From Springer Mountain Georgia to Mt. Katahdin Maine

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Damascus Part I

The Magic School Bus landed in Damascus for “Trail Days” on Friday afternoon (5/18).  During their previous visit, Daystar and her fellow hikers had befriended Bobbie and Billy who lived on the edge of town.  The hikers were invited to camp on the couple’s side lawn near Laurel Creek both Fri and Sat nights.  
Laurel Creek
Laurel Creek
The hikers changed into the 100% COTTON clothing that I’d brought from home (dresses, t-shirts, gym shorts, and socks) and headed into town to check out “Trail Days.”   After finding my own lodging in Abingdon, I headed to the Lost Sock laundry mat with all the stinky hiker laundry.  When I returned around 5 pm, our little party enjoyed Happy Hour on the lawn.    Gribley told me that he had begun the AT with all black gear and attire. Daystar’s artistic influence was evident. Wearing a tie-dyed shirt then hot pink and a colorful knit cap, he said that he was ready to trade his 8 pack for a box of 64 (Crayolas). I listened to stories about hiking in rain and snow, camping in tents and under the stars (cowboy camping), sleeping in shelters and hostels, and dining in towns and on the trail ... and in the pizza place where Pants on Fire became Dance on Fire, then Rants on Fire the next morning.  

Daystar and Pants on Fire
Gribley in tie-dye
Gribley in hot pink and Daystar
Cole and crispy TaterTot
The Fab Five

The Happy Hour spread
Later that night, I headed to my hotel, and they headed into town for pizza and dancing.  Saturday morning, the hikers dropped off gear for free repairs by Mr. Fix-It.  Daystar left her bug netting, rain coat, and hiking poles.  
Pants on Fire, Gribley, TaterTot, and Daystar
During the weekend, the First Baptist Church provided knit caps (see pics above) for all thru-hikers, free showers (including towels and toiletries), and foot washings and foot massages. The Fire Department hosted a Chicken BBQ lunch in the fire hall and the library had a book sale.  
BBQ in the fire hall

Windtalker, Damascus Dave, Lone Wolf, and Odyssa gave talks.  There were movies about hiking, rabbits and chickens for sale, face painting, fair food (hot dogs, funnel cakes, snow cones, ice cream cones…), contra dancing, a performance by the Gitty-Up Cloggers, and an auction with an old-timey auctioneer. Plus vendors for everything you could possible want or need on the AT.  Daystar summed it up: Trail Days is a mini-Bonaroo for hikers.  

Next post will be the Trail Days’ parade and talent show. 

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