Trail Days

Each year Damascus, VA hosts Trail Days. It’s a three day event (www.traildays.us). It’s a big deal. The “normal” population swells from the thousand or so who call this home regularly to estimates as high as 20,000 over the three days. It’s obviously not just thru hikers attending, but past hikers, aspiring hikers and obviously lots and lots of other folks.
Many of the major equipment vendors are present as are many smaller vendors and a whole bunch of boutique vendors and arts and crafts folks. A significant number of people camp out in Tent City where $5 gets you admission, a shower (yeah man) and the potential for laundry. Oh, and partying based on what I was hearing that seemed to last all night long. Clearly not every one was a thru hiker!
On the plus side, I had a problem that had developed with my pack repaired by Osprey, although the fix did take a little longer than anticipated, forcing me to take a zero day (you can figure out what a zero day is versus a nero day which I’m sure you can also figure out) here in Damascus.
However the extra time in town allowed me to have lunch with my brother Lou and his son Mark who were on the way home from Mark’s graduation. It was good to see them and I appreciate the detour they took to join me for lunch!
Talking with some Damascus residents, Trail Days is a big deal for them as well. The revenue infusion pays real dividends in terms of tax easement. Interesting, who woulda thought! And, the people are so nice, for me it turned out to be a great event and I’m glad I made the 23 mile push the day before to arrive here on Saturday.
To get to Damascus I crossed the Tennessee to Virginia state line. As the trail criscrosses Tennessee and North Carolina multiple times ( the joke being you’re hiking with your left foot in Tennessee and your right foot in North Carolina) here’s a shot of Ivan showing his clear satisfaction with being able to tick what amounts to two states off the list.

The euphoria was short lived when I informed Ivan that VA contains the most mileage of any state on the trail. It will be about 550 miles before we cross another state line. But, the profiles look better in VA and there’s the ponies that should provide good breaks during the days to come! Sent from my iPhone

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