The sleepy town of Damascus VA comes alive in Mid-May for AT thru-hikers to rolling into town. Thousands have poured in over this weekend.
My arrival was cold but my spirit totally up lifted when friends started coming by. I was one of the first to arrive. By Friday morning the little league's outfield began to fill up from 10% to 75% by evening.
The hiker town is split between the hiker area and the festival area downtown. Friday, I spent sometime looking at deals. Hennessey Hammocks were 50% or more off. Dutch Ware, a hammock accessory company, offering simple deals too. Several major gear manufacturers are out in both areas repairing, swapping out, and discounting packs, tents, and basic cook ware.
I've really enjoyed meeting several AT legends like Bob Peoples, David 'AWOL' Miller, and Zach Davis. I'm in between bubbles so seeing them both is grand. These are Woo Tang and Wiskey's Crew. Riff Raff isn't hiking but a regular feature on the trail for trail magic and parties. The Van Clan is what hikers are calling YWAM VA's DTS. I caught them on the cold day. They're doing some volunteering and are just cool to chill with. They've encouraged me by letting me know there's more believers on the trail then I see. Following up with my trail family is beyond amazing.
By night many fires blaze in the woods. Hikers swap stories, cheer, and set the time to stand still.
This morning I signed up for a shower thanks to Baptists Relief Ministries. They also did my clothes. Clean clothing I won't take it for advantage again.
Today, Saturday, was also the Hiker's Parade. No floats, no sponsors, just a bunch of hikers walking down Main St. Wiskey Crew made lively for the Class of 2014. At the park Solitude, a hiker, held up a pinyata on a pole. Someone took a swing or three at it. Chicken Nuggets, sauces, and yes mini wiskey bottles pours forth. Hikers dove in...
The energy of Trail Days is amazing despite the chilly weather.
Tomorrow, Sunday, I'm.hitting the trail after church and dropping stuff off at the outfitters to be mailed out. I can't wait, my feet are itching for the trail again. These days off are good for the spirit. My friends behind me let me know how they like seeing the signature in.the books, others saying the samething I am.with others - I've been reading your entries and wonder who you were - and also good to catch up with friends who are a head.
For many this is our adventure. For many this is our life. For those just starting, this is surreal and real.
Enjoy the hike...