2013 Founder's Bridge Appalachian Trail Festival


NOC's Zuzana Vanha invites you to the Founder's Bridge AT Festival. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Thru-hikers have fabulous stories of hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail (AT).

Although I have not personally made the 2,181 mile stroll, I routinely boast of hiking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail on Founder's Bridge at the Wesser Campus of Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC).

(If this writing gig fails, I think I'll sell T-shirts with similar bogusness emblazoned on the front and back.)

Yes, the AT crosses the Nantahala River at mile 134. That's the easy part because the Trail brutally rises straight up into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park after you sashay over the bridge in all your glory. Live it up, before your knees give out.

NOC hosts the 3rd annual AT Founder's Bridge Festival at its Nantahala Campus on Friday, April 4th through Sunday, April 6th, in celebration of the 2,180-mile long Appalachian Trail and those who grace the beloved path.

Once you find the glorious playground that is NOC "in" Wesser, North Carolina, all is well. Sure, you think you can get there. You have a GPS! Hahahaha. You fool. That's what Amerigo Vespuci said when he set out to find NOC in the Pinto and Santa Lucia in 1492, if I remember correctly.

Be Warned: Click Here for Directions to NOC

If you arrive on Thursday, April 4th, you'll get a special treat: a free airing of the movie, Deliverance, at 8 PM, on the edge of the Nantahala River.

Yes, you think I am lying to you. No, I am not.

Wimps are advised to bring someone to comfort them after the showing because professional counseling will not be available. No banjos, please.

The oasis of the AT has all you'll need to hike the entire Trail or just look like you could.


Crazoid kayaker entertaining the crowd at NOC in Wesser. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

NOC Wesser is a friendly and cozy spot for hikers and gawkers to rest and/or recreate. After posing as a thru-hiker, you're free to risk life and limb thrusting your body through crazoid rapids as we landlubbers wave and drink to your heroics.

On Saturday, April 6th, the day begins at 10 with a trail maintenance work hike hosted by the Nantahala Hiking Club.

Other festival attractions include a vendor fair loaded with industry experts. There's a free gear repair area and free festival camping at the NOC Platform Tents.

At 4 PM, renowned outdoorsman and guide Warren Doyle will share stories gathered over the course of his 16 completed thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail.

Osprey Packs presents the 2013 Hiker's Feast at 6 PM. Thru-hikers are invited to enjoy some "trail magic" in the form of a free supper of hot dogs and chili. Live music and a bonfire round out the evening.

We'll see you there. If you follow the directions, otherwise you're toast. Lost toast in the wilderness.

Click Here for Pictures from Founder's Bridge 2012

Click Here for Founder's Bridge 2013

Tags: Events, Tourism, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, Camping Gear, Festivals, Music, US Forest Service, and Appalachian Trail Clubs

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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