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View Full Version : Trail Days 2004 Appears early on to be a BUST!



Twofiddy
05-14-2004, 00:29
Those of you who know me know that I have spoken up before about things that have occured and that I present a straight forward arguement about things.

This years Trail Days Festival in Damascuss appears to be a BUST! (read initial post time)

The campground move from 2003 looks like it has affected the 2004 attendance significantly. Furthermore there is a heavy police presence here that has put a damper on many things.

There has been alot of talk about Backpacker Magazine taking over this event. That is probably the best thing that can happen from an advertisement stand point. However if there is still going to be the heavy town influence in the form of a wolf pack of police walking around with flash lights in the drum circle for hours on end while people are doing nothing wrong the gross outcome of this festival could diminish. A third party festival agency that would be private, but made up of members of each of the interested parties, and managed by a few people who have good event management experience and good people and communication skills would benifit this festival tremendously.

The old days of camping in town, staying up all night, having fun as a hiker here appear to be over. The move to the camp ground appears to still have many issues that need to be worked out.

I know that alot of people have made statements like "give trail days back to the hikers" and " dont sell my festival" and other things of that sort.

I wonder what others think?? and I wonder what affect the actions of the town (read police) are going to have on future events.

This is it.... this post is the discussion. Present your opinions of how it used to be to how it is now and what you see in the future.

I vote for a full private take over of trail days from the administration stand point. The town of Damascus needs to be totally removed from the planning process administration and create a third party agency that would promote the festival that would have only one goal and that is making the festival succesful. This third party would no doubt be one that would take all interests into consideration, including the towns, the vendors, the hikers, the law enforcement, and more. However it would make better decisions from experience in event management, for an example than using law enforcement officers to run a camp ground.

I felt like a criminal tonight with all of the police walking around shining flash lights on me for hours while I listened to the drums, and then using the police cruiser and the blue lights to shut it down at midnight.

What do you think??

Lone Wolf
05-14-2004, 02:27
You're a drama queen. It ain't that bad. Speak out brother, nobody is lisenting. :clap

Chappy
05-14-2004, 07:28
You're a drama queen. It ain't that bad. Speak out brother, nobody is lisenting. :clap

If the Wolf Man can live with it...must be ok. :-?

Peaks
05-14-2004, 08:36
Well, Trail Days is a unique event. On one hand, it's an annual community festival, not unlike the festivals that many communities in the country have. Some places it's called "Old Home Days," or a "Harvest Festival," or something else. It's a few days when neighbors come together, and people who have moved away come back for reunion with their former neighbors.

On the other hand, there are the thru-hikers. And they want to get together also, but not necessarily with the natives.

Each group has their own agenda. Not that there is anything wrong with this. If it's going to be a thru-hiker festival, then probably more thru-hikers need to be on the planning committee.

And, I suspect that one reason for the camping being limited to the campground, and heavy police presence is probably our own doing. In prior years, we have probably left the area a mess, and not controlled the all night partying. Frankly, what was probably disturbed me the most when I was there 2 years ago was the underage drinking of locals who decided to camp out.

So, if this year is a bust for anyone, it's because of our actions in prior years. Likewise, your actions this year will influence what happens in the future.

Lone Wolf
05-14-2004, 08:55
It ain't the hikers. It's non-hikers causing problems. This is my 14th Trail Days. Things have changed.

Peaks
05-14-2004, 09:15
It ain't the hikers. It's non-hikers causing problems. This is my 14th Trail Days. Things have changed.

In general, I'll agree. It makes for a challenging situation that is hard to control.

Tha Wookie
05-14-2004, 09:51
Flashlights and cops at the drum circles? How unappealing.

Backpacker Magazine taking over trail days? Even worse!

Remember that BM is an advertising entity. Isn't getting away from that sort of mental manipulation an important aspect of the trail to celebrate?

I am heading up there tomorrow, and will be wary of these changes you purport. It sounds like Phish concerts, where the old-timers know it was full of good energy and vibes like a Dead show, but then all of the sudden it was taken over by a bunch of outsiders there just for the party or mostly the drugs, who really didn't get "it" and bad things started to happen (including a brutal police response). The way they dealt with it is cancelled their shows for several years.

:-?

warren doyle
05-14-2004, 15:42
Will this be the year that Trail Days finally implodes?

I agree with most of Peaks posting. I have attended/participated in every Trail Days since the second year. I have seen and heard about hiker misbehavior on an increasing basis. Hikers who are not into the 'party' scene have stopped going to Trail Days. After walking through the campground on Sunday morning last year, the scene was not impressive. Sort of like 'the lost generation'.

By the way, the ALDHA Gathering is not like Trail Days. It will be strictly alcohol-free this year and we adamantly oppose any type of corporate sponsorship. So if you like fellowship among fellow sober hikers and a no corporate logo background, I encourage you to attend the 23rd Gathering of ALDHA. For more info on this event contact www.aldha.org.

Twofiddy
05-14-2004, 17:59
I am glad to stop back here today and read some good responses from a few people.

Trail Days is special because it is a Harvest Festival. It is what it has become from what was at one point in time nothing but a side walk sale and some thru hikers around a camp fire.

The ultimate goal of a festival like this is to bring together those who have done, those who are doing, and those who dream of hiking on the trail. In many ways the commercialized atmosphere is typical of Americans.

With all of the gear that must be purchased, and the services that the trail hikers patronize in towns, it is only the norm for business minded individuals to practice American Capitialism in the hiking venue.

I hope that what appears to be a drastic change in the attendance and demographics of this event will turn out in the long run to be good for our activity that we all love.

I just figured that after talking with others who shared similar opinions about this festival that I would post up a discussion here.

Rain Man
05-15-2004, 12:17
.... there is a heavy police presence here that has put a damper on many things. ....
I felt like a criminal tonight with all of the police walking around shining flash lights on me for hours while I listened to the drums.

Were you doing something criminal? Wanting to?

LOL

Rain Man
05-15-2004, 12:20
By the way, the ALDHA Gathering is not like Trail Days. It will be strictly alcohol-free this year and we adamantly oppose any type of corporate sponsorship. So if you like fellowship among fellow sober hikers and a no corporate logo background, I encourage you to attend the 23rd Gathering of ALDHA. For more info on this event contact www.aldha.org.

WOW... best thing I've read on WhiteBlaze in some weeks!

:banana

kythruhiker
05-17-2004, 02:37
See my post in the "**trail Days Campground Update**" thread, I think the police presence greatly improved on last years, given the attitude change alone (granted, I'm one opinion out of many). When I first walked into the superfund site, I did think "Oh man, they've caged the hikers up so they can be controlled", but after talking to the first two cops, my attitude changed for the better - friendly beyond belief from folks wearing a badge. On the "commercial" side of things, I didn't care for the non-environmentally friendly SUV backpacker.com vehicle in the parade, but it did get a nice barrage of water ballons for the effort...

See ya in the woods,
Ky Thru

Jaybird
05-17-2004, 08:09
soooooo Trail Days has changed from the "good ole days"????

what hasn't!

This was the 18th annual Trail Days Celebration in Damascus & my first time to attend....so, i cant give an account of what it wuz like in those "good ole days"...BUT,, realisticly, you can't take any & all control away from the "host" town.

It wouldnt make any sense to let hikers or anyone else have "total free run" in your town without some sort of supervision (police patrols, etc).


As for the "commercialization" aspect..if you dont have SPONSORS & booths...then who pays for the city services during the events, rental(s) of halls for events, "clean-up" of the aftermath of thousands of tenting hikers....?????

Would you prefer to levy a $50-$!00 festival fee per hiker??????


I enjoyed myself, enjoyed meeting many thru-hikers, section-hikers, WhiteBlaze.net folks & hearing Warren Doyle, & Bill Irwin.

Lone Wolf
05-17-2004, 08:16
Sorry I missed y'all at my house, Jaybird. Got your card.

MOWGLI
05-17-2004, 08:24
The ultimate goal of a festival like this is to bring together those who have done, those who are doing, and those who dream of hiking on the trail. In many ways the commercialized atmosphere is typical of Americans.



I would disagree with this thesis. I think the ultimate goal of the organizers (Town of Damascus) is to bring an infusion of cash into the local economy while providing a good time for locals and hikers alike. If this festival didn't bring a positive economic impact with it, it would probably end.

Thanks to the fine folks of Damascus, VA for putting it on! Special thanks to Tonya Tripplett (Town Clerk) and Eleanor Graselli for all their hard work.

It was good to see some Whiteblaze folks there. Especially SGT Rock.

Jeffrey Hunter

Twofiddy
05-17-2004, 12:04
I would disagree with this thesis. I think the ultimate goal of the organizers (Town of Damascus) is to bring an infusion of cash into the local economy while providing a good time for locals and hikers alike. If this festival didn't bring a positive economic impact with it, it would probably end.

Thanks to the fine folks of Damascus, VA for putting it on! Special thanks to Tonya Tripplett (Town Clerk) and Eleanor Graselli for all their hard work. I get a mixed feeling on peoples opinions of the Towns role in this festival.

My inital post was sparked by Thursday evenings events with what I will call a wolf pack of police that patrolled the camp ground, and then the little stunt at midnight with the flashing of the blue lights on a police cruiser to shut down the camp fire drum circle.

Initially Thursday night I hada real problem with the feeling of the festival. The reason that I posted here was so that others would read, and would take/make some corrective action. If signs were posted that stated that no druming was to take place after midnight, or if it was known ahead of time that the camp fire was over at midnight then ok. Using a police cruiser with flashing lights in my opinion is an unprofessional way to inform people that there peaceful camp fire drum circle is over. Nothing illegal was taking place around that camp fire.

Without elaborating to far... Simply put this post, and actions of others like Miss Janet, Bill Chandler (mt hardwear rep) and others who spoke up early Friday about things that were still able to be changed did have an overall affect on the outcome of this past weeks activities.

Although the overall turnout was less than last year, I think that the things that I saw Thursday night that made me feel like this weekend was going to be a bust, did indeed get some attetnion and the weekend was a successful weekend in taking this festival on to a new level.

Weather or not the goal of this festival is to infuse cash into the local economoy remains to be seen in my opinion. While Damascus is one of the most hiker friendly towns along the trail, Trail Days brings out a different part of the town. I believe that there are many people who dont want this festival to take place here because they dont see the benifit that it brings to the local economy. Many people think that they have to give there home town away for the weekend??

Three huge improvements that need made.

#1 Camp ground management and organizational improvement.

#2 Parking Parking Parking Parking (in town, camp ground, out of town, it all needs improved)

#3 Shuttle Service and designated bus stops. If you are a hiker, who comes to town after walking 500 miles, you dont want to be walking around town all weekend.

Pirate
05-17-2004, 15:08
I boycotted trail days this year. Spent the weekend in a nice secluded place in the mountains close to town. There were no police on bikes, horses or on foot. All of you who did not like this years trail days just don't come back. Havy your own trail days somewhere else.

Hammock Hanger
05-17-2004, 18:31
I just returned from TD's. I had a really nice time. It was an opportunity to reconnect with a number of old friends. I thought it was a lot less crowded this year then the past four that I attended. I still can not believe I was there for 4 days and did not once step foot in the outfitters and other then the hammock quilt I ordered I didn't buy anything other then food and a few beers. As usual I hung my hammock up by The Place as I'm not a partier and usually can't take the "hiker campground" party. I did stop down and listen to the drums for a little while on Sat night. The fire was big, the drummers were good and the crowd was realitively quite. The was a much bigger or more visable police presence, but it may have been a good thing. Kept things under control. My friends who stayed at the campground said as long as you put your beer in a Nalgene or something other then the beer can/bottle and remained civilized the cops didn't really bother you.

I agree it definately has a different style and feel from ALDHA but is still a nice get together. I enjoyed listening to Bill Irwin on SUnday morning, and Jeff Hunter on Friday as well as the ALDHA get together.

The only down side was Saturday night when I had to listen to love birds making it in the tent next to me and later to the sound of someone gettting sick.

The WB meeting was nice but I really didn't get to meet some folks cuz I wasn't sure who they were. Trail Yetti, I didn't know that was you sitting there until after we al left. Sorry, I would have said hi. Lone Wolf came in and I didn't know which of the bikers he was... I do now!! I did get to say hello to Medicine Man, Sgt Rock, Grampie, TX Jack, Baltimore Jack. (Can ya believe I was too shy to introduce myself to those I didn't know.... well I am shy!!!) Hammock Hanger

Hammock Hanger
05-17-2004, 18:32
PS: I also enjoyed a nice bike ride down the mountain. It was nice to see Pirate there eating lunch. He said he was enjoying a quite weekend outside of town. He looked content... HH

A-Train
05-17-2004, 18:37
For what its worth, I thought TrailDays was great. It was my first time. I personally had no problem with police presence or parking or anything else. I was suprised by how friendly most of the cops were and how relaxed they were. Sure I didn't love them breathing down my neck at the fire circle, but they also stood there while most everyone else danced, drank and had a good time, so no harm done. Parking seemed fine at the campground too. Most of my friends had cars and no one complained of not having a spot. And there was a shuttle. The trolly was going back and forth from town to the campground many times a day, and I caught it twice. Not only that, but just about anyone would stop and pick up hikers on the way down. I was offered hitches without needing to use my thumb.
I'm reluctant to have missed the Whiteblaze gathering and not have met so many of you. I got a bit sidetracked on the way down. None the less it was a fantastic weekend. Even got to do a bunch of trailmagic/ride giving to current hikers as well as some hiking and an overnight at the Denton Hilton. Fantastic :)

Capt Chaos
05-17-2004, 18:40
I had two bad experiences this weekend at trail days. The first was when a lady across the street came over to the campground around 8:30 and was nice at first. She asked where I was from, who I was, what I was doing there and so on. Then came the attitude. She told me that they were having a family reunion and to not play the drums or be loud too late. I thought that this comment was ok. But she followed it with the comment, "And if you do stay loud, I will personally come over and kick your ass like you never have had it." This was unnessarsary.

The second problem came from another town person. We were walking in the hiker parade. As we all know, it is a water war. The tactics that we kilted hikers had was to ambush and take balloons from whoever threw them at us (We left the tiny kids alone). So we see this one truck of young guys in it. They had an empty beer box full of balloons. We all decide to take them. As I grab the box, a guy around his mid-twenties pushes me. I asked what that was for, he said nothing. Then I asked again. Then he socked me in the jaw. If you ask me, that was completely unnessasary.

Not all town folks were rude, but a great many were. I have met some extremely nice folks in Damascus. But I and others were treated somewhat rudely by a good many. I do hope something can be worked out. Trail Days is a good event and a lot of fun.

One more thing. The majority of the cops were outstanding. I camped at Billville and some of the cops really got along well with us all. One cop even came over and took pictures of all the fun we were having. So mostly, the cops did a pretty good job.

Chappy
05-17-2004, 19:47
Capt Chaos,
Sounds like you found some of Lone Wolf's relatives! ;)

Hikerhead
05-17-2004, 20:46
I sort of witnessed a townie on townie event. At the end of the parade, the horses were being led thru the crowd that had gathered at the park. One horse got pissed about something and kicked the crap out of someones truck. No mistaken what caused that big dent in his door, it had a perfect horse shoe indention right in the middle of it. They accused the cutie that rode in front, but the poor guy who owned the truck couldn't find a cop to save his life.

Tha Wookie
05-17-2004, 21:31
I had a great time. I didn't get what all the complaining was about. Or maybe things were sorted out before I arrived like suggested above. It was weird having cops around the circle, but at least they weren't searching for problems like other cops I've seen in similar situations.

There were definitely enough shuttles. I think it's rediculous to complain about paying money and then say there should be more services for hikers. The town doesn't owe anybody anything. If you decide to be without transportation other than your feet, then you better not mind walking.

I did miss the talent show, and was disappointed about that. The talent show really brought together everyone for an event. I was hoping to play in it like me and Six String ('97) did a couple years back. Nothing wrong with a little hiker bluegrass, eh? But we had to get home, like most everyone else. I really hope the planners ditch the Sunday idea for the future. There's a good reason it's historically been on Saturday.

Thanks Damascus, and everyone who planned it including whomever thought the Sunday talent show was a good idea, because I'm sure it was out of good intentions. Thanks cops, for encouraging everyone to keep their kilts on. Thanks AT. Good times.

MOWGLI
05-18-2004, 06:49
The tactics that we kilted hikers had was to ambush and take balloons from whoever threw them at us (We left the tiny kids alone). So we see this one truck of young guys in it. They had an empty beer box full of balloons. We all decide to take them. As I grab the box, a guy around his mid-twenties pushes me. I asked what that was for, he said nothing. Then I asked again. Then he socked me in the jaw. If you ask me, that was completely unnessasary.



There is a definite lesson to be learned here. Next time, don't try and take what doesn't belong to you. Not everyone is going to find those "tactics" amusing.

Lone Wolf
05-18-2004, 06:51
Chaos is your typical liberal. TAKE, TAKE, TAKE! :D

The Old Fhart
05-18-2004, 07:06
Hey Lone Wolf, I did TAKE your picture on your new bike. Check it out in the photo section and let me know if I captured the real you.

Capt Chaos
05-18-2004, 07:27
Hey Lone Wolf, I thought I wasnt allowed to get political on this board :) . Oh well, I had a great amount of fun this year. The fun certainly overruled the crappy parts. It was good to see everyone.

Chappy
05-18-2004, 08:01
Hey Lone Wolf, I did TAKE your picture on your new bike. Check it out in the photo section and let me know if I captured the real you.

So that's Lone Wolf? Sure hope I haven't said anything in the past to make him mad! :D

Skeemer
05-18-2004, 09:57
Again, for what it's worth, I echo a lot of A-Train's comments. This was my first Trail Days and I enjoyed it immensley. It was great seeing a lot of the hikers from the Trail last year and some of those I had met or followed on Trailjournals this year. :)

I also liked visiting the vendors and a special thanks to Leki for doing $45 worth of free repairs to my poles.

Great to see Miss Janet and sorry I missed the festivites at her set up at tent city. I heard a good time was had by all.

Thanks to Leif and ZipDrive for letting me hang around their tent and talk with them and meet some to their fans.

The talent show was a little bit of a let down as most hikers were gone or were "boycotting" it due to it's late place in the schedule.

Thought the parade was fun and the free hot dogs and soda a really nice gesture. Found the town people friendly...all in all a great visit back to Damascus!

Tha Wookie
05-18-2004, 10:29
Chaos is your typical liberal. TAKE, TAKE, TAKE! :D
I won't even resort to name-calling because I don't have to, but it is typical to overlook or promote violence, no matter what the scale, from those who thrust themselves on the other end of the linear political spectrum, which was invented by the side that lone wolf is yelping from to make mindless name-calling a little easier (like other slurs, be it racial, political, or cultural). It always make me laugh, because it says so much about the person who does the name calling.

But Choas, if you're going to steal, then try not to do so from an "empty" beer box, savy? :-?

Lone Wolf
05-18-2004, 10:39
Chill out Wook. Chaos knows I'm messin with him. :)

tlbj6142
05-18-2004, 10:45
Chill out Wook. Chaos knows I'm messin with him. :)You are so miss-understood, LW. Your sense of humor is difficult to identify by the uninitiated. I'm constently amazed at how often people actually take you seriously.:D

Sorry, I missed TD (I was in LA) 2004. I'm sure I'll get there next year. Maybe I'll hike in from the south. Thought I won't stay at campgrounds again. Once (maybe 5 minutes) is more than enough for me.

steve hiker
05-18-2004, 12:50
Furthermore there is a heavy police presence here that has put a damper on many things.

I felt like a criminal tonight with all of the police walking around shining flash lights on me for hours while I listened to the drums, and then using the police cruiser and the blue lights to shut it down at midnight.

What do you think??
That sounds like a drag, man.

Tha Wookie
05-18-2004, 13:42
Chill out Wook. Chaos knows I'm messin with him. :)
I'm chill. no worries, man

Jack Tarlin
05-18-2004, 14:17
Jeez, whatta ridiculous thread. The police presence over the weekend was rather benign, all things considered. There were remarkably few problems and arrests, considering the level of idiocy embarked on by a few folks who didn't have the sense to Nalgene their beers, etc. As for the police presence at the drum circle, geez, another non-issue. They merely hung around looking for idiots, i.e the ones who would've fallen in the fire if they weren't careful. Plus, all this fuss over a drum circle??? Get a life, people. A drum circle is nothing more than a bunch of sodden white kids from the Connecticut suburbs pretending they're Jamaican for a few hours and then waking up with headaches the following noon with assorted regrets..... Complaining about a "spoiled" drum circle is pretty funny, if you think about it. Wanna improve a fire circle? Well, forget about banning the cops. I'd start by banning the drums.

The police were respectful, polite, and professional. They didn't hassle anyone that didn't need it. For every person who got busted, a dozen got polite warnings, and some folks got more than one. The cops were there to PREVENT problems, not exacerbate them. This is the first Trail Days I can remember where there weren't problems with locals or other non-hikers and the first time I didn't hear about a bunch of hikers getting their stuff ripped off over the weekend. In short, the police presence was hardly over-bearing or threatening; the only folks I saw who were bothered by the cops were people who had good reasons for being bothered; this is a non-issue.....

As for the bitching about Backpacker and the "Corporate" presence at Trail Days.....what a load of bull****. Needless to say, the same folks whining about corporate takeovers of hiker events and globalization were the same folks gathering like lemmings around the Backpacker, Eastern Mountain Sports, and other Vendor booths when they were tossing out free stuf. In other words, their mere presence their offends some follks, but when these same large corporations are flinging out free socks or repairing/replacing your sticks or pack for free, well then, they're OK. Kinda like folks bitching about cops....everyone hates them til you're broken down on the highway or in a lousy part of town at three in the morning; then they're your best friend.

Enough of this. Trail Days was NOT a bust. I've been to something like 10 of them, and this was one of the best. Enough said.

Capt Chaos
05-18-2004, 14:50
Decently said Jack. I still like my drum and I like to be a part of the drum circles too. Your still alright Jack, your still alright. :)

gravityman
05-18-2004, 15:03
Yeah, the title of the thread is misleading. Even Twofiddy came back and said that things calmed down and that trail days was a huge sucess.

On the other side, when we hiked in '01 we had heard so much about the partying and drinking that is scared us away from Trail Days. I think I got most of this impression from the internet and email lists, although might have been some trail talk at the time as well. Anyway, we really regreted the decision not to go back to Damascus that year. Next year we are absolutely going to hit TD on our thru! It just goes to show you, don't believe everything you read on here. Somethings you just have to experience for yourself and make your own decision!

Gravity Man

chomp
05-18-2004, 15:31
A drum circle is nothing more than a bunch of sodden white kids from the Connecticut suburbs pretending they're Jamaican for a few hours and then waking up with headaches the following noon with assorted regrets.....
ha! Every year I go to Trail Days I think to myself that *THIS* is the year that I will understand the drum circle. And everytime I go over to the drum circle, I stand there for about 20 minutes, shaking my head, not understanding what exactly is going on.

As for the rest of Trail Days, I'll chime in as well to say that it was a good time. There were a few instances of police bullishness - one of them almost ran me over in a golf cart - but those were the exceptions. Almost every officer was polite, and I was even able to drink from my Nalgine right in front of them.

The only thing that really needs improvement is the campground. It was a good idea having a seperate camping and parking area... but there just wasn't enough room for both. The camping areas were very limited, and with the rain, a lot of people got soaked. I think they are working on this for next year already, however, as it appears there is some work going on behind the bathrooms.

It was a great time... can't want until next year.

Jester2000
05-18-2004, 15:37
A few points about this thread, but first I would like to thank all of the hikers, hostel owners, gear reps, local citizens, and officers from the surrounding communities who made Trail Days (and Billville) such a raging success.

That said. . .

First, everyone WAS notified before Thursday night that the drum circle was to end by midnight, unless you either donít consider drum circles loud, or you decided not to read the camp rules handed out to everyone at the entrance. Granted, it is unlikely that anyone was looking at watches in the middle of that muddy, out-of-rhythm mess. But to give them their due, the police had a meeting on Friday, made adjustments, and even extended the drum circle by an hour on Saturday night (non-watch-wearers may not have noticed).

Second, plenty of illegal activity was going on around the drum circle. Letís not pretend that because the police decide to be lenient that it means the activity didnít happen or that it wasnít illegal.

Third, Captain Chaos and his friends were warned BY ME that stealing would lead to a local wanting to throw more than a water balloon at him, but they chose to continue doing so. I like Capt. Chaos, but on that point I have little sympathy.

Fourth, the Backpacker SUV is actually relatively enviro-friendly; it is a prototype vehicle that you could have asked them about while you were getting your free stuff from them. You could still give them a call if youíre actually interested and not just throwing rocks.

Finally, if Rain Man really thinks that Warren Doyleís sanctimonious advert for the Gathering was the best thing on Whiteblaze in weeks, one can only wonder what other threads he could have possibly been reading. The only reason that the Gathering is completely alcohol free this year is that certain people finally decided that the rules have to apply to everyone, not just the people they donít like. So if you want to enjoy the fellowship of fellow sober hikers, by all means attend the Gathering. You could also attend the AA meeting that is always offered. You will see the members of Billville at the Gathering this year as well, because we are also dues-paying ALDHA members, and we enjoy attending many of the events (we avoid others). We will not, however, be camping at the official site. WE do not automatically consider a hiker who drinks a bad person (just as we donít consider contra dancers inherently confused, misguided, or evil); we do, however, play by and respect the rules. We will post the Billville 2004 Gathering location on a number of sites, including this one. It would be my pleasure to enjoy the company of most of you there.

Huzzah!!

Jester2000
05-18-2004, 15:45
Gosh, Chomp.....how would adding extra campsites to the mix have insured that folks stayed dry? As far as I could see, it pretty much rained all over the place; having more campsites would merely have provided more places to get wet. But a nice idea, I guess. Well, sorta.

And as for the bullishness and brutishness in evidence, it seems that the REVOLTING noises emanating from your tent all weekend would certainly qualify. I've heard better sounds comin' out the window of a Kosher slaughterhouse. It almost drove me back to the drum circle.

Just my two cents, honey. Keep those posts comin'.

(For those of you shocked at the above, you may notice that it sounds much like the writing stylings of Baltimore Jack. And you would be correct. I left the room for two minutes and this is what happens. Miss Janet's can be a dangerous place. And Jack, though he may be "the Soul of the trail" -- see National Geographic Adventure Traveler this month -- is nevertheless a bastard.)

Jack Tarlin
05-18-2004, 15:56
This is true.

And if he separated my shoulder while removing me from the computer, I suspect I deserved it.

Now Chomp.......about those noises....

chomp
05-18-2004, 16:03
Gosh, Chomp.....how would adding extra campsites to the mix have insured that folks stayed dry?

Just my two cents, honey. Keep those posts comin'.
Wow.. honey? I didn't realize that our relationship had progressed that far... If I had actually gotten drunk enough to forget parts of the weekend, I'd be worried right now...

As for the more sites thing... I heard from several people camped down low by the river that the groud got soaked. Also, several areas that were used for camping turned into giant mud pits. Meanwhile, the relaitivly high ground in the parking area stayed fairly solid.

And not that parking in the mud would have helped any... obviously that would have been introduced a whole new set of problems. And as for getting wet, I think that everyone in the Billville area that had a tent that DIDN'T have Sir Edmund Hillary's seal of approval stayed dry inside. Did you happen to check out those MSR tents in the demo area, Jester?

Finally, I have to agree with the promotion of the Gathering being rather scathing and self-rightous. You know, we allowed illegal bridge jumpers and tresspassers at the Winter Warmer (though none came that I know of). Not that I want to start that argument again - since it goes nowhere. I am looking forward to the Billville campsite site in October, however. See, because I can enjoy an adult beverage AND have a good time at the Gathering. All without ever breaking the law.

tlbj6142
05-18-2004, 16:04
ha! Every year I go to Trail Days I think to myself that *THIS* is the year that I will understand the drum circle. And everytime I go over to the drum circle, I stand there for about 20 minutes, shaking my head, not understanding what exactly is going on.I think they drums are there so folks can actually sleep. I was maybe 40-50' from the drums last year. The only time I slept that night was about 5 minutes after the drums started until they stopped. They do a great job of drowning out the loud folks. Think of them as campfire white noise.

Now the 3am-5am blue grass band (not sure if they were there this year) kept me up as well as several folks talking quite loud from 5am-7am (at which point we got up) just outside our tent.

chomp
05-18-2004, 16:05
Now Chomp.......about those noises....
You know, I can take this crack from Jester since I know he was up really late. However, you hit the sack before or around midnight every night, Jack. You were long passed out before any noise pollution would have occured. In case you didn't get the memo... Hiker Midnight is reserved for hikers... :)

The Old Fhart
05-18-2004, 16:37
After reading all of the above, coupled with my own observations, I conclude Trail Days is whatever you want it to be. The people who like the drum circle (which I put on par with a root canal) had a good time. The people who wanted to test the resolve of the police and complain, got what they wanted and deserved. The people who wanted contra dancing probably got what they wanted for some strange reasons I can't fathom. Billville, as usual, was a high point of the camping area with as eclectic a group as you will find. The factory reps were great at repairing almost anything at no cost. The town and the police were friendly and considerate. The hiker parade went smoothly with little chaos. I got to sleep soundly in the center of town and meet lots of friends from all these groups as well as get in some hiking before I came to town. I enjoyed myself because that was my expectation. I'll certainly be back next year.

steve hiker
05-18-2004, 17:04
As for the police presence at the drum circle, geez, another non-issue. They merely hung around looking for idiots, i.e the ones who would've fallen in the fire if they weren't careful.
Sounds like they were looking for me. Can't a pothead smoke a joint in peace without being hit by a police searchlight?

eyahiker
05-18-2004, 17:10
Just been sitting back and reading all of the hullabaloo.....would like to go next year. So far Old Fhart has the wisest advice:clap

Trail Yeti
05-18-2004, 17:21
Trail Days....mostly it was a DAZE...especially thursday night when I ran into Lone Wolf at the old Mill (Semper Fi bro!)...and all day saturday when I drank with the granite gear guys. I didn't stay in the campground, but I hung out there a lot, and it did seem about the same as last year, except for the parking thing and police presence...there was plenty of partying.
As for drum circles...they crack me up, I just like to watch the chicks gyrate!! :banana :banana :clap :jump ;) :D

A-Train
05-18-2004, 17:50
over A drum circle is nothing more than a bunch of sodden white kids from the Connecticut suburbs pretending they're Jamaican for a few hours and then waking up with headaches the following noon with assorted regrets.....



Now THAT is one of the funniest things I've read here on a long time. That explains my school (university of vermont) and the town (Burlington) in a nutshell

Krewzer
05-18-2004, 22:40
I had an excellent time at TD this year. I plan to go again next year and the year after that. The pumper truck in this year's parade was particularly great.

On the subject of TD going downhill and why , my main problem is the camping area.

I appreciate all that Damascus does for TD and I'm sure the town had what they believed to be good reasons to move hiker camping up the road. If I try real hard I can think of a few myself.

But, in my humble and not particularly well informed opinion, the place aint much. It has the feel of a concentration camp.

It's not the Police, the police don't bother me. It's not the 10 bucks for parking, though I'm suspicious of where they're going with this.

But that d***ed fence, it just ain't natural.

As far as I can tell, it has no purpose. There's nothing there to lock up.
Maybe they could sell it for scrap or give to some one who will come get it.

The Berlin Wall was torn down, looks like someone could get rid of a few hundred feet of chain link fence.

Krewzer

Mountain Dew
05-19-2004, 12:41
I thought this years trail days was a big success. The increase in police presence was fine. People that dislike this increase are most likely the same people that cause the trouble in the first place. I saw many of the officers walk up to hikers and start conversations with them. There are only two things that I'd lime to see changed. First, the roads inside the camp ground needs more gravel and general work to keep the cars from getting stuck. Second, the talent show needs to be moved to saturday. Notice the attendance at the talent show the past two years ??? Overall I give the city of Damascus and the police presence and A+ for their efforts.

Chappy
05-19-2004, 17:38
After reading all of the above, coupled with my own observations, I conclude Trail Days is whatever you want it to be.
Old Fhart raises a good point...one that really applies to everything we do. Two sides to every coin, some will see both sides, others will see only one and still others will see neither side. Sounds like the vast majority had a great time. Really looking forward to passing through Damascus on my thru hike. Don't plan to be there for Trail Days though...crowds! Yikes, not sure which side of the coin I'm looking at. ;)

steve hiker
05-19-2004, 18:15
Two sides to every coin, some will see both sides, others will see only one and still others will see neither side.
There's only one side of the coin to me. I"m peacefully smoking a bowl and a busload of cops are there shining flashlights around looking for a bust? No way I'm doing Traildays.

max patch
05-19-2004, 18:30
My take on TD is that you can either hang out in town and talk to hikers or you actually get out and hike. Easy call to make for me; I spent 3 days at Grayson hiking with the ponies. Also got to meet and talk to quite a few thru-hikers who bypassed TD. Different strokes.

The Old Fhart
05-19-2004, 19:36
Max Patch-My take on TD is that you can either hang out in town and talk to hikers or you actually get out and hike.
Good point but what I did is hike 135 miles onto Waynesboro and then spend 3 days visiting with old and new friends at Trail Days. I had the time to do both but if you're limited, you may have to make a choice. Each choice has plus and minuses.

Desert Lobster
05-19-2004, 20:21
Old Fahrt, you must be almost 100 by now! How did the legs stand it?

The Old Fhart
05-19-2004, 21:03
Desert Lobster-Old Fahrt, you must be almost 100 by now! How did the legs stand it?
Ah, I get energized by young hikers like you who inspire me. Actually, I can call almost all hikers young! I'm slow but consistant so on my 10 day hike I did manage to keep ahead of some thru hikers who took a zero day in town when I continued on. I had 10 days worth of food so I didn't have to stop and that helped keep my average up. I'm not quite 100, I only look it because I used to live the wild life :).

Rain Man
05-19-2004, 23:06
... I"m peacefully smoking a bowl and a busload of cops are there shining flashlights around looking for a bust? No way I'm doing Traildays.

Sounds like a good idea to me, if you don't do Trail Days if your intent is to do drugs.

.

steve hiker
05-20-2004, 00:17
I don't do drugs, I just smoke weed. :sun


Alkies though, they are real druggies. But the cops wink at them, cause they're hired by Big Alcohol to protect their profits.

Chappy
05-20-2004, 00:56
Ah, I get energized by young hikers like you who inspire me. Actually, I can call almost all hikers young! I'm slow but consistant so on my 10 day hike I did manage to keep ahead of some thru hikers who took a zero day in town when I continued on. I had 10 days worth of food so I didn't have to stop and that helped keep my average up. I'm not quite 100, I only look it because I used to live the wild life :).

You looked pretty energetic when that young lady in the thong was hugging you! I viewed Chomp's photos. Good to put a face to a name. :)

Lone Wolf
05-20-2004, 03:30
That young lady in a thong is 44 years old. :D

okpik
05-20-2004, 06:52
...............................

The Old Fhart
05-20-2004, 07:12
Actually Peaches is a kid compared to me. I first met her in 1998 near Carter Dome on the A.T. in NH looking for Baltimore Jack. All in good fun.

loonyhiker
05-20-2004, 09:11
Old Fhart,

I hope Java found you on Sunday. I was sitting on the porch of the B&B early Sunday morning when she was trying to find you. When she asked if I knew Old Fart, I told her that the only one I knew was my hubby and he was still in bed! I asked around but no one knew where you were so I couldn't pass on where she said she would meet you so I hope you found each other.

loony

MOWGLI
05-20-2004, 09:54
Old Fhart,

I hope Java found you on Sunday. I was sitting on the porch of the B&B early Sunday morning when she was trying to find you. When she asked if I knew Old Fart, I told her that the only one I knew was my hubby and he was still in bed! I asked around but no one knew where you were so I couldn't pass on where she said she would meet you so I hope you found each other.

loony

Loony,

Is Frank still on the trail? I hadn't seen any update in his journal recently.

Jeffrey Hunter

warren doyle
05-20-2004, 19:52
Chomp (#43) - Bridge jumping at the Billville Winter Warmer? Since safe adventure is my first priority, I would have to say that even though the bridges across the Juniata River and Susquehanna River are high enough for a safe thrill, it would quickly end with a probable injury due to the shallowness of the water below. Couple that basic fact with February air/water temperatures and you would be able to understand why there was a dearth of bridge jumpers at the Winter Warmer. However, summer fording the Susquehanna River is an interesting adventure as experienced by several members of the 1980 AT Circle Expedition who also forded the Potomac, Lehigh, and Housatonic Rivers, along with playing a game of 'setback' in the middle of the Kennebec and getting in some good body surfing underneath the bridge at Abol Bridge Campground.
I'm glad you are looking forward to being at the Billville campsite at the 2004 Gathering.

Jester2000 (#40) - Thanks for posting the Billville Gathering location.

The Old Fhart (#46) and others: For your information -
Why I like contra dancing?
1) I enjoy the wonderful combination of individual creativity within a moving, vibrant community.
2) It is magical when the musicians, dancers and caller feed off each other's
positive energy.
3) I enjoy the physicality of it all - the swinging, the twirling, the eye contact, the connection of hands, arms and smiles.
4) I enjoy the beauty and lyricism of it all.
5) I like the fact that I can be in a group of people that can enjoy themselves, and each other, without alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and/or casual sex.
These are only some of the reasons.

From 7-10pm on Saturday night there was a contra dance at Trail Days in the Rock School. It was the most pleasant, satisfying and enjoyable place for me to be at that time.
I look forward to the Saturday night contra/square dance (and the return of the Hoorah Cloggers) at this year's Gathering.

Happy trails and twirls!

Bilko
05-20-2004, 21:57
There is an old saying that goes like this:

First you use it. Then you abuse it. Then you lose it.

The times they are a'changing. If the number of people has increased over the past several years, then the times have changed. You cannot keep things the same. What you can do is try to make it positive and go with the changes.

steve hiker
05-20-2004, 22:11
What's with this drum circle, anyway? Is this a longstanding tradition, or is it yet another product of the C-RAP culture where music has been reduced to moronic beating on tree trunks?

Lugnut
05-20-2004, 23:29
People trying to get in touch with their "inner savage" ? ? :D

Lone Wolf
05-20-2004, 23:36
I've jumped the bridge in Hot Springs several times. It's a SERIOUS bridge. Just a statement.

Tha Wookie
05-21-2004, 00:16
Get a life, people. A drum circle is nothing more than a bunch of sodden white kids from the Connecticut suburbs pretending they're Jamaican for a few hours and then waking up with headaches the following noon with assorted regrets..... Complaining about a "spoiled" drum circle is pretty funny, if you think about it. Wanna improve a fire circle? Well, forget about banning the cops. I'd start by banning the drums.


Yeah, those crazy kids and their "Rock and Roll"! They wouldn't get away with that crap in Jacks day! :banana

Lone Wolf
05-21-2004, 00:21
That s**t at the drum circles ain't rock n roll. Buncha non-talented, wannabe..... ah, just as Jack described. I love to kick stinkin, dread headed hippies! Better than shootin gooks! :D

Tha Wookie
05-21-2004, 00:22
What's with this drum circle, anyway? Is this a longstanding tradition, or is it yet another product of the C-RAP culture where music has been reduced to moronic beating on tree trunks?
You sound like you need a healthy dose of RHYTHM brutha!

Come on, move those feet! :clap :banana

Desert Lobster
05-21-2004, 00:51
I like hanging out at the dump and shooting rats!

steve hiker
05-21-2004, 00:59
That s**t at the drum circles ain't rock n roll. Buncha non-talented, wannabe..... ah, just as Jack described. I love to kick stinkin, dread headed hippies! Better than shootin gooks! :D
Got that right!

steve hiker
05-21-2004, 01:04
You sound like you need a healthy dose of RHYTHM brutha!

I know more about rhythm and music than any retarded C-RAPPER pounding on his drum.

Ever hear of devolution? White kids brainwashed by the media into trying to act like Africans.

And by the way, I'm not a "brutha" -- I'm WHITE!

Chappy
05-21-2004, 08:45
I've jumped the bridge in Hot Springs several times. It's a SERIOUS bridge. Just a statement.
How high was that bridge you jumped? :)

Tha Wookie
05-21-2004, 10:04
That s**t at the drum circles ain't rock n roll. Buncha non-talented, wannabe..... ah, just as Jack described. I love to kick stinkin, dread headed hippies! Better than shootin gooks! :D
My oh my, it doesn't take much to bring out a hateful racist tone on this site. You hate pacifists also? I suppose this is part of the elusive LW sense of humor? Wow. You said it, man.

I was alluding to the Rock n Roll bashing that your parents' generation did...geeze.

They have a "Beat the Drum" program here in Georgia, where Dr. Arvin Scott, a very talented hand-drummer and UGA music professor, teaches inner-city kids to hand-drum on a variety of rhythms and different drums. As the students learn, they work their way up, until eventually they earn a drum of their own to keep. They are encouraged to keep up drumming sessions with others. It is a very positive way to appreciate cultural heritage (although the program does not discriminate) and keep kids out of trouble.

Drumming is great. I don't drum myself or really hang out near the circles except on occasion (drowns out my guitar), but I do appreciate and enjoy it. Sure, the trail days circle, and many others for that matter, invariably have a drummer or two out of rythm. But it's a spirit of having fun. It's letting go and hanging loose. It's dancing around and having a good time, and reconnecting to our more primal past (not all drums are African, fellas).

And Jack wants to ban them, LW says he likes to beat the pacifists even more than murdering on the grounds of racism, and Steve, well we've all seen his racist posts before (which usually don't merit reply).

You guys are the old men now, just farting into the wind, complaining about some young kids and their noise.

Ya'll need some RHYTHM bruthas!!!:clap :banana :clap :banana

Mags
05-21-2004, 12:23
>>You guys are the old men now, just farting into the wind, complaining about >>some young kids and their noise.

Hey..I am all of 30 (as of two days ago :)), and I don't get drum circles as well. Did not get them 10 years ago at 20! Suspect most of my friends back home would not get them as well. (All early twenites to early thirties) Now I that I live in Boulder, CO.see way too many drum circles. Don't get 'em. Wookie, I'd rather listen you play guitar around the campfire. Probably much better to listen to that the trustafarian bongo drumming! :) You probably have talent as opposed to the typical drum circle I see in these parts!


Mags (from a decidely blue collar background....where Dad would have banged more than drums if I started a drum circle at our house. :) )

Jack Tarlin
05-21-2004, 13:25
Ah, Wookie, you're showing the callousness of youth. One doesn't have to be an old fart to think that drum circles are boring, witless, and annoying. I felt this way when I saw my first one way back in the day......in fact, my contention that drum circles are ridiculous goes back to when you were still filling up plastic trousers on an hourly basis, so if you want to criticize those of us who find drum circles childish and laughable, you'll have to do better than simple ageist comments. A cheap shot makes for a cheap argument.

It isn't because of our years that we find drum circles wanting. It's merely common sense.

Typical drum circle scene: A bunch of highly stoned, nose-ringed, and poorly tatooed upper middle-class white kids, many of them with trendy Trustfundarian haircuts, staggering around a campfire trying desperately to hold a beat while banging on a bunch of homemade tom toms that would've made your typical 50's beatnik look and sound like the second coming of Charlie Watts.

In the morning, or more likely, the next afternoon, they awake with a vague recollection of what they did the night before. A few months later, they're back home in some tony northeastern suburb, and their search for their alleged tribal or Caribbean roots ends with a bang when they realize that they're not likely to get much of a job with hair that smells like rotten cocoanuts and looks like they combed it with a piece of toast.

In short, Wook, the whole drum circle thing is more than a little bit silly. But if you wanna think a hikerfest drum circle represents the highest fulfillment of Western Civ, well more power to ya. Just don't expect the rest of the world to share your enthusiasm.

And I thought that LONG before I became an old fart complaining about noise.

Second thought, there are some benefits to drum circles....on occasion, they attract a few women worth half a glance, if you can get past the matted filth, braided armpits, and if you have time to run 'em thru a car wash once or twice without an automobile.

Otherwise.....take your drum circle and......pound it.

Blue Jay
05-21-2004, 13:49
Second thought, there are some benefits to drum circles....on occasion, they attract a few women worth half a glance, if you can get past the matted filth, braided armpits, and if you have time to run 'em thru a car wash once or twice without an automobile.


I am in shock. It's one thing to get so old you don't like to dance. But to give up sex with women, because you must realize, you have now publicly insulted them all. Now that is truly old. :banana

eyahiker
05-21-2004, 14:34
O U C H !..............

ga>me>ak
05-21-2004, 14:35
To funny Jack, thanks for the laugh

warren doyle
05-21-2004, 15:00
Although I don't agree with your interpretation Jack it was an entertaining post.
I wonder what your 'take' would be on contra dancing?

TJ aka Teej
05-21-2004, 15:59
I wonder what your 'take' would be on contra dancing?

(not Jack here, but..)

Contra dancing is just the drum circle of a different culture.
Some cultures call their drum circles 'Billville'.
Tho' entirely different, pretty much the same.

Jack Tarlin
05-21-2004, 17:21
In truth, Warren, I haven't attended enough Contra dances to comment.

But if you must know, I'd haveta say it's probably something of a toss-up.

Or lemme put it this way, if I had to choose between one or the other, it'd kinda be like the choice you get in Utah when you're found guilty of a capital offense: The State of Utah magnanimously lets the convicted man decide whether he wants to be hanged until dead or shot full of pieces by a firing squad. The end result is pretty much the same.

So to answer your question: If I haddda choose between a contra dance and a drum circle, what would I choose as my fate?

It depends, dear Warren, on whether or not being shot or hanged were also open as atractive alternative options for the evening.

But thanks for asking.

Jester2000
05-21-2004, 20:40
[QUOTE=Tha Wookie]You guys are the old men now, just farting into the wind

Actually, Billville tried to have a Farting in the Wind Circle a couple of years ago. It was more rhythmic and smelled better than a drum circle, but a particularly exuberant Gene Krupa-style solo done much too close to the fire caused a methane explosion which tragically killed three participants and wounded at least fifteen others.

pvtmorriscsa
05-22-2004, 02:48
Howdy all,

Didn't Ollie North get into trouble dancing with Contras?

Desert Lobster
05-22-2004, 10:45
They occur a lot of weekends from Camden on up to Blue Hill along the coast. It's not a circle though and the players are usually quite talented. A lot of the rich upper crust summer folk attend.

steve hiker
05-22-2004, 13:28
Whatever happened to the guitar?

Capt Chaos
05-22-2004, 16:41
Hey Guys. On the issue of Drum Circles, if you dont like them, then dont go to them. Easy as that. Why sit around and complain non stop over who understands drum circles? The circle this year was located in an area away from most of the campers. Let the ones who wish to drum, drum, the ones who dont, dont.


God Bless you all,
Capt. Chaos

"Ya'll need some RHYTHM bruthas!!!:clap :banana :clap :banana"
- Quote The Wookie

Lone Wolf
05-22-2004, 22:27
Deep dude. :sun

bfitz
05-23-2004, 02:26
All I know is that two paths converged in the woods. I took the one with the red blaze...and I don't really remember what happened after that...

steve hiker
05-23-2004, 03:14
All I know is that two paths converged in the woods. I took the one with the red blaze...and I don't really remember what happened after that...
I'll tell you what happened, you red blazing little devil. You went STRAIGHT TO HELL !!!

Let this be a lesson to the rest of you who stray from the straight and narrow.
REPENT. REPENT NOW!

Footslogger
05-23-2004, 11:05
Wasn't there a song, once upon a time, about somebody who didn't want to work ...they wanted to bang on this drum all day?? Maybe that's how this whole thing got started ...

'Slogger

Tha Wookie
05-23-2004, 20:38
[QUOTE=Tha Wookie]You guys are the old men now, just farting into the wind

Actually, Billville tried to have a Farting in the Wind Circle a couple of years ago. It was more rhythmic and smelled better than a drum circle, but a particularly exuberant Gene Krupa-style solo done much too close to the fire caused a methane explosion which tragically killed three participants and wounded at least fifteen others.
lol.....:jump

Jack, I presume you meant my "callowness" rather than callousness, which actually pretty much sums up what I think of your opinion on the drumming matter. But what they do is what they do, and you and others bad-mouthing them on the internet hardly shows your age-old wisdom.

Just like the way you so publicly defend One Leg and dare people to offend him to his face as they do on the web, I didn't see you telling any of the dancing beauties around the circle any of your insults, or see you complaing about rhythm or socio-economic dispersion to any of the drummers. In fact, I didn't see you around there at all when I was, so maybe I just missed your living example. I did, however, see Miss Janet there and she was smelling pretty good.

Hey Jack, could you roll down the window next time? By the way, that was a pretty freakin' funny post! :jump

Twofiddy
05-25-2004, 22:34
As I posted in an early reply I decided to change my tune because of the things that happened after what happened that I did not like on Thursday Night.

Overall I am happy that I posted this thread. It has brought to light a number of issues, and a number of peoples opinions.

Jack I realize that you and Warren Doyle do not make the drum circle on of your top events.

Early on Thursday I had some issues with the way that the festival felt. I felt that there was something that others in the festival were not going to enjoy, like the police possy.

I my self dont mind alot of things but I look at things from the perspective of how will others look at something.

I would like to see a few changes made.
I would like to see the event bring more money in to Damascus to make the town a better place for hikers, bikers, and the people who live there.

I posted this post origionally to spark some thought. I wanted to edit the actual title of the post but that feature is not avaliable on this board.

TWOFIDDY