Our sixth zero day and second day at Trail Days. This break has been good for my shin recovery.
We slept in, enjoying our sun-warmed tents, until sounds began resonating across from the park. When the music started playing, I knew it was time to get up. Tandem brought me a toasted bagel with cream cheese, which I ate while I walked around visiting my favorite vendors.
I checked the AWOL Hiker location board for anyone else who had put a marker up at Craig Creek Road. There were only three others, including Flats. We are hitching with him and a couple of other hikers back there tomorrow. I had also signed up on the Hiker Ride board at the Hikers Inn, but I have no cell coverage if anyone were to call me.
Bison and I went into town at 11:00 to be early for the free hotdogs from Sundog Outfitters. They weren’t serving yet, so we went into Mojo’s Coffee Shop for fruit smoothies, cell charging, and wi-fi. I wrote a blog update and we enjoyed the time here. Once the free hotdogs started being served, we got in line. Bison then bought a $5 foot long at the Subway. Lots of hikers started showing up by 13:30, and a podcast was being recorded with hikers being interviewed.
At 14:00, the hiker parade started, which is really just an opportunity for townies to spray us with water guns. Many hikers were prepared with water guns as well. The 2014 class was the best represented with what looked like about 250 hikers. We paraded down Main Street and around to the park.
After the parade, I wandered the exhibitors’ displays talking to them and hikers. I ran into Hoss, who was looking for the vendor for his sucky hammock tarp, but didn’t find them. I also saw Mio, who we left last Saturday on the trail. He, The Dog, and Mombo had just been shuttled in from Troutville for Trail Days. I took them to the yard we were set up in and showed them the big tree they could hang their hammocks in. There were already four hammocks hung there, but they got theirs to fit and got a tarp over them.
I hung out on the house porch writing blog updates and then dressed up in my shirt and jalapeño-and-smiley-face tie from Goodwill for the Hiker Prom at the Damascus Brewery. In town, the bank’s ATM was being serviced. I tried getting cash back from a debit card purchase of honey buns at Dollar General, but it didn’t have a cash back option.
The Blue Blaze was rumored to have $2 draft beers. Not true. Tandem was at the bar, so I ordered a steak and cheese with an IPA beer. Ordering it at the bar got me served faster. I sat down with Mio and others, including The Rock, around the big pool table, which had been covered and converted to a table.
At 18:30, the best beard contest started. I entered the category of best trimmed beard and won second place! My prize was an assortment of thirty full size candy bars. The first place winner won cash and two large bags of fancy pasta. He gave me one of the bags for the trail. Bison got second place in the natural beard category and won a large box of mini muffins.
After the contest I took my winnings back to my tent, glad that I wasn’t way back in Tent City. I watched the shuttle vans go by as I walked the mile to the Damascus Brewery, the location of the prom. We drank brewery beer on a tab and talked with other hikers. I had fun, but it got crowded later and I decided to head back to my tent at 22:00.
During the mile walk back, a shuttle van picked me up. Unfortunately, it took me to Tent City, and the walk back to my tent from there was about the same distance as having walked from the brewery in the other direction. LOL
I settled on the house porch and plugged in while I wrote blog updates. Bison came back around 23:30 and we talked on the dark porch for a while. They are going to do the two trail maintenance workdays with Bob Peoples tomorrow at Roan Mountain, while Tandem and I try to get back on the trail.
Our plan tomorrow is to pack early, determine shuttle times, relax, and do about nine miles in the afternoon to the Pickle Branch shelter.