Dec 11, 2011

Harpers Ferry hike

Harpers Ferry hike (Dec 3 )was the first long distance hike that I did with a local group in Washington DC area. With 5.5 mile and 1,900 ft elevation gain in the morning session, and 4 mi & 900 ft gain in the afternoon session, it was perhaps the second longest hike I did, next to Japan's Cho-ishi-michi hike in Koyasan I did last year.

Harpers Ferry is a small, historical town, celebrating "Christmas in battlefield" on that day. Many young women & men seen on the street were on traditional, olden days American dress, reminding me of The Scarlet Letter movie. Even otherwise the small town looked nice with a number of petty restaurants. Harpers Ferry is also the place where two major rivers Shenandoah and Potomac merge. The hike offers fantastic view of the place where the two rivers merge.

The hiking leader seemed to be quite familiar to the trails; before we started he told us to follow the white arrow mark that he would make (using chalk powder that he carried) at junctions so that none of us gets lost. I thought why should I follow the arrow marks as I would stick to the hike leader. But alas.... within minutes of starting, the hike leader fled like a flash -he was almost jogging on the trail- that we lost him! He simply disappeared, and we had had to rely on the white arrow marks that he left.

A Russian guy (who hiked with me) looked like a college student, was talking to me about India, and surprised me by asking such questions as "Which party -DMK or ADMK- do you think will provide a better government?" "Do you think India will ever let FDI in retail business"? And when he asked about Kudankulam protests, I couldn't control; asked him what his work was about. he is working for a firm that gathers country-specific info on political & business environments, and sell such info to American companies such as Walmart, Coke etc who would seek to enter other country markets. His assigned area includes India, and hence his expanded awareness about our country. When the hiking was over and as we returned to Farragut West metro by a charted bus, this guy asked me 'that' question which many South Indians would have: "Why am I not finding any Indian restaurants that sell south Indian dishes such as dosa? Why does every Indian restaurant sell only nan and tandhoori chicken??"

It was nice to see 37 men & women out there to go for 15 km hike on the mountains on a winter day. It appeared that more than in Japan, in US, there are many enthusiastic young men & women doing hiking.


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