Georganna and Logan Seamon have breathed new life into Blood Mountain and Neel Gap -- mile 31.7 on the Appalachian Trail for northbound adventurers -- as the owners of Mountain Crossings at Walasi-Yi.
This vivacious couple and their lively crew have renovated the hiker hostel, restored portions of the historic building that houses Mountain Crossings outfitters and made Neel Gap even more of a destination than it has been in the past.
The Outdoor USA Magazine recently named Mountain Crossings one of the Top 100 Independent Outdoor Retailers in America. I am biased, but I think is the best outdoors store this side of The Mountain Shop in Skagway, Alaska, another winner.
On Saturday, September 27, 2014, "George" and Logan threw a Fall Family Fun Fest.
They brought in the Barker Brothers Band to keep even the heaviest hiking boot tapping to their songs and tunes.
We had to wait for a lull in the action to get a portrait of them, but nobody wanted them to stop playing long enough for a pose.
They were fiddling again in no time.
I had heard of Richard Judy, the man who wrote the book Thru -- An Appalachian Trail Love Story.
Thru is a novel about a thru-hike on the AT. Richard is up to the task. He hiked the entire Trail in 1973. It's more than a great read.
Richard donates all the proceeds from Thru to the Appalachian Trail Museum in Pennsylvania.
No, he's not a millionaire (that I know of, at least) but he has a heart to tell his tales and help build the storehouse of AT treasures at the museum.
You can often find Richard at the Len Foote Hike Inn at Amicalola Falls State Park, not far from Blood Mountain.
Richard's book would be a terrific gift for a friend or nine who might be interested in the Appalachian Trail. It's a nice way of helping the museum too.
After a while, you don't need to be a brain surgeon to recognize thru-hikers, even if you've lost your sense of smell.
Aaron "Gilligan" Becker wasn't at Mountain Crossings just to attend the fall festival. He was just passing through on his way southbound to grasp the riches and glory all thru-hikers receive when they finish their 2,185.3 mile quest.
Please Note: Some restrictions apply to the promise of riches and glory. Thank you.
Gilligan cranked out the miles, evidently, hitting Neel Gap on September 29th after leaving Mt. Katahdin on June 13th.
So maybe Gilligan didn't have a marching band waiting for him at Blood Mountain. The Barker Brothers Band runs a pretty close second, in my humble opinion.
Plus, Gilligan's parents were there to greet him. Richard, Gilligan's dad, hiked some of the final miles too.
S'mores, hot dogs, dandy Trail conversation, pottery demonstrations and cool stuff on sale made the day just about perfect at Mountain Crossings.
We're already looking forward to the next event with our friends at the only spot anywhere along the Appalachian Trail that has a roof over it: Mountain Crossings.
Tags: Attractions, Events, Appalachian Trail, Hiking Gear, News, Festivals, Appalachian Trail Museum, Entertainment, Books, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer
Published Aug 16, 2014.
Hike up to Neel Gap on Blood Mountain on Saturday, February 28, 2015 for the Thru-Hiker Kickoff Party. Free gifts, fabulous folks, fancy fiddling and food!
Published Feb 17, 2014.
Published Feb 11, 2016. Pretzel has hiked all the famous trails and shares Pretzel Logic -- advice that Appalachian Trail thru-hikers will actually use.
Published Aug 16, 2014.
The Appalachian Trail film, "A Walk in the Woods" starring Robert Redford, debuts at the Sundance Film Festival, 1-23-15, adapted from Bill Bryson's book.
Some of the filming locations for the movie, A Walk in the Woods, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, were easy to spot for Appalachian Trail hikers.
Read about the most famous places on the Appalachian Trail.
Meet some of the world's most adventurous hikers at the annual Thru Hiker Kick Off Party at Mountain Crossings Outfitters in North Georgia.