Thursday, May 15, 2014

5/12-5/15/14 Getting Ready for Trail Days

(Damascus, VA)

The talk these days is all about this coming weekend.  We’re having a Kids Fishing Derby here at our lake this weekend and the town of Damascus has big goings on too.

But is hasn’t been all work and no play.  Wednesday evening five women got together and played Mexican Train.  Our park manager, Edie, our Assistant Park Manager, Melissa, camp host Myra, her visiting friend Judy and myself gathered on Edie’s deck and played the evening away.  A good time was had by all and its something we’ll do again and again as the summer goes on.  Plus other activities of course.

The first batch of Wannadinger sticks are done soaking and second batch is in the mineral oil filled pitcher as I type.  All I need now is biscuits!

We have several sections here in the campground.  We have group tenting areas for when church groups or Scouts or a very large family get together come to camp.  There’s an area for RV’s that are self contained as there is no electric, water or sewer.  We also have two loops for tenting and some RV’s.  Chipmunk Loop and Beaver Flats.  We live in Beaver Flats and our loop isn’t open yet, not until this coming weekend.  Chipmunk Loop has been open since April and those campsites are able to be reserved via the 800 # or the website.  Beaver Flats is a first come first serve loop.

For this coming weekend Chipmunk Circle is already booked solid and we’re pretty sure Beaver Flats will also be a sellout.

Big doings going on, that’s for sure.  Beartree is holding a Kid’s Fishing Derby on Saturday.  The lake will be stocked on Friday for this event.  Trout, small mouth bass and catfish will be dangling from the hooks this weekend.

Damascus, a town that is residence to about 800 year round, will swell to 20,000 for a long weekend.  This small town is hosting Trail Days.  The events proper name is the  2014 Appalachian Trail Days.  This is the 28th annual celebration of those who have traversed the Appalachian Trail, in part or in total.  For those you not familiar with this Trail, it runs from Georgia to Maine and thousands upon thousands walk or bike part or all of it every year.  Make no mistake, I am not one of those people.  The closest I’ve come to it so far is to read the roadside sign and pointed and said, “Oh look, there’s the Appalachian Trail.  I am giving serious thought to taking a short stroll, 20 feet or so, just so I can say I’ve walked part of the Appalachian Trail.

Back to Trail Days.  This is the largest organized backpacking event, celebrating the Appalachian Trail and its heritage with good food, new friendships and the renewal of ones made in the past and many activities.  Many events are geared towards the family such as outdoor musical concerts, slide show presentations, movies, hiking seminars and special presentations.

Free showers will be available for those backpacking in off the trail.  Haircuts will also be available as well as doctors and veterinarians for those who are hiking with their four legged friends.  The firehouse will host pancake breakfasts and spiritual needs will be met by the local churches.  An Internet Café will be set up for the hikers as well as a charging station for cell phones and other electronic equipment.

Repairs to hiking/backpacking equipment will be made free of charge by the vendors who will be attending the event and should a hiker need something sewn then that need will also be addressed.

I’ve learned that American Chestnut trees were once abundant along the Appalachian Trail but that isn’t the case anymore.  Due to being destroyed by a blight fungus, a great effort is being made to report the whereabouts of surviving trees.  Hikers will be trained on how to do the reporting and and importance of doing so. Reporting surviving trees will contribute to understanding the status of remnants of a species that once played a key role throughout the Appalachian forests before being devastated.

There is going to be one hiker who will give a slide show that I would be interested in seeing.  Warren Doyle has hiked the Appalachian Trail, not once, not twice, but SIXTEEN times.  I got tired just typing that!  I bet he has some amazing photographs and some very interesting stories.

Among many other events geared to the hikers and the casual walkers of the AT (ahem, that’s what us locals call it) there will be a parade for all to enjoy.  Who doesn’t love a parade?

So as you can see its going to be a busy, busy weekend, in town and here at the campground.  I can only hope the weather improves greatly.  It started raining at 2 o’clock this morning and has only stopped for short periods of time since.  The rain can STOP anytime now!  We’re sick of it!


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