REI's Opt Outside movement is one of the best marketing ploys in years. Getting outside instead of shopping on Black Friday? I usually do that anyway, but getting hundreds of thousands of people to do it too? Genius. I really hope people were getting outside and exercising today when they normally wouldn't have.
This morning I got up around 6:30 and ventured to the Peaks of Otter in Bedford, Virginia, for a run/hike. My plan was to head to the top of Sharp Top, but some thick fog at the top changed my plans.
After I ventured about a quarter mile up the mountain thinking the fog might lift, I turned around and did the Johnson Farm Loop -- a trail that I have ventured on many times, but haven't visited in about 5 years.
It's a fairly easy trail with a steady climb to the farm and a steady decline back to the start. There's another nearby peak (Harkening Hill, the 3rd lesser-known peak of the Peaks of Otter) that I thought about doing, but there was a lot of fog that way too.
This run mixed with some power hiking was quiet, calm, and relaxing. The only sounds I heard were a few woodpeckers in the distance and a couple of squirrels rustling in the leaves. The only humans I saw were a few in their cars as I ran briefly on the Parkway.
It was, quite simply, the best way to spend a morning -- knowing that it was Black Friday made it feel even better. I can't wait to do it again.