TRAIL DAYS 2019: Hiker Portraits and Festival Experience

Hello, folks! Furiosa (or Fury) here, bringing you a rewind and reflection of Trail Days 2019 in Damascus, VA. I had the pleasure of working with the gang at The Trek booth, photographing and interviewing hikers from all years and trails. It was an incredible time and ended way too fast.

This was my second Trail Days, my first being in 2017 when I was NOBO on the AT. Unfortunately, I had to get off trail in Daleville, VA, for knee surgery and could not complete a thru-hike that year. My 730ish miles on the AT were some of the best I’ve ever experienced. I made lifelong friends and became a part of a massively amazing community. I’m continuing to bang out the rest of the AT now that my knee is completely healed (two years after initial injury), which means more Trail Days for years to come… whether I’m hiking the AT or not.

I was stoked to meet Badger again after two years, this time working alongside him to help bring hiker stories to life. It was amazing to see new hikers come to the booth and be excited to meet folks like Backpacker Radio hosts Badger and Chaunce. A community out to help fellow hikers and be so welcoming is part of what makes The Trek family so amazing.

The massive downpour in the first hour meant hikers taking shelter in our space. As guests visited the booth, they got copies of Appalachian Trials autographed, purchased hats and shirts, and asked trail questions. Swapp and I scoped out folks to interview, and every hiker has a different story and perspective. Here are the hiker portraits from Trail Days 2019.

Scoping Out Hikers

Thousands of people visit this small hiker town for Trail Days every year. Navigating the aisles of gear booths, chatting with hikers, raffle times, and meeting the Virginia locals was pretty chaotic! For the first day, I stayed pretty close to The Trek booth, grabbing some doggo portraits too.

The next day, I began my trek (aha… puns) out to Tent City in hopes to capture the life that thrives in the baseball field and surrounding woods. I loved the excitement from hikers when I told them what I was working on, and to see so many wanted trail family shots instead of individual portraits. To me, that shows how strong community and friendship means out on these trails.

Throughout the festival, I captured moments as the community enjoyed the weekend. Certain events—like the parade—I didn’t capture in fear of a kid shooting my camera. The world within Trail Days is magical. I hope these photos do justice to such a brilliant festival, and if you’ve never been before, perhaps this post will help you decide if you’ll attend next year.

See you all next year in Damascus!



Trail Dayzzzzz

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© Amber Redfield


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