If you’ve ever been to Washington, D.C. in early spring, you probably know that a visit to the Tidal Basin to see the famous cherry blossoms is not to be missed. Gifted to the United States from Japan in 1912, the cherry blossoms have been celebrated to welcome spring for nearly 100 years. In total, more than 3,000 trees of more than twelve varieties decorate Washington’s Tidal Basin and East and West Potomac Parks in a sea of pink and white each spring. Their existence in our nation’s capital has a colorful history dating back to one woman’s unique idea in 1885.
The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival hosts numerous events for a two-week period around the blooming of the trees. One of these is the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, which has in the past been one of my favorite races. Due to an increase in popularity, entry to the race has, in recent years, been possible only by lottery. Although I entered the lottery last December, my name wasn’t chosen for this year’s race.
Each year, millions of people descend upon Washington to catch the blossoms in peak bloom. Historically, the cherry blossoms have usually reached peak bloom at the end of March or beginning of April, depending upon the weather. The National Park Service issues the cherry blossoms’ bloom schedule each year, with peak bloom dates projected about ten days in advance.
This year, the cherry blossoms reached their peak on Friday, April 10, and are expected to remain in peak bloom until Tuesday, April 14. With beautiful sunny skies over the weekend, the cherry blossoms likely saw record numbers of visitors. In an effort to avoid the crowds, M. and I decided to get up before dawn this morning and take Frieda for a run around the Tidal Basin. We were surprised at how many others had the same idea, especially those ready with camera and tripod to capture the sunrise. Although running wasn’t quite possible, we managed to have a very pleasant walk and took a few photos of our own.
We started our walk about twenty minutes before sunrise and slowly meandered around the west side of the Tidal Basin, taking in views of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
The sky was a bit overcast, making the sunrise shorter than usual. The skyline was highlighted in pink for about five minutes, and that was it!
Although many of the cherry blossoms are pink, they appear white in our photos due to the overcast sky and the lighting. As the wind blew, some of the blossoms fell to the ground like snowflakes.
One of the less crowded areas among the cherry blossoms is the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. Cherry trees are in full bloom throughout the entire memorial, making a gorgeous canopy of blossoms overhead.
I couldn’t resist one more shot of the light pink blossoms over the Jefferson Memorial after the sun came up.
If you are in Washington this week, make sure to carve some time out of your day to take in the beautiful cherry blossoms while they are still in bloom!
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