I have always loved traveling and holidaying – and spring break was here. This was sounding like another perfect opportunity for a get-away. A bunch of friends had already been planning a four-day hiking and fun trip at Great Smoky Mountains in NC and TN, Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA since weeks and were insisting that I join them. Another group of friends from a different place was planning a single day hiking trip at Great Falls, VA.
At any other point of time in my 20+ history (okay, at least from my high school days ), these twin opportunities would have driven me crazy with excitement and would have been akin to me licking both chocolate and vanilla cone ice-creams alternately in the campus dining hall whenever I eat there.
But these were extraordinary times what with my graduation (for the second time) being months away. Desperate (well, not really desperate) times call for desperate measures. I had tons of work to complete to ensure that I meet deadlines and spring break was a nice opportunity to get up to speed.
I am usually the one planning all these trips but I was hesitating to even join either of them this time. It was a constant battle between my holidaying desires and my common sense, but the former had a partial victory when I finally decided to go ahead only with the one-day hiking trip, much to the disappointment of my fellow hikers planning the four-day trip.
Most of us going hiking at Great Falls, VA were fellow “desis” (pronounced as they-see, for those who don’t know, and refers to Indians/Pakistanis in the west) – and we desis are legendary as far as being late and disorganized is concerned. So, we finally managed to START our four-car convoy towards our destination at 11:30 AM. At least the days were longer at this time of the year.
We took the River Trail that would give us a good view of the Potomac all through the hike. It was just 3.0 miles, and substantially less challenging and shorter than my previous hike at Shenandoah Valley late November/early December, 2010. But we kept stopping at short intervals for those extensive photo sessions, pushing and shoving each other, and when possible, throwing water on each other and took hours to complete it. Damn those cameras, every beautiful view and every step has become a potential picture for the photographic minds that some of us armed with cameras have. This is similar to how every event in life is a potential Facebook status for those Facebook-addicted people. How about just enjoying the scenery?
Sometimes, I find it quite peaceful and satisfying to just sit there at a rock in the middle of the forest with a blank mind all by myself, taking all the beauty in and observe the less conspicuous things around – there is so much detail that it makes you sit back and wonder in amazement what the world is about and why we are here in this world in the first place; and how disconnected we have become to this world thanks to our daily routine in an artificial world we have created for ourselves. But when you’re going in a group, it is often hard to find this time alone.
After we completed the first hike, we decided to try another trail since there was some daylight left – we went further for fifteen minutes only to turn back when we realized that the second hike would take us way too far from where our cars were parked, and we obviously had to be back before it was dark.
All in all, we all had an awesome time and I was glad I joined in. It is another matter that now being the week after spring break, I still have work left-over from what I had planned to complete during the break.