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The Greatest Of All Trails

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Wilderness Kids Hikes the Billy Goat Trail

Celebrating at a particularly gorgeous spot along the Billy Goat Trail. (Click photo to expand)

On Saturday February 11, fifteen students from Wilderness Kids set off on the appropriately named Billy Goat Trail. Appropriately named for two reasons:


For one, at times, one needs the agility and stability of a billy goat to maneuver up, down, over, and across the boulders - and the gaps between boulders - that form large sections of the trail.


Appropriate also because it truly is the G.O.A.T. – the Greatest Of All Trails – in the immediate DC area. What is another trail within 30 minutes of Old Town Alexandria that offers such gorgeous views of the Potomac River; the opportunity to see eagles, hawks, vultures, herons and more (all of which our students saw on Saturday); and the thrills of scrambling over rocks and boulders, associated with more wild trails, like the one up Old Rag in Shenandoah? If you know of one, please tell us.


Clockwise From Top Left: 7th grader Sama jumps from boulder to boulder as her classmate Parvin looks on. Sama's joy expressed in a smile. 6th grader Lubi walks along a ridge, catching up to some class mates ahead of her. A group of students ascend The Ladder...a steep stretch of rock that begins at the riverside and ascends to gorgeous views. (Click photos to expand)


As they seem always to be, our students were persistent, joyful, and energized in their hiking of the Billy Goat. And, whether they moved at a thoroughbred’s pace or a cautious snail’s pace, or somewhere in between, each completed the hike, scaling the ladder of rocks, jumping gaps in boulders, enjoying the several beaches along the way, and marveling at the power and beauty of Great Falls.


A special shout-out to our volunteers who helped make this day possible - Linda, Jon, Marisol, Steve, and Kevin. We couldn’t do this without you!


Counterclockwise from top left: Volunteer Steve and 7th grader Vaughn pause as Vaughn crosses a small creek. 7th graders Madina, Sama, and Sama share a laugh near Great Falls. 7th grader Juan says "Peace Out." Douha, Parvin and Sama take in the river up close under perfect blue skies. Lunch with a view for Carlos and friends; Sama and her classmate work their way up a rock-strewn path. Michael pauses for a photo in what looks like a very perilous situation (it wasn't!); Douha and sister Douaa share their smiles. (Click photos to expand)


A closing memory of the day: On the drive home, 7th grader Parvin shared her thoughts on the day. "It was really fun," she said (paraphrasing here). "I used to hike a lot when I lived in Afghanistan. I lived in a town in the mountains. But since I came here in 2019, I haven't been able to go hiking. It was so good to be out again." Thanks to all of you who helped get Parvin out hiking in nature again, connecting her to a feeling she has not felt in years, a feeling of home.


7th grader Parvin, who arrived to Alexandria from Afghanistan in 2019, works her way along the Billy Goat.

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