Day 162 – 166: Big Bald into Erwin and Trail DaysπŸŒ…πŸ™ŒπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸŒΈπŸŒˆ!!

Day 162 – Mile 1166.7 + 336.5: 20-mile day over Big Bald Mountain into No Business Shelter outside of Erwin, TN…

Day 163 – Mile 1166.7 + 342.6: Up with whoever else had their alarm set for 5am, out the shelter at 5:30am in the dark and walked/jogged 6 miles into Erwin, TN, to Uncle Johnny’s Hostel in time for a $5 shower and 8:30am shuttle to breakfast at Huddle House. This view is what I have heard about and seen from other hikers for the past 7 months – the Nolichucky River coming down into Erwin with morning mist😎

Rental car upgrade to Dodge Ram truck meant I was the driver for 5 other hikers, a dog and backpacks from Erwin to Damascus, VA, for AT Trail Days! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ™ŒπŸŒ…πŸ˜Ž

Day 164 – Mile 1166.7 + 342.6: AT Trail Days in Damascus, VA!! The biggest hiking festival in the U.S. for the most popular long-distance trailπŸ˜ŽπŸŒ…πŸ™Œ

Checked out all the gear vendors including: Farm to Foot (who gave me some sweet socks for telling them what inspired me to hike the AT), Big Agnes, La Sportiva, Gregory Packs @gregorypacks (who gave me a sick, blue Gregory hat), Ibex (where I finally met @cmquinn and was given some free Ibex gear), David Miller from AWOL Guides and Zachary Davis from Appalachian Trials! Also met the famous Jennifer Pharr Davis (AT record holder for fastest thru hike at 46 days) at her book signing of Becoming Odyssa and learnt how to fly fish! Big shoutout to One Way Ministries across from Tent City for taking such good care of the hikers!

Then the hiker parade at 2pm which got stormed on and totally rained on the parade but it was worth it to get completely soaked!

Now for some square dancing (Contra Dancing) with the famous Warren Doyle!

Day 165 – Mile 1166.7 + 342.6: Packed up everything at Trail Days, picked up Brian and Sara, got coffee and breakfast sandwiches at Bearclaw, loaded 8 people, a dog and backpacks and then headed back to Erwin, TN!!

Gonzo and G in the truck back got soaked but they wore everyone’s rain gear and even ordered McDonalds drive thru from the truck bed! A night at Uncle Johnnys tonightπŸ˜ŽπŸŒ…

Day 166 – Mile 1166.7 + 437.0: Dropped the rental car off, got a ride back to Uncle Johnny’s with Enterprise employee, Ashley, gave Ashley a tour of Uncle Johnny’s and introduced her to other hikers, Ashley’s eyes almost popped out her head, hiked 5 miles (that felt like 20) up to Curley Maple Gap Shelter to find the whole Trail Day’s Erwin bubble of about 20 people, got treated to guitar and singing by Smokes, Penny and Parkour and then went to 😴!

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