Trail Days 2019, Damascus Virginia
If they say that you become like the 5 people you spend a lot of time with, then Girl Gotta Hike sure is in good company!
Every third weekend of May, thousands of current year Appalachian Trail hikers, previous year AT hikers, gear vendors, non-profit groups, authors, speakers, hostel owners and other outdoor fans descend on the tiny town (population 790), of Damascus, Virginia. Sitting at the crossroads of both the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Creeper Trail (a rails to trails bike path), Damascus is a perfect jumping off point for all things outdoors.
For me, 8 years after my own thru-hike, Trail Days is primarily a place to catch up with old hiking buddies and make new business connections for this newish guide business you might have heard of…Girl Gotta Hike?? But in all seriousness, it really is a weekend full of fun, parades, workshops, chance meetings, reconnections and warm and welcoming people. Plus it’s usually much warmer in VA than NYC this time of year, so it makes for nice travel.
I’ve attended Trail Days in years past as a photography vendor, then as a speaker with a slideshow, but what keeps me coming back, (besides hanging with my buddies like Badger, Harvest, Sprout, Hippie Chick and Navigator, to name a few), is the community at large. If it weren’t for them and our shared enthusiasm about the AT, Girl Gotta hike wouldn’t have come to fruition!
This year I got to help dish out plates at an annual hiker feed put on by two trail hostels in Maine, The Appalachian Lodge and Shaw’s Hiker Hostel and interview the owners for a future GGH Podcast Episode. It was so much fun and I can’t wait to see my Trail Family (or tramley) next year!
Shoutouts to all my favorite trail things! Sarah Jones Decker Photography, The Trek, The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Atlas Guides (aka Guthook), Gossamer Gear, Enlightened Equipment, Shaw’s Hiker Hostel, The Appalachian Lodge and Cafe, The New York New Jersey Trail Conference, Hiker Feed, The Town of Damascus, and of course, The Real Hiking Viking!