Non Resident Alien

This is a chronicle of my tragi-comic life as a foreigner in the United States. My official status when I started school in 2004, was that of a Non-Resident-Alien and that's where the title of the blog is from. My status has changed to Resident Alien since then. My personal experiences are a unique roller coaster mundane everyday experiences for locals, but unique from the eyes of a foreigner. I started this blog to share some of my experiences beginning my third year living in this country.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Little Devil's Stairs

All summer my hiking goal has been Little Devil's Stairs at the Shenandoah. I have been working my way upto it the past few weeks and yesterday was my moment of triumph. I finally did it. In fact I did even better. Instead of doing the usual Keyser Run Fire road circuit, I did the longer circuit through Pole link, Piney Branch Trail, Hull School to Keyser Run, and Little Devil's Stairs was the last 2.4 miles of my 10-11 mile hike. Needless to say, I was pretty tired by the time I got to the Little Devil's stairs trail head. However, little (all pun intended) did I know what was awaiting me. There were at least two places where the trail went absolutely vertical and I had to put my hiking stick down and climb up using my arms. It was incredible. The trail was pretty steep and pretty rocky most of the way. It climbed 1200 feet elevation within one mile. On the whole, it was a wonderful hike yesterday. I started at 2900 feet, went down to 1400 ft, and climbed all the way back up. Piney Branch was as beautiful as the last time. I took my lunch break at the second river crossing before hitting Hull School trail, and enjoyed the company of several spiders and small insects during the break. However, it got hot towards the end of my hike. It could have just been me, cause I was burning up a lot of calories, but I do think it was the weather as well. This is despite the fact that I started early. I hit the trail head at 9:15 and was done by 3pm. The longest and most strenuous part of the hike was obviously Little Devil's Stairs. There's a small stretch on Hull School (maybe a mile) which gains about 400-500 feet elevation, but the rest of it besides Little Devil's Stairs was mostly downhill. I would not recommend going down on Little Devil's stairs. I do not like going down-hill on rocky surfaces; you keep stubbing your toes (unless you have great hiking boots). It is certainly strenuous, but doable. I am glad I saved it for now when I am more in shape than I was at the beginning of summer.

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