The Trail Days Festival, Damascus, Virginia

Several years ago, when I was living in Houston, I met the very close friend of my very close friend, Everett.  Everett’s friend Kimberly was in town for some last-minute purchases before heading to the Appalachian trail.  I was shocked to learn that she was intending to walk the entire 2,159 mile trail all by herself.

“All by yourself?” I repeated, incredulously.

“Yup,” she calmly responded.  “A lot of people do it.  Although, there will probably be times when I won’t see a soul for days.”

Well, she did manage to do the whole thing, and ended up meeting the man she eventually married on the trip, to boot.  So when I read this article in the New York Times about the Trail Days Festival in Damascas, Virginia, I couldn’t help but wonder if she met her husband here, in what’s touted as “the friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail.”

The festival, it turns out, occurs on May 19th – 21st, and has become “the largest single gathering of hikers anywhere.”  Last year, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 showed up to what has become “a backpacker’s Mardi Gras,” and a reunion for anyone who has ever trekked the long  Trail.

Sound like a lot of fun.  Of course, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever hike that trail.  Have any of you done it?  Did you make it to the festival?