Greenbelt Park is encircled by a 5.3-mile Perimeter Trail, a little longer than I want to stay out there by myself on your average afternoon, so I'm dividing it into four parts. The first section is accessed from the park entrance road, just before you reach the Park Headquarters building. It skirts around the edge of the park on the outside of the loop road (which means, at times, the trail is divided from a largish highway only by a chainlink fence and a few trees; other times, you are well inside the wooded area). Eventually the trail takes a sharp jog south to parallel the Park Central Road, at which point I headed straight instead, towards the road and the Dogwood Trail parking area, then back around the loop by road until I reached my car where I'd left it at the Sweetgum picnic area. Probably I covered just under 1 mile of the actual Perimeter Trail.
It was a 40-ish degree early spring day, and there were people in the park on this occasion, driving cars or walking on the roads. However, as usual, I did not encounter any other person on the actual trail.
April now; I parked my car in the Dogwood parking area and took the connector trail back to where I'd left the Perimeter Trail. The water was lower in the swampy area and I had multiple sightings of a pileated woodpecker in that spot. From the calls, there were more of them. As usual, I was unable to get a good woodpecker photo despite the size of the bird.
A week, maybe two, has passed, and everything is different. The temperature is in the 60s, it's sunny, my husband is with me, and the trees are just starting to leaf out, unfurling very pale green buds. The green "skunk cabbage" (or whatever it is) is much bigger and covers more of the forest floor.
My husband and I parked by the campground ranger's station and reaccessed the third quadrant of the Perimeter Trail, cutting back through the Blueberry Trail to return to the car (and the ranger's station restroom) at the end. It was Earth Day, and a Sunday, and there were far more people in the woods than I had ever seen before. Many of them looked like college students. A group of these, lost, asked us for directions and fortunately I had a map. Fortunately for us, as well, because the signage in Greenbelt Park was as confusing as ever. One sign, in the middle of the woods, simply said "Metro," with an arrow pointing down a side path.
Final and longest stretch of the Perimeter Trail. I parked at the campground and walked back down the Blueberry Trail to the Perimeter, then all the way around the rest of the Perimeter Trail to the entrance road near the police station, returning to the car via the paved road. It was a 90-ish, humid, bright Saturday, and there were more trail runners and other fellow travelers than usual. I felt safe. On the other hand, having now thoroughly explored Greenbelt Park, I still feel there is something deeply unremarkable about it.
Here ends my wildlife notes for Greenbelt Park.