6.5 miles – 0 miles
Jenny Knob Shelter (602) to Trents Grocery Store (608.5) Via Damascus by vehicle
Trail Days Damascus VA, that was the goal. The gathering of sticky thru hikers for the celebration of all things Appalachian Trail. First, we had to get there.
It was a 30 minute walk to the nearest road. One of Delicate Flowers friend was meant to meet us there at 10.30am. We were going to the famous Trail Days at Damascus. The road was remote with little in the way of thru traffic and no cell phone signal. We waited an hour but our ride was a no show. We waited another hour, still nobody came for us.
At 12.30 we made a new plan to continue hiking. The trail went uphill and we had cell phone service and a message that Thom (my new friend and Trail Days driver) would be there at 12.30 to pick us up. It was 12.50pm. We sent off another message with a new pick up point.
Just after 2pm we met Thom at the place known as Trents Grocery Store. Delicate Flower and I showered and did our laundry before heading into Damascus. Better late than never.
The three of us checked into a hotel several miles out of town and made our way into town. We expected thousands of people but there weren’t too many, it was almost quiet. I caught up with some of my old hiking buddies. I’ve had the pleasure to hike with and befriend some amazing people hear in USA. I hiked with a guy by the name of Stone on the PCT and last year on the CDT, he was there. I also caught up with Allgood who started hiking the CDT on the same day as me last year. As the sun went down we ate and had a beer at the local brewery.
Saturday was the main day at Trail Day Damascus VA. We all arrived early to wander among all the vendors. I checked out all the latest and greatest in hiking gear. I also left my backpack with Osprey to do some repairs.
A lot of the vendors had raffles to give away gear, they proved popular among the poor hikers like myself. I won a pack cover at the Osprey raffle.
At 2pm all the hikers massed to parade through the streets of Damascus. We lined up to march down the main street. All the hikers were marching in their respective class groups, I was with the class of 2017 at the rear. Crowds lined the footpaths with water pistols to soak the hikers.
Hikers were in good spirits as they got soaked from the locals. Then the heavens opened up. A little bit of thunder and a lot of rain. The hikers in parade didn’t care. I didn’t care. I was soaking wet. It was a lot of fun.
In the late afternoon I went to pick up my pack. It was too much work to repair so I got a brand new pack. Lifetime warranty and a company that stands by their product. Respect and a shout out to Osprey for standing behind their product with a lifetime warranty.
I checked out some of the new tents from Nemo, including a lighter version of my current tent, called the Hornet Elite, tents are getting so much better and lighter every year. My new dream two person tent with a weight of around 800 grams or 2 pounds. I want one.
I visited the Vasque stall to report that my Breeze III hiking shoes have given me no blisters after 600 miles of hiking. They have minimal wear and tear. I think I’ll get another 500-600 miles out of them. Vasque were kind enough to give me some brand new Darn Tough socks with their Vasque name on it. Vasque shoes rock.
I was super impressed with Trail Days. Everyone was well behaved and considerate which seemed to be in contrast to the last several years which have been a bit if a train wreck by reputation.
Next : Day 36 – Back to the Trail