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View Full Version : Trail festivals... How many?



Frye
03-02-2015, 12:17
Out of curiosity, does anyone happen to know how many trail festival type events happen nowadays?

I dunno, just seems, well I dunno...

I can think of Dahlonega, Hot springs, Damascus, Daleville/Troutville. (I'm not counting the ATKO either) Any more?

BrianLe
03-02-2015, 12:26
Sounds like you're talking AT only? You could add up multiple festivals just for the PCT too. Hard to count if you then include various festivals like the kickoff for the CDT, FT, Aldha-West rucks and festivals, etc etc, and that's just stuff off the top of my head in the continental U.S. I'm sure there are more that I'm unaware of.

Frye
03-02-2015, 12:38
Sounds like you're talking AT only? You could add up multiple festivals just for the PCT too. Hard to count if you then include various festivals like the kickoff for the CDT, FT, Aldha-West rucks and festivals, etc etc, and that's just stuff off the top of my head in the continental U.S. I'm sure there are more that I'm unaware of.

Just the AT. I think my head would explode (IE:the movie Scanners) if i tried to ponder em all.

Traveler
03-02-2015, 14:03
I would be remiss for not mentioning the ever popular New England Cottage Cheese Spitting Festival. It has little to do with hiking, but can be fabulously entertaining.

Jeff
03-02-2015, 16:22
You can find a fairly complete listing of "trail festivals" on the last page of AWOL's AT Guide...in the calendar section.

Frye
03-02-2015, 17:14
You can find a fairly complete listing of "trail festivals" on the last page of AWOL's AT Guide...in the calendar section.

Thanks Jeff, I never even thought to look in the guide.

Speakeasy TN
03-04-2015, 00:08
Franklin NC Hiker Fools Bash

Lauriep
03-04-2015, 08:26
New this year: the Flip Flop Kick Off in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, May 2-3!

Location: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, United States
Address: 799 Washington St.
Contact: Laurie Potteiger
Email: lpotteiger@appalachiantrail.org
Phone: 304.535.2200
For some Appalachian Trail hikers, the motto "Hike Your Own Hike" is taking on a new meaning as thru-hikers with non-traditional itineraries gain in popularity. Although 80 percent of hikers who set out to complete the entire Appalachian Trail in 12 months or less start in Georgia and end in Maine, a growing percentage are attempting a "flip-flop," which is a hike that begins and/or ends mid-Trail.

If you're curious about flip-flop hikes, you're not alone! That's why we've decided to host the inaugural Flip Flop Kick Off (FFKO) weekend on Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3, at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Schedule of Events (new events/updated times are being added regularly):

Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. featuring music, games, and the following sessions:
- Panel of Flip-Floppers Join Anne "Nubbins" Brown '14 (Pearisburg northbound); Emily "Fiver" Mishler '14 (Harpers Ferry northbound); and Ryan "Castanada" Seltzer '09 (modified "Cool Breeze").
- "Flipping Out for 30 Days: Lessons Learned" by "Treehugger" A month into her flip flop, "Treehugger" will share what she's experienced so far on the Trail.
- Flip-Flopping in 2014 by Anne "Nubbins" Brown Listen to Anne discuss her experiences as a flip-flop hiker last year.
- Thru-Hike Planning by Ryan "Castanada" Seltzer How do you prepare for a long-distance hike of the A.T.? Ryan shares his tips.
- Leave No Trace on the A.T. Find out how to incorporate these principles into your life on the Trail.
Sunday, May 3, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
- Community breakfast We invite all flip-flop hikers to join the Harpers Ferry community and ATC staff for breakfast from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
- Official flip-flop hiker send off And they're off! Wish the 2015 class of A.T. flip-floppers the best as they set off on their journey at 9 a.m.

appalachiantrail.org/flipflop (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/flipflop)

WingedMonkey
03-04-2015, 09:13
I'm starting to wonder how many of these "drive to the trail to meet hikers" events are degrading the trail.

I can understand the local community welcoming hikers with an event, but it seems more and more of them are an excuse to drive hundreds of miles (maybe thousands of miles) to "see the hikers", or to "teach the hikers" or to "feed the hikers"

Seems lots of folks have more highway miles than trail miles.

Gives a new meaning to yellow blazing.

:sun

Chair-man
03-04-2015, 09:45
Duncannon has one too http://duncannonatc.org/2015-datc-festival/

Traveler
03-05-2015, 08:08
I'm starting to wonder how many of these "drive to the trail to meet hikers" events are degrading the trail.

Commercialization is perhaps the oldest evolutionary process of the human condition. A solitary trail magic provider sets up in an easily reached place to provide some traveler support like snacks and drinks for free. Eventually they are joined by a few others, eventually it grows so there is a fairly routine/dependable "rest stop" at certain transition points of the trail. Once a marketplace is established, merchants will start to appear to sell their wares or services. This in turn makes it easier for people to travel on the trail and increases the traffic. We can find ample historical evidence of this process along roads and byways around the US with Inns and stables popping up at cross roads to support traveler trade.

It's not necessarily a good or bad thing, it just is. I don't know if hiker feeds and festivals are beneficial to the trail itself or not, but they are waypoints to commercialism that are difficult to ignore.

Lone Wolf
03-05-2015, 08:22
it's ridiculous, especially in georgia. hikers are still pudgy and pasty and aren't hungry yet but every road crossing has a feed station

Boo8meR
03-05-2015, 08:40
it's ridiculous, especially in georgia. hikers are still pudgy and pasty and aren't hungry yet but every road crossing has a feed station



Maybe thats when they need it the most? How many drop out before Damascus?

Lone Wolf
03-05-2015, 08:43
Maybe thats when they need it the most? How many drop out before Damascus?

need what? food? they don't need food or anything. many drop out cuz the fantasy doesn't measure up to the reality

Boo8meR
03-05-2015, 09:06
need what? food? they don't need food or anything. many drop out cuz the fantasy doesn't measure up to the reality


Encouragement. Trail magic. Maybe a burger and a smiling face gets someone through another day.

Sly
03-05-2015, 09:58
ATC Biennial (http://www.cvent.com/events/2015-atc-biennial-meeting/event-summary-0469594c7ebb47138d157bb8099713f7.aspx)

10-K
03-05-2015, 10:36
We should start a "Festival Festival" in honor of all the festivals.

LIhikers
03-05-2015, 11:12
Every year, in July, the RPH Cabin Volunteers put on a weekend event that encompasses trail work during the day and socializing in the evenings, and tremendous amounts of food. Not a festival, but a great get together that benefits the AT. And of course, it's held at the RPH Cabin in New York.

Frye
03-05-2015, 11:38
I don't think I have a problem with festivals, but I wouldn't attend one unless I was already in the area. It is nice though how the trail thins out a bit when trail days gets going. I'm not knocking em, it's just not my thing.

Malto
03-05-2015, 12:22
Encouragement. Trail magic. Maybe a burger and a smiling face gets someone through another day.

Im with Lone Wolf on this. If a burger is the only thing getting a hiker through the day then propping them up in GA is delaying the inevitable. Cull the herd early. (Ok, maybe a bit harsh.)

Lone Wolf
03-05-2015, 12:26
Im with Lone Wolf on this. If a burger is the only thing getting a hiker through the day then propping them up in GA is delaying the inevitable. Cull the herd early. (Ok, maybe a bit harsh.)

it's not harsh. the major majority who start a thru-hike have never done any backpacking or very little. it's like standing on the starting line of the boston marathon intending to run 26.2 miles having never even jogged before. enuf with the feeds already

4shot
03-05-2015, 13:03
Im with Lone Wolf on this. If a burger is the only thing getting a hiker through the day then propping them up in GA is delaying the inevitable. Cull the herd early. (Ok, maybe a bit harsh.)

I doubt trail magic makes a nickel's worth of difference in culling the herd. I appreciated the people who did it and it was a great way to meet some locals along the way. I think one of the longest lasting "lessons' from a thru hike is how much we take for granted simple things a cold drink whenever we are in the least bit thirsty. A cold soft drink from a random stranger is appreciated beyond description on a 100* day. Being ecstatic because someone handed you an ice cold Mtn.Dew and a frozen Snickers at a road crossing in Pa.is a powerful thing. seriously, I was moved to the point where I choked up a bit trying to thank the person.

Trail magic did not get me to Maine. Nor did it keep others from quitting. But I am thankful that some people do it and don't understand why we would discourage it. I doubt it would either cull the herd or thin out the number of people who even start. For those of you who provide the trail magic, thanks.

Stix
NOBO 2010

Mags
03-05-2015, 13:33
Trail magic, as spontaneous acts of kindness, are wonderful.

However, the organized hiker aid stations that most people refer to as "trail magic" on the AT and other trails (PCT, CDT), are becoming an issue for the trail organizations and govt agencies both.

Someone handing a cold coke at an overlook is low impact.

When there are organized hiker aid stations, the impact is much higher. Esp with social media, the nature of these "hiker feeds" and caches are becoming a bit too institutionalized. And are, frankly, causing headaches for the trail orgs.

Traditionally, trail angels are those who perform unexpected acts of kindness for hikers on their journey. In recent years, the “trail angel-ing” has become much more organized to the point that they have become hiker aid stations (http://www.pmags.com/trail-magic-sodas-water-caches-and-trash-oh-my)similar to what are seen in organized runs. As there are more hikers, and these caches and hiker feeds become larger and/or more prevalent, I suspect various federal government and state agencies may put a kibosh on them and/or require permits. Something along these lines has already happened. Even on the less popular, but getting busier, CDT. (http://mailman.backcountry.net/pipermail/cdt-l/2014-December/007998.html) Not saying the more organized hiker aid stations are good or bad. But they ARE on the radar now and will be part of the regulation process more and more I suspect. (http://www.atcmarpc.org/documents/Trail%20Magic%20Issue%20Paper%2010-12-06.pdf)

Much like running aid stations, I have a very strong feeling that a permit will be required to have a hiking aid station as the trails continue to become more popular.

Again, someone grilling a burger and happening to see a hiker is one thing...

A 20, 30 or even 40+ person hiker feed will be on the radar a bit more. And will probably start to be regulated more and more.

4shot
03-05-2015, 13:47
Trail magic, as spontaneous acts of kindness, are wonderful.




Mags, i appreciate this response. Perhaps I read a bit more into some of the posts than the writers intended. The trail magic that was best was, indeed,the small, simple "random acts of kindness" from strangers along the way. that is part of the magic of the trail and its culture. I would have hated to miss out on that aspect of the hike.

but, otoh, the big organized things did not have the same impact or appeal to me (not that I wasn't thankful for the food and grateful to those who cooked/organised/etc.). So I guess we need to separate the two things (as you point out) when discussing "trail magic".

Mags
03-05-2015, 14:31
Indeed. To me acts of trail magic and these hiker aid stations are two very different beasts.

Spontaneous vs organized. Intimate vs large. Low or no impact vs high impact. And so on.

We can debate (and will ;) ), the impact of the hiker aid stations, but they are making an impact enough where there is concern about them from "up high" and how they are affecting the trail and the trail experience.

Frye
03-05-2015, 14:53
I wish all organized trail magic just served beer and bacon, nothing else, just beer and bacon.

4shot
03-05-2015, 15:22
I wish all organized trail magic just served beer and bacon, nothing else, just beer and bacon.


My friend, you are a man of genius. If you would have included donuts, I would have imagined it was Einstein himself speaking to us from the other side. OTOH, if we think the trail is "crowded" now, imagine the amounts of people tripping over themselves if your idea of awesomeness ever takes off.

Malto
03-05-2015, 15:37
Mags, i appreciate this response. Perhaps I read a bit more into some of the posts than the writers intended. The trail magic that was best was, indeed,the small, simple "random acts of kindness" from strangers along the way. that is part of the magic of the trail and its culture. I would have hated to miss out on that aspect of the hike.

but, otoh, the big organized things did not have the same impact or appeal to me (not that I wasn't thankful for the food and grateful to those who cooked/organised/etc.). So I guess we need to separate the two things (as you point out) when discussing "trail magic".

I also can remember back to what I consider true trail magic and it did help restore my faith in humanity. It was stuff like rides that were clearly out the driver's way, the Company of a man and his two daughter that I hiked ten miles with in SoCal. On the food front, it was a random hot dog from a crew rebuilding the Rae Lakes ranger station, it was better than steak. These were true trail magic and something I really appreciated.

Frye
03-05-2015, 15:38
My friend, you are a man of genius. If you would have included donuts, I would have imagined it was Einstein himself speaking to us from the other side. OTOH, if we think the trail is "crowded" now, imagine the amounts of people tripping over themselves if your idea of awesomeness ever takes off.

http://www.instructables.com/id/MAN-BAIT-Whiskey-Bacon-Donuts/

4shot
03-05-2015, 20:33
http://www.instructables.com/id/MAN-BAIT-Whiskey-Bacon-Donuts/


Frye, these need to be brought to the very forefront of the war on drugs. I once dated a lovely girl who fed me those things. Of course, I ate them until I went into some sort of combo blackout/coma. I awoke many years later to find out that she was my wife and we had 2 lovely children. i asked for more but instead I got a small salad with low fat dressing and a side of cottage cheese. I have no idea why these things are still considered legal. Life ain't fair.

Just Bill
03-05-2015, 21:42
Promoting anything and encouraging participation is a fine line in any endeavor, but clearly a necessary evil.

Most of us will avoid the high spectacle and busy seasons anyway. So for me; all this sorta stuff pretty well goes on off my radar with the exception that I realize it raises awareness, donations, and votes. The reality is that it takes a massive amount of casual users or trail grazers to support one thru hiker. Very few will ever become thru's, but many will care about the trail in some way.

It'd be nice if instead of a cooler of beer somebody dropped $50 in the ATC mailbox, but that's no fun. That's why people have fundraisers and events. Awareness is generally more valuable than money more often than not. How many locals have you met along a trail who explain in blind wonder "I didn't even know the trail was here!"

It's a shame when hikers and "magicians" don't clean up, otherwise, more often than not, it's easy to walk on by. And if some hiker doesn't quit because they got a cheeseburger then thank god for cheeseburgers. It fazes me about as much as crossing the occasional highway. Bring on the people, the festivals, the crowds. When the trail head lot is full (even when the trail is empty) people get downright uppity at the city council meetings and voting booths and tend to demand more and more open spaces.

Like my Pappy though there is one small element of disgust I do hold from time to time...
McDonalds sells burgers in any town- trail magic can't be bought, brought, or planned.
It's a real damn shame when somebody does try a thru, successful or not, and they get dazzled by the magicians.
Downright sad when they finish the trail having convinced themselves that the show they saw had even an inkling of the real thing we all hike for.

But who knows, maybe one day they'll come back with a cooler, and the trail will kindly explain it to them.

MuddyWaters
03-05-2015, 22:30
Its a different kind of hiker that considers all hiker feeds "trail magic"

Trail magic, is the trail providing what you need, when you need it the most.

If you arent in real need, its not magic. Its just food.

The more you eat on the roadside, the more of whats in your pack you have to carry.

MuddyWaters
03-05-2015, 22:31
Its a different kind of hiker that considers all hiker feeds "trail magic"

Trail magic, is the trail providing what you need, when you need it the most.

If you arent in real need, its not magic. Its just food.

The more you eat on the roadside, the more of whats in your pack you have to carry.

Not saying thats not a good tradeoff sometimes, just a double edged sword.

Jeff
03-06-2015, 07:43
Wish that some of the folks who desire to "give back" to the trail in the form of "feeds" would consider volunteer trail maintenance instead. That's where the trail needs more love.

squeezebox
03-06-2015, 09:59
You need a permit to get a pavilion at a local state or city park for a family reunion. Soup kitchens give out free food but still have to have health dept. inspections. So I think a permit for a big hiker feed would not be that unreasonable. I don't mean to step on your toes Coffee Grounds, or others.
I'm another person who is more thankful for the trail maintenance folks. Just think about shoveling out a privy!!!

squeezebox
03-06-2015, 10:13
off topic: I think there are some folk festivals near the trail. I can't remember the details.
Way off topic: Here in Missouri there is the testicle festival, (say that 3 times fast), Chicken fries, turkey fries, lamb fries, pork fries, beef fries, that should man you up.
But I think it's mainly a reason for a whole lot of rednecks to drink a whole lot of beer.

Frye
03-06-2015, 10:22
Odd watching how the thread somehow went from a question about trail festivals to trail magic to hiker feeds to permits to testicle fest!

Hah

Ground Control
03-06-2015, 10:33
seems like the festivals are a great opportunity to spread awareness to the masses, particularly about LNT, trail maintenance opportunities, specific local trail concerns and such...

full conditions
03-06-2015, 10:43
A few years ago I was up on Big Bald to help some friends with a migratory bird banding project. I had just driven up the the road from Wolf Laurel and had stopped off just before at a fast food joint for a quarter pounder and fries to have for dinner while we hustled around setting up our nets and poles and stuff. It was mid-April so right in the middle of the bubble. So I'm standing there eating my fries and this young guy hikes up to me asking what we had going on, etc... . He looks down at my bag of burgers and says, without a hint of embarrassment "man, that sure looks good" then finally, "wow, Id do just about anything for a bag fries right about now" - to which I answered "well there's a McDonald's just down the hill a ways, I bet they'd sell you a bag". He got the message and moved on but right behind him came two more who tried more or less the same thing.
A little spontaneous trail magic now and again is fine but people need to be responsible for managing their own vacations and these hiker feeds are just turning folks into the human equivalent a bunch of campground bears.