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Oh, how I hate Black Friday…let me count the ways…

I hate that it’s no longer one day, but now instead many days..

I hate that people camp for big screen TV’s along the walkways…

I hate the busy parking lots, and I hate the clogged highways…

I hate trying to shop amid a post-Thanksgiving meal malaise…

I hate the look of insanity and I hate the look of craze…

I hate that commercials trying to sell me a couple Chevrolets…

I hate Black Friday more than I hate a thousand Michael Bays…

and that’s a lot.

So, needless to say that when REI announced that they would be closing on Black Friday I was intrigued. I mean I get it, this is a shrewd marketing move. But, it’s one I can buy into. If only we, as a society, spent more time outdoors and away from some of our most caustic customs I think this world would be a better place.

So on Black Friday I was curious to see just how many more people were out and about hiking instead of shopping. And the answer was A LOT. Now, I’m not saying this was because of the REI #OptOutside thing. In fact, out of the 20 or so people I talked to only two cited that as motivation to go for a hike. It was a gorgeous day with temperatures surging into the 70’s. Most people said this was a good chance to get out with family in town and do something a bit different.

Still though, the trail was busy. The Billy Goat Trail is always busy, but not this busy. Weather was certainly the main driver, but I also think it’s possible that the #OptOutside campaign seeped into our collective consciousness enough to be that seed of inspiration as families sat around trying to figure out how to spend their Friday.

It’s great to see trails get a lot of use. As much as I enjoy the solitary hike far from any semblance of civilization, I’ve also learned to appreciate the busier trails. They serve as an entry path to an outdoor lifestyle. And that tends to bring a person more in touch with this planet…and only good things can come from that.

The largest proportion of the masses chose to stick to the C&O Towpath, but enough veered onto the rocky outcroppings of Billy Goat to cause traffic jams as the trail narrowed near the Potomac. At least twice the Montgomery County River Rescue Squad was in action with the aid of a U.S. Park Police chopper. I don’t think anyone fell into the river, but the rocks are just remote enough to necessitate a rescue by river or by air.

The moral of the story: if you’re thinking about going for a hike, be at least a little prepared. Even a short jaunt along a packed trail can go south in a hurry if you’re not paying attention. Please hike! That’s a good thing. But, maybe find a friend who’s done it before…or at least look for directions on Youtube.

And don’t go shopping on Black Friday, what you save on deals you lose in soul.


  

  
  
  
Tags : 57 Days of BloggingBilly Goat TrailHikingMarylandOptOutside
Kris Ankarlo

The author Kris Ankarlo

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