I'm Hiking With Obama

A hiker's chance encounter with the president and first lady
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A hiker's chance encounter with the president and first lady

Obama's made plenty of noise about getting Americans outdoors since he began his term last year, and it turns out he's not above taking his own medicine, as a fellow hiker and voter recently discovered. Ohio tourist Karen Russell was out for a hike on North Carolina's Mountains-to-Sea trail when she saw Secret Service agents dressed in black with ear pieces pop out of the bushes. Minutes later, she was face to face with the president and the first lady.

“They went through my pockets and my little waist pack and my camera, they checked to make sure it was a camera,” Russell said. “And then I probably went 10 feet and I couldn't believe it. I just looked up and I said something really stupid, like ‘Are you who I think you are? You are!'”

“Talk about a strange meeting of time and space,” Russell said. “I was ecstatic, I really was.”

This was no bid for press on one of his policies; it turns out Obama was simply out for a hike as part of a recent vacation to Asheville, NC. After chatting with a fellow hiker, they continued down the trail. (And yes, Russell did vote for Obama in 2008.)

— Ted Alvarez

via Asheville Citizen-Times