intersection marker (blogger's 2010 photo)

Today a friend and I went for a walk on the trail that has been developed on an abandoned railroad bed in our suburban Maryland county south of the District of Columbia.

The trail is edged with nature’s simplicity and beauty: no peaks, no special scenic stop, just unadorned wooded wilderness all around us.

Today it was raining lightly as we walked next to one another. We passed through the beginning gateway shown below, over Pages Swamp and what I believe is the head water of Port Tobacco stream to a second fenced bridge that reveals a wide vista of wintertime flora and fauna.

It was a nice walk in the gentle rain. We enjoyed the quiet and solitude.

It is a special blessing for me to have a companion and to know we can enjoy the simple pleasure of walking together.

Here is a description of the trail with accompanying pictures taken from its website location:

Located just 18 miles south of our Nation’s Capital, the Indian Head Rail Trail offers a very unique natural outdoor experience – seemingly far removed from development and life’s often chaotic pace. The IHRT was a generous gift through the Department of the Interior’s Federal Lands to Parks Program. This 13 miles paved trail traverses approximately halfway across Charles County, connecting the Town of Indian Head to Rt. 301 in White Plains.

Originally built in 1918 as a railroad supply route for the Navy’s Indian Head Powder Factory, this elevated rail bed passes through the Mattawoman Creek stream valley and some of Southern Maryland’s most scenic and undeveloped natural areas. Although trail heads start-off in a slightly urban setting, almost immediately the environment changes. Cyclists, hikers and nature enthusiasts will experience the surroundings of mature forests, natural wetlands and occasional farmland.

Flora, fauna and wildlife abound. With great consistency visitors can expect to view wild turkey, deer, herons, bald eagles, egrets and a variety of waterfowl. One particular area (near mile marker 2) offers a spectacular view of the backwaters of Mattawoman Creek as it meanders its way towards the Potomac River.

If it’s wildflowers, butterflies or dragonflies that grab your fancy, the trail’s 100′ wide corridor presents an outstanding habitat for nature’s subtle and graceful beauty. Trail features numerous bridges, interpretative signs and rest area benches.