Trail Days

Trail Days was huge fun and nice to have a vacation from constant hiking. On my last day of hiking before hand I had also shuttled 15 people in 3 trips. On Friday, I could finally relax. I wandered around the vendor area for several hours and chatted with other hikers. In the afternoon I drove Hasselhoff around trying to find a new battery for his cell phone. Pretty much no one carried batteries anymore. Everyone here in the US is switching to the internal battery. I guess this is uncommon in Germany were Hoff is from.

After many miles of fruitless searching, we stopped to pick up Sputnik and Fair Enough in Atkins. They were going Southbound from Pearisburg and didn’t quite make it to Marion where they had switched. I’m sure to remind them occasionally about the 10 miles stretch they still need to do. We all had a nice dinner in Bristol at Cheddar’s.


Saturday I was determined not to drive. It was fun for a short while, but was becoming a burden. I parked the car and left it there all day. I mostly walked up and down the vendor areas and the gear repair areas meeting hikers I’d been separated from. I snagged all kinds of free stuff. I didn’t think it all through though since I had to pack it all out! Deuter was handing out flowers and stuff sacks. Backpacker magazine had a hodge-podge of items including free socks, some strange popcorn and copies of their latest issue. I got the biggest hook-up from Leki. I asked what I could do about my foam rubber handles turning my hands black. They gave me a free set of cork handles to install! It wasn’t even for the set I was using, this set was at home in the closet.

I ordered a copy of the Hiker Yearbook which should be ready by the big ALDHA meeting this fall. I got a signed copy of “Blind Courage”. It was signed by Bill Irwin’s wife since he has passed away. It’s an amazing tale of blind man that hiked the entire trail with his dog, Orient. I also managed to get an amazing sunburn that ended up blistering. Wear sunscreen!

AWOL’s tent was one of my favorites. He laminated his whole guide and made a giant poster out of it. Then all the hikers could put little labels to show their location. Other than those that hiked in to Damascus, Pearisburg was by far the biggest cluster.


The hiker parade had quite a twist. For a bit more than a mile, the locals sprayed all the stinky hikers with every water toy imaginable. Some got more wet than others and a few even brought their own firepower.

That evening I hung out in an apartment that some locals sometimes offer to hikers. Several of my friends were staying there so we chatted until the wee hours of the night.

By Sunday morning, I was ready to head out. I piled 7 of us in the car and headed back to Pearisburg (except TK, who went to a gap a bit before. We all stopped in at Walmart in Wytheville for a resupply before hitting the trail.

I was so exhausted though, I decided to stay at a church hostel instead of hiking. Everyone else headed out onto the trail. I dropped off the car and made my way back where I had left my gear. I met loads of new people there, including a very interesting duo named “Waiting” and “Forever”. You can probably guess how they got their names. “Warm and Toasty” was also at the hostel, so it was fun to catch up with her. Lucky me, Frosty also stopped by. He still had his rental car through the next day and offered a ride back to the trail.

Friday-Sunday: no miles hiked on AT

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