Theodore Roosevelt of Rock Creek Park
President Theodore Roosevelt. In his Autobiography he remarked, “When our children were little, we were for several winters in Washington, and each Sunday afternoon the whole family spent in Rock Creek Park, which was then very real country indeed.” As an advocate of the “Strenuous Life,” he was always a man in motion who involved the entire family.
Teddy was particularly fond of what he called “scrambles,” an exhausting cross-country hikes. His favorite place for this was in Rock Creek Park, where he would lead his children, members of his “Tennis Cabinet,” and various hapless foreign diplomats on grueling treks through the woods, hills, and creek itself. His favorite method was his point-to-point strategy, whereby he would point to a spot on a ridge and then proceed in a straight line directly in that direction. His motto was “Over, under or Through – But Never Around.” (
Theodore Roosevelt explained in hi autobiography, “While in the White House I always tried to get a couple hours’ exercise in the afternoons – sometimes tennis, more often riding, or else a rough cross-country walk, perhaps down Rock Creek… Often, especially in the winters and early springs, we would arrange for a point to point walk, not turning aside for anything – for instance, swimming Rock Creek or even the Potomac if it came in our way. Of course under such circumstances we had to arrange that our return to Washington should be when it was dark, so that our appearance would scandalize no one. On several occasions we thus swam Rock Creek in the early spring when the ice was floating thick upon it We liked Rock Creek for these walks because we could do so much scrambling and climbing along the cliffs Once I invited an entire class of officers who were attending lectures at the War College to come on one of these walks; I chose a route which gave us the hardest climbing along the rocks and the deepest crossings of the creek; and my army friends enjoyed it hugely –being the right sort, to a man.”
Now and then Theodore Roosevelt and his children can be spotted in the twilight still gamboling in the park.
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