Saturday–May 15, 2021
Location–Trail Days, Damascus, Virginia, AT Mile 395.3
Last night I pitched my tent in the beautifully manicured backyard of Tom & Sandy Davenport, downtown Damascus. Kindness extended to a perfect stranger; thank you, Tom & Sandy, for your thoughtful kindness!
I’ve reluctance and mixed emotions about this day–a stroll down the Trail Days’ concourse (and memory lane), vendor tents both sides of the park walkway, hundreds and hundreds of folks, mostly hikers, pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder all along.
Crossing Beaverdam Creek on the
Virginia Creeper Rail Trail, and a little before ten I turn to enter Damascus Town Park. I’m approached immediately by folks who recognize me, want my picture taken with them. For the next two hours, as I slowly proceed past the pavilion and work my way along, I’m greeted by dear friends, also strangers, all wishing me well on my AT journey. The kindness extended me, the happy, cheerful folks I meet along, an unbelievably humbling experience. Pure energy beyond description.
It would be impossible to name all the people that I’ve met today. Some, wanted their picture taken with me. Ahh, but I also got my picture taken with some of them! I’ll now make an attempt, and please forgive my mistakes, but I’ll try naming the dear folks, starting with those I camped with, then those in the park. I’ll also attempt displaying the photos I’ve taken in some semblance of order–but there will be omissions and errors. So, forgive me.
Slim Jim, Michelle Weygand, Katherine Reed, Teresa Smotherman, Jennifer Sullivan, John & Sale Calhoun; Bob Peoples (Kincora Hostel); Odie (Hiker Yearbook); Tom Kennedy (Hike for Mental Health); Bopit & Punisher (ECT thru-hikers); Nimbus (ALDHA); Bayou (The Place); Chris (Etowah Outfitters); Matt (Zpacks); Pickle; (AT thru) Bronco; Model-T (Author); Bill (ALDHA); Sly (ALDHA); Shoes (no shoes, AT thru); Hoppy (MRO); Crab Man (AT thru); Lightweight; (AT thru) Billy Goat (on left); Hammock Hanger; John & Sale (Triple Crown); Snapshot & Sparkles (AT Class of 2020); NOLA & Cocoa.
Late evening, back at Tom and Sandy’s place, a warning fire, more great time with friends, then off to my little tent–and dreamland z.z.z…
I’d like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me.
I’d like to be the help that you’ve been always glad to be;
I’d like to mean as much to you each minute of the day,
as you have meant, old friend of mine, to me along the way.