9.05.2010

it is getting a little absurd...

it is true... it is getting a little absurd

a few weeks back we took a family trip to Rehoboth Beach
the boardwalk was jam packed
the beach was at maximum occupancy
and the water itself
well... people were lined up in the water with less than a foot between them
all trying to enjoy the waves

then yesterday we decided to take a family hike
as we left out I thought out loud
Labor Day Weekend? the roads will be vacant... what should we expect of the trails

sure enough... the drive out was car free
the roads were vacant
we flowed smoothly to our destination

as we approached Old Angler's Inn on MacArthur Boulevard not far after Brickyard Road we saw the line of cars
I again thought out loud
these cars can not be here for The Billygoat Trail... there must be a wedding or a family reunion

never in all my years had I seen cars lined up so far down the road
never in all my years had I seen cars lined up on both sides of the road
never in all my years...

there were so many cars which of course represented people that I considered turning around and going home
then I accepted it
these are the modern times
this is the way things are
just as I had joined in on the elbow to elbow adventures at the beach with a happy face
I decided that I would hit the billygoat trail with the family and a thousand other people

the beach is not my domain
there is no possessiveness over Rehoboth and its beach or its boardwalk
sure I have my memories of Rehoboth and how it was
I was never there enough to feel ownership
but this is different... this is my home court

the C&O at Old Angler's Inn and The Billy Goat Trail
well... this is where I grew up
as a child I would ride my bike to Wide Water to fish and play as a child
I went to the canal at a time when people feared it was nothing but vagabonds and hobos
in an era that even pre-dates the running boom
even if that pre-dating is only predated by a couple of days

to our pleasure we found a spot in the close lot without much hassle... actually without any hassle at all

we got out of the car and we put on our backpacks with water and gatorade
then took to the towpath

it was absurd
there was a long line of people marching back from the trails
there was a long line of people marching to the trails
at the trailhead we got into the queue

never in all my days had I ever been involved in a hike that had a line like this
it was as if we were all making some sort of pilgramage

once the trail we tried to scramble along
passing when we could
trying to take a route that did not lead head onto oncoming trail users
always trying to be respectful of the notion of "staying on the trail"

everyone was pleasant
the space was shared well enough
but really... nature is best appreciated in solitude
not as a member of a mob

it was nice... even with all the people it was really nice
the temperatures were mild
there was a breeze so there was no worry about the bugs
even with downgraded Hurricane Earl we were getting some weather

the boys scrambled and lisa and I marched
at times we had to slow and stall and wait our turn to traverse the more technical sections
our young boys put adults to shame
with their ability to cross the creek on the log bridge


when we tried to take a water break and take in the vistas
we had to wait... we did not want to crowd others and their effort for a second of solitude

as we looked over the rapids with all of its boats I told my boys about how as pre-teen child I would kayak in a two man kayak with their uncle marc
at the cliffs I spoke about how we jumped into the water in a time that was a bit more free
how it was frowned upon then... but is more than likely entirely illegal now

we looped back
taking The Billy Goat Trail out then the high road that runs parallel to the canal back

by this time the boys were getting tired
we had long since run out of water and whatever we had eaten had long since been burned away
there were some snacks in my pack
but ginger snaps and cashews would need water as a chaser
so we did not snack

six year old Grant tried to sit down.... refusing to march
somehow I managed to get him to maintain pace with the group

then I realized
my legs were tired... my legs were sore
we had scrambled pretty hard
realizing that my legs were tired I tried to be sympathetic to my six year old son
putting him on my shoulders for a short stretch of road

we could not reach the car soon enough
at the car Lisa and Dean waited patiently as Grant and I had moved at a slightly slower pace
with the car unlocked the boys scrambled for the remaining bottle of gatorade and the bottle of water that we had left in the car
we moved our car quickly so that the arriving car could get our spot

we were fair and efficient just as the cars before us were

sweaty and fatigued we took off to grandpas for a swim in the pool and some dinner

looking back on the day and the mass of people on the trails I contemplated the thoughts of the madman with the gun at the Discovery Channel offices the week prior
I thought about the lions.... the froggies... and the over population of the planet
James Jay Lee and his ideas
well... in his actions he did succeed in decreasing the population by one
luckily he did not take any others with him
www.washingtoncitypaper.com

it was a good day
in the future we will try to remember how popular this trail is
we will try to hit the trails in the early am or on the weekdays




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