Trail Days- Friday

Trail Days -Friday.
Frequent surprises today, which included running into Dash, Wild Child, and Chance from the PCT and then from the AT Serial, Marta, Stumpknocker, plus Ms. Gorp. I chatted a bit with “Old Man” Paul Senechal, who runs the Appalachian Trail hostel and the AT Cafe in Millinocket, ME. He told me that Baxter has much snow and ice up high and is now slated to open two weeks late, on June 1.

Tillerman, AKA Andy Oliver
Andy Oliver is here from Lincolnville, ME too, who thru- hiked the AT in 2010. I also heard my name called at the Four Dog Stove Booth, and realized that Squatch had found me.
Squatch
He’s a west coast documentary filmmaker who shot and produced 3 of the PCT Walk series DVD’s. He’s doing a documentary of “Personalities on the AT”. I made him coffee and fed him a croissants. It was a real lift to connect with those folks. Again I feel that Damascus is the friendliest hiker town ever. I walk down the street and hear people call my name. It is a comfort to me.
I spent many hours today hanging out at the booth, answering questions about stoves and other gear and watching Don work the customers who were coming up to the table. We sold a lot of $1 titanium tent stakes. People seem to like holding knives, as well.
What gave me satisfaction was having my Leki poles serviced for free, where they replaced my tips, and both lower sections and also repaired the adjusting mechanism on the left wrist strap. I was also fed up with my Petzel Elite headlamp . The light portion was so loose in the ball joint that it just kept flopping down, preventing use of it on my forehead. I traded it in for a $30 Princeton Tech headlamp that actually works, one that I would be able to night hike with, something the Petzel was feeble at.
We had a big thunderstorm come through at 5 PM and had to move a lot of gear undercover at the mule trailer. Big blow, strong rain, but no real problems. I’m exhausted. More of this tomorrow.

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Trail Days- Getting Ready

AT- Day 8
Plan is to be here for thee days at Trail Days, the World’s Largest Backpacking Event. Should be 20,000 or so in a town that is normally under 1,000 in population. This year is the 25th anniversary. Big time big times.
Today is just setting up. The two mile downhill hike into Damascus was easy, ballooned up with anticipation. In no time I was showered, full bellied, and clean clothed. I started by being first in line at the Baptist church Emergency Preparedness Shower Unit, which they kicked off exactly at 8:AM. Full deal: razors, shampoo, soap, clean towels, toothpaste, brushes, plus food goodies and coffee. Free. Oh, they even had pre-stamped postcards, pens, and an outgoing mailbox right there.
After breakfast bagel and big coffee at Mojoe’s, I found Grimey, another hiker who was willing to combine clothes for a trip to the laundromat. I have already met people here I know.
I found a tall guy in a Namath shirt with a wild shock of dark hair sprouting from a kamikaze emblazoned bandanna bunched over and hauling what looked to be trash out of a beat up little black import sedan. Behind the dark sunglasses the form of Crazyhorse came clear.

Crazyhorse recovering gear from his mobile unit

He had sold the red, white, and blue Corvette and has been living out of this car for the past two years, hiking again. He was looking much fitter than when I last saw him, the product of an Adkins approach to diet. He told me that he is still in regular touch with Paddy-o, who may be supporting him and another hiker through the Whites this summer.
So after a horrendously hot 90 degree day I am ready for sleep, have a place next to Don Kivelus in the “Gooseneck” of a long mule trailer, soft pad, sleeping bag and pillow. Sure will beat what might have been my spot at tent city in the middle of multi-night mayhem and madness.
We’ll see how the sales of cookware and stoves go tomorrow.

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