Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spring Run

Despite the fact that most cherry blossoms have been long gone these last two weeks, the unpredictability of nature had the Cherry Blossom Festival on the calendar for this weekend. Many, many tourists had booked their trips in advance, and as it was impossible to get anywhere near the Tidal Basin either yesterday or today, we redirected our dog walking to Roosevelt Island on Saturday and then Hains Point today.

To be kind, East Potomac Park is a real fixer-upper with plenty of potential and lots of location, location, location. That said, this place, which actually houses the National Capital Region Headquarters of the Park Service, is a dismaying mess of flooded and rotting sidewalks, flotsam-and-jetsam-littered green space, and breathtaking views. Even so, it is still a popular destination for city families and fisherman, and us, today.

We started our walk around the peninsula on the northern side across from the golf course club house. Sunshine, a nice breeze, and an unbeatable view of the waterfront across the Potomac Channel made it almost possible to ignore the trash and gaping holes in the walk way. Several folks greeted us as we walked, and as we went on, we noticed many people looking over the railing into the choppy water below. Pausing to see what all the fuss was, we were amazed by a ribbon of large silver fish swimming along the side. Hundreds flashed by in both directions on what seemed to be a super highway for fish.

"What are they?" a woman ahead of us asked a fisherman nearby.

"Herring," he told her. "They run every spring like this. They live in the ocean but return to the Potomac to spawn."

We watched in awe for more than a moment as an endless stream of Alewife and Blue River Herring darted below us, and as we continued around the point, it was impossible not to stop and check to see if they were still there.

They were, every time.

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