Episode #37 – Trail Days (Part One)



A trip to Trail Days wasn’t on my itinerary when I hiked the AT in 2014, so my visit this year had a dual purpose. I was going there to both see what I’d missed and to interview others who were attending. I was trying to capture some of the spirit of both Damascus at party time and the Appalachian Trail. This episode will focus on Trail Days and forms the first of two such episodes.

I’m still following Attie, as she makes her way north. She has hit a few walls on the way but is upbeat pretty much whenever we speak and is taking each day as it comes. She has teamed up with a couple of other hikers, Bananas and The Machine. Here is her iconic shot at the glorious McAfee Knob.

 

 

Another past guest, Erin McKenzie, told us about her Fear and Loathing thoughts on the AT.

 

But this week is mainly about Trail Days. I’ve pulled together a number of the short, live conversations that I had with a wide variety of people. I hope you enjoy them.

First up was Nathan Harrington, the enthusiastic maker of his Katahdin sign replica. These signs are all handmade by Nathan personally, so each will be unique. Nathan also has a great story to tell about how he proposed to his lovely wife, Sharon, at McAfee Knob. You can actually see the moment he proposes on his YouTube channel, Between the Blazes, as well as other AT videos.
You can also follow him on Twitter as @ToKatahdin. If you’d like to buy one of Nathan’s exquisite hand-made Katahdin signs, go to his website, www.betweentheblazes.com
Tim Keenan told me his moving story that combined his AT thru-hike with a reconciliation of his “enemy,” as he referred to him, later in Vietnam. You can get Tim’s book, The Good Hike, on Amazon. It has excellent ratings.
Next, I spoke with Will Ransom and his beautiful dog, Retta. They seemed to have such a calm and mutual understanding of one another and were utterly devoted to one another. I asked Will if he’d carry on if Retta couldn’t continue. Interesting answer.
Dick Klane, from the Friends of Baxter State Park, kindly gave me a run-through of the new rules regarding permits to summit Katahdin at the end of your hike (as a NOBO). It is really worth listening to Dick, because you really need the climax of your hike to run smoothly on the day. If you’d like further clarification, you can check out their site, at friendsofbaxter.org. It is an excellent site and full of information on the park. It is well worth checking out before you end up in the park.
Bob Peoples is quite simply one of the legends of the Appalachian Trail. His Hardcore Crew work to build and maintain sections of the trail and his selfless devotion to all things AT is remarkable. We are so lucky to have Bob in our lives.
Last, but certainly not least, I ran into two young women at the All You Can Eat (AYCE) pancake breakfast in town. Nadia and Kathleen were at the same table as me and, when Nadia saw my podcast tee shirt, she asked if I was the podcast host. Apparently, she is a listener and I couldn’t miss out on interviewing a fan!!

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