Saturday, September 27, 2008

AT: Americana Part 1

What is going on?
One day I am happily hiking up a ridge in Pennsylvania when I encounter an older hiker. He warns me about "some shooting on the other side of the ridge". When I ask him what is going on he tells me: "A convict escaped from prison and now the police are trying to catch him." I must have looked a little bit doubtful because he now tells me: "Oh no, it actually is a FBI training center there." By now I am wondering who is more dangerous: This weird guy or the shooting... He sees me confusion and adds: "Well, actually it is an El-Quaida training center."

I realise that this guy just has a weird sort of humor but it is astonishing what he is really worried about: "Well, I was just joking. It is just some good old boys trying out their toys. But this shooting is going on for more than 4 hours now - it must cost them a fortune in ammunition! They even have automatic weapons."

When I finally walk down the ridge - still wondering what automatic weapons are - I really do hear the shooting. And I realise what automatic weapons are... ratatata (this is the machine guns) bum bum bum (probably hand grenades). I know by now that Americans love to reenact civil war battles, but this sounds more like the battle for Stalingrad in WW II. Unfortunately, the AT heads straight towards the center of shooting. I am wondering now if the good old boys know where the damn AT is or if they try target shooting on thruhikers.... The shooting gets so loud and frightening that I consider (a) putting in ear plugs and (b) taking cover on the ground and start crawling.

In that moment two local guys turn up hiking up the trail towards me and greet me: "Hi, there is a little bit of shooting going on...." And smile and leave. As you have found out by now - I survived the shooting, but I am now wondering too how much ammunition these guys wasted...

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