Trail Days ’08 (and other stuff)

I Drove up to Damascus, Virginia on Friday, May 16th for ‘Trail Days’, the festival for Appalachian Trail Thru-hikers. I camped out at ‘Hoppy and Birdie’s’ place, behind their barn. I saw a lot of old friends that I haven’t seen for a while, which was real nice.

The first night, I decided to go into town and listen to the ‘Jones Boys’ jam at the gazebo. Rat was sitting in with the band, and they sounded really good. It was a bit chilly, but there was a pretty fair crowd anyway, considering, and everyone had a good time. Later on, I did a little bit of jamming around the campfire at Hoppy’s, but my fingers were too cold, despite all the anti-freeze I had consumed.

I stayed up long enough to watch the moon set behind the ridgeline. The temperature inside my tent went from darn near freezing to oven-like before I even realized it. I woke up smoldering hot. Somehow, I got a bit sunburned.

In the afternoon, instead of going to town and watching the parade, I decided to take a nap, watch the hawks fly overhead, and prepare for the evening’s festivities. I jammed on my guitar for a few folks around Rat’s camp, and Rat even sat in on a couple of songs. There were a few requests that are Trail Day’s traditionals, that had to be played, and I have written a few new songs since my last trip to Trail Day’s ( a few years ago) that I felt like playing, too.

I climbed into my tent at a somewhat reasonable hour, and woke up Sunday morning feeling rather refreshed. Birdie had cooked a huge plate full of Pillsbury rolls that were quite tasty. I said goodbye to several people, and went back to Johnson city, happy to have had the chance to see many of my trail friends, and even get a sip of ‘Paw-Paw’s’ ‘breakfast’.
There will be pictures of the event here on the site soon.

damascus a.t. sign

‘Legs’, A buddy of mine from Wilmington, N.C. (who was also at Trail Days) decided to visit Rat and myself in Johnson City this past week, and stayed a couple of days at my apartment while Rat was out of town. I found him asleep on the porch around midnight on Friday night (May 23rd), but he woke up and we drank beer until 4 am.

The next evening, we took a trip to the Nolichucky Campground, and camped out there, to help celebrate the awesome new fire pit that has been dedicated to Tommas Koehler, a friend of mine that died last year. It was a beautiful night, the sky was crystal clear, and the stars looked amazing! The moon came up later that night and lit up the river—it looked beautiful! I went to bed early, still hurting from the 2 shots of whiskey I did the night before with ‘Legs’.

Jean had fixed a big pot of coffee, and Loren had cooked a whole bunch of oatmeal with fruits and nuts, which made a nice camp breakfast. There were some good musicians jamming around the new fire pit overnight and the next day, including ‘Blinddog’, Tim Relleva, LeAnn, and Buck Hoffman, (as well as some other good musicians) so we all stayed entertained. I got to play a song or two, also.

Later that evening, as a pre-Memorial Day event, I went to some friends’ house in Jonesbourgh to eat shrimp and cheesy grits, and cooked slow grilled bacon-wrapped mushrooms. I had to break my diet to do that, but it had been too long since I had eaten any of those. Anyway, it was a fun day (and night).

Celebrated Memorial Day with much more fun, but still remembering the soldiers that never made it back home!

Hmmm…It appears I somehow forgot to mention the hiking trip ‘Legs’ and I took to the Sill Branch Falls. He had wanted to do some wilderness hiking while he was in town; we took in both the ‘lower’ and ‘upper’ falls. We had a good time trekking in the fresh air and sunshine. We hung out a little while there below the falls, and I showed him what was left of the big log that ‘Rat Patrol’ and I watched fall off the top several years ago.

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