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An illustrious past meets an exceptional future.
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IRC Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2017
By: IRC Blog

Retirement community’s trail blazers create a natural pathway

A small creek meanders through a ravine at the back of Ingleside at Rock Creek. Although it’s only steps away from the buildings that form this unique retirement community, a resident-created trail along the little creek transports you into the heart of nature. The songs of birds accompany your stroll along the trail, and you might see a dragonfly or lacewing flit above the water or a deer peering through the trees of Rock Creek Park. A bench beside the water invites you to sit for a bit and contemplate the beauty of the setting.

The trail is popular with many residents, Fitness Manager Christopher Goldman says.  It has been in place for several years, and this fall, residents, staff and volunteers rolled up their sleeves, pulled on their boots and put in hours of hard work to clean it up and improve it. Goldman and Coordinator of Life Enrichment and Volunteers Michele High helped to organize the cleanup efforts, along with the residents’ Grounds and Building Committee. 

“They created a special subcommittee to oversee some of the trail initiatives,” Goldman says. 

Over several work daysthis fall and winter, 14 residents and two staff people smoothed out the trail bed, removed overgrowth and rubbish, and laid down wood chips along the pathway. On Veterans Day, a group of 50 people from technology company Accenture joined the effort. 

The volunteers are using reclaimed tree materials to assure that the trail blends in naturally with the setting. 

“Our landscaping company chipped cut-down trees, and we used some of the logs to create the trail borders,” Goldman says. A local nursery contributed more wood chips. 

The volunteers accomplished a lot this fall—only a small section of the trail remains to be covered with chips. More projects are planned for next spring, including removal of some predatory vines and further beautification. 

The trail is the brainchild of Thompson, a resident who saw an opportunity at the back of the campus to create a walking path in the ravine, a hillside area covered with thorn bushes so thick that the deer could not get through, and a forest of 8-foot, bamboo-like weeds along the stream. 

On his own initiative, Thompson recruited the garden crew from his house to cut down the thorns and weeds, and used a mattock to cut trails in the hillside at the best gradient for walking. He also built two bridges and three stairways linking the trails together. He also planted evergreens along the trails. He lined the trails with green plastic edging and persuaded Ingleside to spread wood chips on the trails. The Women’s Board contributed $1,500 for one of the first projects, putting concrete slabs on the patio behind the manor house. 

“He began the project through his own sweat to blaze the trail for us,” Goldman said. Thompson created an intricate working design for the trail. Two levels of trail form a circuit, with trailheads at each end. The trail can also be accessed in the middle through a door from the parking garage. Bridges were installed in some sections, along with graduated steps and switchbacks. 

Eventually Thompson was unable to maintain the trail. It took the arrival of newcomers to revive Thompson’s vision of the ravine as a beautiful recreational park that adds to the variety of life at Ingleside. 

The nature trail is just one example of Ingleside at Rock Creek residents’ engagement with their community and dedication to improving it. Adjacent to beautiful Rock Creek Park and easily accessible to shops, restaurants and the world-class cultural and entertainment venues of D.C., this very special continuing care retirement community attracts an accomplished group of residents with diverse backgrounds in business, the arts, academia and government service. Members are active participants in many aspects of running the community, from overseeing finances to organizing lectures, performances and events. 

If you would like to learn more about the engaged lifestyle and elegant retirement living Ingleside at Rock Creek offers, please join us at one of our upcoming events, call us at 202-407-9672 or request more information here.



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