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  1. #1

    Default What year did you first attend Trail Days and what was the best thing about it?

    What was the earliest Trail Days you attended, and what was it like? How many people were in the parade, who were the featured presenters, and what were the most memorable elements?

    That first Trail Days in Damascus in 1987 started out as an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the completion of the A.T. It has been my inspiration as I've been planning the first ever trail festival in Harpers Ferry on behalf of ATC to celebrate the 75th anniversary.

    I thru-hiked* in '87, but started April 28, and didn't have the time , money or inclination to interrupt my hike. Little did I know how significant that relatively small event was to become to the A.T.

    Although the program for our 75th anniversary Harpers Ferry event August 11-12 is pretty well set with a hiker parade, programs by trail icons and history experts, speeches by trail leaders, guided hikes, etc., I'm still interested in feedback, ideas, and more inspiration.

    Please check out the thread at www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?86412-A-T-75th-Anniversary-Celebration-in-Harpers-Ferry-August-11-12 and tell me what you think.

    Oh yeah, we could use a lot more volunteers, too.

    Laurie P.
    ATC

  2. #2
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    1989 was my first Trail Days

  3. #3
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    Never have. The more I hear about it, the less desire there is to attend some day.

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    Registered User Grampie's Avatar
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    I thru-hiked in 2001. Been back to TD 9 out of the last 10 years. The main reason that I return each year is to meet friends that I met on the trail.
    I believe that the desire to go is getting less and less. Less old friends attending and more and more non trail types attending just to party.
    Grampie-N->2001

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    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    2005, I think. Or maybe 2004? There was a presentation on lightweight backpacking by Flying' Brian, Coup, Glen van Peski, and Ryan. Great stuff.

    Went back every year until this year, mostly for the hiker parade so I could meet up with a few of my fellow '06ers. This year I had just moved to Montana in May so TD just didn't fit into my plans.

  6. #6
    Registered User SawnieRobertson's Avatar
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    1999--#1 unforgetable presentation was Earl's talk at the Rock School. I had heard a little snickering about his age when someone said that they couldn't find him. That was quickly wiped away when he spoke his first words to us in his powerful voice. Definitely, this was not an "old man." I was sitting on the floor against the wall to the right. Next to me was a wannabe with a python around his neck whom he claimed he would be taking on the trail the next year. On the other side was Give Me Chocolate, who was my transcriber, and next to her was Datto with whom she had ridden to TD. Later I remember running into Magaroni (PMags) who had done such a great hike in 1998. Then there was walking into a hiker near the laundromat. He was wearing only an orange poncho which he thought was opague. It wasn't. I was staying at a B&B up the block from The Place, which stank to high heaven. (Not the B&B.) From 1998 I also had fun with Tagalong Jan Kerns who was camping on the lawn across from The Place. The wonderful Family from Festus, Missouri, was there. "Tennessee," a little black dog who had begun following a couple back in that state was there, determined to continue his hike but doubtlessly handed over to animal rescue. The memories go on and on, but they are mostly of people and the camaraderie of meeting once again people from the previous year. It was entirely different from how it is now--hardly any vendors, "tent city" being in the park beside the river. Crowds, but compared to today, no crowds. Congratulations, Laurie. You gave birth to a good thing.
    You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.
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    ChinMusic's Avatar
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    I've been there for '10, '11, '12.

    The best part for me is meeting up with old friends. I do like the vendor area. Oddly I have not been to a parade yet, choosing to drive home before it starts.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

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    Registered User SawnieRobertson's Avatar
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    I think that my love of parades was killed by the last one I marched in. It was in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, in celebration of its 200-something birthday. I was in the high school band, wearing the required woolen long pants and long-sleeved jackets of our uniforms. The streets were of dirt, which was very dry. The heat, although in Spring, was already oppressive. From then on . . . no parades for me, not even the one in 1999 at Trail Days. I watched it from the kitchen window of the B&B. I have never seen it as a good representation of the quiet and beauty of the trail. What a sourpuss I am! But I do love running into old trail friends and acquaintances.
    You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.
    --Salaun

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    I have never been to trail days, didn't know what it was till just last year.
    I hike for hikin'

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    ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    I have never been to trail days, didn't know what it was till just last year.
    I have a great time at Trail Days. I usu plan a 3-6 day hike into Damascus prior to it.

    I don't drink alcohol but those that do seem to REALLY like Trail Days.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  11. #11

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    1999-first traildays
    we drove out this year(1200 miles one way) first traildays for me since 2004.
    i was planning on doing hardcore but dropped the ball :-(
    "What would Jimmy King do?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinMusic View Post
    I have a great time at Trail Days. I usu plan a 3-6 day hike into Damascus prior to it.

    I don't drink alcohol but those that do seem to REALLY like Trail Days.
    Now there's a plan, I love watching drunks, use to be one, hehe, but yes I'll add that hike to the growing list of "Gotta do this hike"
    I hike for hikin'

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    ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    Now there's a plan, I love watching drunks, use to be one, hehe, but yes I'll add that hike to the growing list of "Gotta do this hike"
    Next year I hope to be catching a shuttle back to Damascus while on my thru hike. I'll def stay for the parade in that case.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

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    Registered User RED-DOG's Avatar
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    I have completed the AT three times, never been to trail days. but i am planning to go next year, it will be my first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinMusic View Post
    Next year I hope to be catching a shuttle back to Damascus while on my thru hike. I'll def stay for the parade in that case.
    I know you will, and I look forward to seeing pics, and reading your posts and journal entries, I'm happy for anyone that gets to finally live out a dream, very cool indeed Mr. Chin.
    Last edited by rocketsocks; 07-19-2012 at 22:10.
    I hike for hikin'

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    Registered User theinfamousj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lauriep View Post
    What was the earliest Trail Days you attended, and what was it like? How many people were in the parade, who were the featured presenters, and what were the most memorable elements?
    I first attended in 2008. I brought my brand new GG The One tent, and then was thrilled to find GG there. Which was excellent, since I'd accidentally untied the shock cord from the rear vent and they were able to fix it for me. I tented at "Between the Trails" (a rental house a few down from The Place) and people kept popping by to see The One in action.

    I also remember attending a screening by Lion King of his ADT documentary. At least that is what my memory claims it was.

    My fondest memory was of sitting on Between the Trails's large porch and watching a house bluegrass show. They did an excellent bluegrass rendition of Dolly Parton's Jolene that I've been trying to find ever since.

  17. #17
    Registered User wornoutboots's Avatar
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    2008 was the 1st year & I have hiked into it every year since, normally from somewhere @ the Grayson Highlands taking different routes nearly every year. Great Fun, Great people, Great Education!
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

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    I attended TD in '05 at the behest of my daughter, who hiked in '04. Best things were meeting her hiking friends and seeing all the vendors' wares, in one place. Didn't care for all the alcohol and reports of theft. Wrote off TDs after that. But last year led a hike in central VA that happened to end that Friday, so we attended Friday evening and Saturday (left before dark). Again, enjoyed meeting folks I knew and shopping among all the vendors. I did see at least one "speaker" at in '05 and '11 and enjoyed that too.

    RainMan

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    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

  19. #19

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    first year was '90...only missed 3 since then....great time to visit with my other family.

    geek

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