Day 34: (May 17th)
All of the food babies from the night before had dissipated in our sleep. As usual, however, we were ready to eat again. At Food City, we grabbed some super cheap breakfast platters and shoveled them into our faces on the patio furniture display they had set up outside. Everyone that walked into Food City looked at us like we were homeless.
When we were done eating, Harambe decided to drive to the nearest thrift shop to get some party attire. So Itchy, Harambe, and I headed to the nearest Goodwill and found the most hideous outfits we could. We got back to Damascus and grabbed some lunch at BoBo MacFarlands. Out of the blue, we found out that a couple of people in our extended trail family needed rides from Hot Springs. Harambe was nice enough to take a road trip to go get them, so he and I headed down the road.
About 30 minutes from Hot Springs, my phone died, so we were stuck in the middle of nowhere with no service and no clue where to go. It wasn’t long before we found a small gas station and asked for directions. Luckily, just a little later, we found Hot Springs. There, we managed to squeeze 5 hikers and packs into the back. It was definitely a tight fit, but people were willing to do it to get to trail days.
A couple hours later, we got back to Damascus to find that our camp had grown to about twice its size. It was the night before trail days, and we all just hung around drinking, fishing, and sharing stories. Everyone went to bed early so we could be some of the first people in tent city and get good spots.
Day 35: (May 18th)
Bright and early, we packed up and piled into cars to get to tent city. We arrived shortly after it opened and claimed a great spot in the woods with a fire pit and plenty of space for the whole family.
Everyone showed up with beers, tarps, coolers and even a couple chairs. We were ready to party. We scavenged some nearby firewood, got a fire going, and started drinking. None of the vendors had really shown up yet, so we explored what we could and even got to ride on Odie’s magic bus.
We ate some free dinner from the firehouse that night and headed back to drink some more. It was decided that Harambe would be the mayor of our town, and KitKat would be the sheriff. Their outfits were too fitting to do without the official titles. We shotgunned some PBRs and spent the rest of the night hanging around the fire laughing and having fun.
Day 36: (May 19th)
I woke up and was immediately ready for breakfast. Itchy, Pearl and I headed over to Mojos to get some grub. However, we got there only to find that the line was out the door with dirty hikers. We decided to get Subway instead. After devouring way too much food, we headed over to where the vendors were set up. We checked out all timid the vendors and spent a good deal of time at the Hiker Yearbook tent. We grabbed some raffle tickets, checked out some hammocks, and even got a couple of free goodies. Unfortunately, Darn Tough wasn’t able to give me a replacement sock, so we headed back into town to look for some outfitters.
I bought some new socks, a chair so I wouldn’t have to keep sitting on logs, a gun for the sheriff, and some flowers so the mayor could decorate his home. Al of the errands were taken care of, so we headed back to camp.
When we returned, our camp decided on a name: Campy McCampface. A sign was even made to make it official. We spent the rest of the day hanging around and drinking way too much beer.
Later that night, the real festivities began. We all headed over to Ms. Janet’s fire circle. The fire was lit after gallons of lighter fluid were poured onto the pile. We watched the drum circle start to form, joined in for a bit, and headed back to our camp to drink some more.
We had another hiker trash birthday celebration when we found out that it was Stunts’ birthday. We drank tons and tons of beer, smoked more than I’d like to admit, and spent the rest of the night laughing by the fire.
Day 37: (May 20th)
We all slept in pretty late after partying all night the night before. Everyone was sitting around hoping that the rain would subside when someone found out that there was a breakfast buffet about 20 minutes away. We all went to Shoney’s and ate until we couldn’t eat anymore. Then, Harambe and I went to K Mart and bought some decorations for our camp. We all headed back and hoped that it wouldn’t rain.
Unfortunately, when we arrived, it was raining. Luckily for us however, we had some tarps over the fire pit. We pretty much all decided to skip the hiker parade since it was raining. We were all huddled under the tarp when our friends started coming back from the site soaked from the sudden downpour. It even started to hail for a short time. Luckily, there was space under the tarp for most of us.
It was getting close to time for Odie’s 420 raffle, so Harambe and I headed down to the vendors. I ended up winning a free Guthook download, and it turned out to be all of the sections of the trail. Unfortunately, Harambe didn’t win anything.
We headed back to the camp and drank some more. We explored other camps and ended up deciding that our party was the best, so we hung around all night.
Day 38: (May 21st)
On Sunday, the festivities were all pretty much over. Everyone in the field section of tent city was clearing out, and the vendors were all starting to pack up. Most of our group decided to head out that day so we could do some errands and get back on trail a little quicker. We all packed up, cleaned all the beer cans up, and said our goodbyes. It was a somber goodbye because everyone was heading out to different spots on the trail.
KitKat, Itchy, Harambe, and I piled back into the Jeep and decided to head for Asheville. The REI there was the first stop on our journey. I got to return my poles that ended up being too short, grab some new shoes, and look at all the fun things that weigh too much to carry. KitKat finally got a new tent that didn’t have any cigarette holes or rips from the dog named Mayhem. Itchy finally got some new shoes after burning them in the Smokys, and Harambe got some new poles to replace the bent ones.
We got to the Rodeway Inn and quickly realized that it was a dump. It was probably the worst hotel that we had stayed at, but it had beds and a shower. We all started taking showers when Harambe found that there was a sushi buffet in town.
At the buffet, we filled our plates with subpar sushi about 5 times each. Then of course, we each grabbed two plates full of ice cream and finally left. We went back to the hotel and slept like babies.
Overall, trail days was a blast. It was great to hang out with the whole trail family at least one more time before we all got separated by our different paces. I definitely do not regret taking all the time off trail to go. It was a great experience, and if you have the chance to go, I definitely suggest it.
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