down an embankment. I once helped an ambulance back out of this section of the trail. It took him a good 20 minutes and lots of stops and starts.
I think the only way to get her truck out is to attach a cable to it and pull it back up to the trail. Once she’s back on pavement somebody can help her back up. I hope she doesn’t drive forward though, because she would have to cross a wooden bridge that is not designed to support the weight of a motor vehicle.