The year 1987 was the 50th anniversary of the Appalachian Trail, which passes right through Damascus. That year, members of the Town Council decided to celebrate the anniversary with an event for hikers. At that time, there was no town park in Damascus, so the small festival was held in the parking lot of the town hall and behind the bank. The festival was held again the following year, the year after that, and every year that’s followed, growing to the tens of thousands. In the early years of Trail Days, a street was sometimes roped off for a dance, but there were no vendors. There were only the hikers and the cyclists who followed, who inspired the town to rebuild its economy, which had been devastated by flooding and the loss of most of its industry. Read more…
Each year, thousands of hikers make the 2,180 mile trek along the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain to Katahdin. Each of those hikers crosses the Nantahala River along the NOC Founder’s Bridge, in Bryson City, NC. Most of these hikers cross on their way north in early April, just before beginning the difficult ascent into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many more hikers enjoy the Appalachian Trail in segments, hiking one section at a time over the course of many years, or maybe just sticking to their favorite sections of trail. Read more…
Osprey Ambassador Chris Gallaway is seeking support through Kickstarter to make his a film, “The Long Start to the Journey” a reality. January 31st is the campaign deadline to support this compelling documentary about the Appalachian Trail and if the campaign does not meet its goal no funding will be collected and given to the movie.
In support of Chris’s Kickstarter campaign, we’re giving away an Exos 48 Superlight Backpack to the next donor to pledge $220. The Exos 48, our newest ultra-light technical backpack, is a masterful combination of ounce-shaving, durable materials and a feather-weight internal frame to keep you fast and comfortable on your next journey. Your pack will have a “The Long Start to the Journey” patch sewn on to commemorate your part in making this film possible. Note: We’ll need to get your unique sizing before fulfilling this reward and you must be a resident of the US to be eligible.
To follow Chris’s journey on the trail last year, visit www.theATmovie.com.
A question I have often heard since completing my 7-month thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail is how the experience changed me. That’s a difficult one for me to answer, and it’s probably better addressed by people who know me well and have observed me from the outside. The images above were taken at the beginning and end of my hike (the third, cold morning in February on Blood Mountain Georgia and the last day in September as I walked down from Katahdin). While I know that these two self-portraits encompass a host of experiences and some of the most significant changes of my life, it’s difficult for me to articulate what’s different between them. Read more…
Appalachian Trail Days 2012 kicks off tomorrow in Damascus, VA and Osprey is ready to once again take care of thru hikers and their packs with care. There is something for everyone going on this weekend in the one town where main street and the Appalachian Trail (AT) are one in the same and a veritable slice of Americana can be tasted by all in this annual celebration of the AT.
Last month, the Osprey team helped to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Appalachian Trail Days. In just 3 days, we repaired more than 60 packs, fitted hikers for new ones and sent dozens of thru-hikers on their way. The following video captures just a bit from the event. We hope to catch up with y’all there next year!
The 25th anniversary celebration of Appalachian Trail Days is now complete and what a celebration it was as Osprey had the best and busiest Trail Days ever! Over a three-day period we repaired almost 60 packs and sent thru-hikers far and wide on their merry way to Mount Katahdin for an October rendezvous. We provided multiple free pack sizings and fittings as well as a wealth of information on pack options new and existing to get any thru-hiker comfortably down the trail.
Each year hikers, former hikers and aspiring hikers of the Appalachian Trail converge in Damascus, Virginia to celebrate at Trail Days. Osprey will be on hand once again to welcome hikers and provide free gear repairs and free pack fittings.
If you’re planning on going, here’s what we’ll be offering up for AT folks:
- Free, expert gear repairs from our traditional Tent City location in Damascus.
- Full display of all the new packs styles for 2011, free pack sizings and fittings as well as great gear giveaways!
- Trail Talk event with Osprey founder and head designer Mike Pfotenhauer from the Osprey Tent City booth Friday, May 13, 2 to 4 p.m.
- Meet Osprey founder and head designer Mike Pfotenhauer at Mt. Rogers Outfitters in Damascus on Saturday, May 14, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- In celebration of Trail Days 25th Anniversary all Osprey Packs and accessories will be 20% off at Mt. Rogers Outfitters, Damascus.
If you haven’t been on the AT, check out this short video to see why it’s so special…