Friday, August 16, 2013

let's pretend it's May for one second

You want to know what's ridiculous? This blog post has been sitting in my drafts since May or June.  So here's a late late update!

Back in May, Beau and I headed down to Damascus, Virginia for the annual Appalachian Trail festival "Trail Days". Current and former thru hikers come to this event to shop at vendor tents, see hiker friends, hike around the area, attend lectures, and hang out in Damascus because it's awesome. Oh, and partying. Lots of partying.

welcome to Damascus! and vendor tents in the background
Most people stay in "tent city", which is known for rampant alcohol and drug use, so Beau and I opted to tent in a grassy vacant area with some other hikers we knew from last year.  We got there Friday evening and quickly met up with Lady Forward, one of my favorite hiker friends. LF and I caught up over dinner at an awesome vegetarian deli, while Beau disappeared to get tacos. We ran into more 2012 thru hikers and it was SO FUN to be back in hiker town mode. A couple of us went to a presentation by "famous" AT hiker/record holder Jennifer Pharr Davis, then hung out and chatted.

Keeper (and Duke), me, Beau, 5 Pair, and Lady Forward
Saturday morning, Golden and L. Forward and I went on a nice run on the Creeper Trail. I just love these girls. You know you're running with former thru hikers when we discovered in casual conversation that none of us had put on deoderant that morning.

after our morning run
 Lunch with more friends:

LF, Beau, Me, Pepperboy, Golden, and a SOBO guy I don't know
Every year, there is a hiker parade. Thru hikers line up by "class" (completion year) and walk done the main street in Damascus. It's so cool to see all these 70+ year olds guys who did it when there were like.... 50 thru hikers each year. The trail is such an integral part of the culture in Damascus, so the locals make a big deal out of the festival and parade. And are loaded with water guns to spray hikers. :)

Team Forward Progress!

Joiner and Progress
So here we are lining up for the parade, and we were towards the way back because you line up by class. We were just walking along, L.F. to my left and another friend, Shenanigans, next to her. We heard all sorts of yelling and screaming and looked back and there was a CAR driving through the people. Like, plowing through the parade. It wasn't going very fast, just kind of coasting, but a coasting car can still take out unsuspecting pedestrians! By the time we turned to look, the car was just a few feet away and people were scrambling to get out of the way. A few people were getting caught underneath ("sucked under" I think is the best description) and trying to get pulled out. A girl I didn't know who was walking next to Shenanigans was underneath, stuck, because by now enough people were pushing against the front of the car to stop it. The driver was an elderly guy, who looked like he had had a stroke or something and was completely unaware of what was happening. Someone dove in and took the keys out of the ignition (and then I thought "why didn't I think of that??") and say in the passenger's seat to try to help the driver. A bunch of guys at the front of the car (including Beau) lifted up the car to get the girl underneath. She seemed okay, actually, just in shock. And then the paramedics came and we all just kind of stood there, until they told us all to keep walking and go away. So for the rest of the afternoon we were just like, "Did that just happen?"

All the people who were hit (I think maybe 6-8 were taken to the hospital) were okay. No one was seriously injured, and the girl who was trapped underneath only had a broken toe.

Moving on....

the parade, pre accident

ladies by the pond
The rest of the day we went around to all the vendors, found more people to catch up with, and wished we were thru hiking again.

Sexy hiker calendar.. see his halfway video here (it's hilarious. And further proof that SOBOs are weird)
watching the hiker "talent" show

Driving back home, we stopped for a quick day hike up McAfee Knob. This place has some of the best views on the trail. We even found some thru hikers (who didn't attend trail days, obviously) to share some trail magic with.  The day was super overcast, so we had no views but enjoyed the cool weather.  It's funny, the misty overcast days are no fun as a thru hiker because you stuff is wet, your tent is wet, and the trail is slippery. But as a day hiker who is heading home to a shower and a clean bed? Fantastic!

driving home
couldn't see a thing, but McAfee Knob is always awesome
So, that was our weekend! Back in May. It was awesome.

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