From Springer Mountain Georgia to Mt. Katahdin Maine

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Damascus Part II

The Parade – around 1:30 Sat afternoon, hikers lined up by class (your year on the trail) outside the Sundog Outfitter. 
Police lead the parade

Bagpiper and Trail Club

Miss Trail Days
The fire and police departments took the lead, followed by a convertible with Miss Trail Days, a bagpiper, assorted vintage vehicles, and then the thru-hikers, including lots of trail dogs (who, BTW, hike, too, and carry food in doggy back packs).  Cole (a “section hiker”) and I parked near where a pick-up had backed up to the corner.  The entire bed was filled with water balloons, super soakers, and buckets of water.  As the hikers passed, warfare began.  Some, like Daystars’ group, were prepared with their own arsenal of water guns.  A few hikers wore raincoats and one donned water goggles.  
Not a great pic, but you can see the dogs alongside the hikers

The Hiker Talent Show followed the parade at 4pm.  First, up Monkey Impressions (the talent, not the trail name).  Though WaterBoy had signed up, he didn’t show up, so emcee “Digger” Downs asked if anyone would step in for WaterBoy.  A thru-hiker jumped up from the crowd and performed impressive monkey impressions.  Next, Chatty Cathy and Company with “The Hiker Song” whose chorus was: “Hey, Hey were the Hikers…”  Strider performed an acoustic guitar rendition of “No Scrubs” (TLC circa ’98), Beowulf presented his fire-eating/blowing skills, Braid sang about “Pink Blazing” (when a guy follows a girl on the AT/ or general romance); the refrain had everyone in the crowd hooting along (like owls).  Tree Piper played his flute, and T-Bone played “The Pink Panther” on his. There were lots of fiddles, guitars, banjos, and even an accordion.  Old Man from Maine gave a pitch for his inn and shuttle service at the trail’s end.  Before the winners were announced, we bolted over to the pizza joint which was filling up fast.  More stories and pizza.  Then, back to the campsite for an early bedtime.

Cole, Pants, Gribley, TaterTot, and Daystar on the lawn at the Homeplace
Pants packed in 5 packs plus assorted supplies from home.  Great job!
Sunday morning, Pants loaded the Magic School Bus, and we headed north on 81 to Wal-Mart for resupply then to The Homeplace for an all-you-can-eat family-style lunch.  The wait was well over an hour, which gave the hikers time to repack with their new supplies.  The hikers planned to eat leisurely then hike to where they’d left the trail in Catawba (1.3 miles).  Once the Magic School Bus was unloaded, I skipped out on lunch and began the 6 hour trek back to Chattanooga.
The Homeplace (featured in the current issue of Garden & Gun mag)
Some closing comments… the joy and enthusiasm among the hikers are infectious.  Esprit de la vie.  Though they spend endless days on the trail, once inside the Magic School Bus, technology prevailed.  Cole’s ipod, Daystar’s laptop that I’d brought from home, five cell phones – all connecting and swapping SD pic cards and downloading music and pictures.  Wires and cords everywhere.  They sang along with Dolly, Beyonce, Paul Simon, John Denver… and even the Disney Princess collection (the cd was in Cole’s car).  I felt like I was back at camp hauling around kids in the ole camp van.  This Fab Five (including Cole, Daystar’s younger sister) are all about living life.  Carpe diem!

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