- This is in answer to:
- What's your favorite summer memory? See all answers
- June 28, 2010 by Michael_Kindt
- I’m not sure what a ‘volksmarch’ is, even though I went on one.
So I scampered over to Wikipedia and dialed it up. This is what I learned:
"Volksmarching (from German Volksmarsch meaning “peoples’ march”) is a form of non-competitive fitness walking that developed in Europe. Participants typically walk 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) on an outdoor path. Volksmarch associations offer incentive awards (usually pins and patches) for collecting a certain number of events. Volkssport participants enjoy recording distances and event participation in international record books. More of a social event than a ‘HEALTHY OUTING” Participants often bring along a Boda bag filled with wine or Apfelcorn. Less frequently used terms are Volkswanderung and Volkswalk. A Volksmarch is one of several possible Volkssports that can include skiing, biking, or swimming."
It seems entirely possible.
Anyway, I went on one with my friends Jim, Darrel, Steve, and Bill. It was the Crazy Horse Annual Volksmarch and what you do is, basically, start at the visitor center and walk up to the monument.
The guy, Crazy Horse, led the largest war party ever assembled in the New World. Tribal differences were set aside and an entire chunk of the U.S. Army, led by General George Custer, was decimated. If the Native Americans had been this organized and this pissed off when white people first came, there’d be far fewer tribal casinos.
So we show up bright and early at 7 am, register, and were pointed to a path. “Follow that to the next checkpoint. There will be water to drink and another log to fill out.”
So we headed off. We didn’t bring canteens because, according to the brochure, none were needed. We were in good cheer. It was a lovely morning.
After about 40 minutes of hiking, we came to piece of white typing paper stapled to a tree that said “Checkpoint”. Immediately next to the tree was a guy sitting alone on a fold-out chair at fold-out card table. You would think that a guy sitting alone in the middle of the woods at a card table would be sign enough, but the location and reason needed to be written out, apparently. On the table was the log book and a large barrel cooler with, we surmised, water in it. Next to the cooler was a stack of plastic cups.
We were pretty thirsty at this point. “Sorry,” the guy said as we began grabbing cups. “Out of water. You have to go on to the next checkpoint.” We filled out the log and headed on, a little disappointed.
Where was everybody at? All the people? We had seen no one on the path. There were dozens of people in the parking lot when we arrived, but now where were they? Who drank all the water?
Another 40 or so minutes more of hiking and we came to the next checkpoint. It was the same scenario as before: a guy sitting alone at a card table in the middle of the woods, a handwritten “Checkpoint” sign stapled to a nearby tree explaining the incongruity.
Immediately, we asked for water. At the previous checkpoint, we had been pretty thirsty. Now, we were downright thirsty—uncomfortably so. Although we wouldn’t rape and kill for water, we were close.
“Sorry,” the guy said. “Out. Hafta go on to the next checkpoint.”
We were angry. Was this guy serious?
“Fellas?” the guy said as we walked away. “You forgot to fill out the log.” We ignored him and he was left holding his stupid pen with a perplexed look on his face.
Instead of pleasantly walking in the woods now, we were marching toward water so that we wouldn’t die. It was hot and thirst was all we felt, all we could think about.
“Perhaps this is hell?” I offered. “Perhaps we crashed on the way here and are dead and must hike under the hot sun to checkpoint after checkpoint, all of which are out of water, for all eternity?”
My companions were not amused with me.
The third checkpoint was out of water too, obviously. The guy sitting alone at the card table in the middle of the woods assured us there would be water at the fourth checkpoint, but we didn’t listen to him. We knew he was lying to us and that he was a minion of hell.
We turned around and went home, marveling at how stupid the morning had been.