Don't roam the world to meet the world's most incredible people. Just hang around Mountain Crossings Outfitters (MtX) in North Georgia during their Thru Hiker Kick Off Party and they'll come to you.
Georganna and Logan Seamon thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT) together in 2009. Just to prove there's Life After the Trail, they're now the proprietors of MtX, helping others on their trek of a lifetime.
The Appalachian Trail at Neel Gap doesn't just run by their shop near Blood Mountain, it runs through it.
Their 2016 Thru Hiker Kick Off Party on February 27th drew serious hikers and hopeful dreamers for free hot dogs, blissful bluegrass, helpful vendors and Pretzel's gear seminar.
Firecracker was there!
The hiker formerly known as Dustan Bishop is about to head northbound.
She'll certainly complete her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. She got great advice from Pretzel and she received a random Snickers bar from a Trail angel.
What more could Firecracker need?
While hiking by the Thru Hiker Kick Off Party on their way to Maine, two sturdy young men lingered for free hot dogs, a free Snickers, s'mores and the last party they'll find in the forest for a while.
Justin "Wee Gillis" Seguret and Guyon "Wolf Pack" Borgmann have winning attitudes.
They'll still be smiling when they top Katahdin.
One of them -- I think it was Guyon Borgmann -- is from Norway and/or Denmark. Nice guy. Evidently, he did not grow up watching The Swedish Chef on TV as I foolishly presumed.
Please Note: Joking with people from Denmark and/or Norway, in your best Swedish Chef accent, might not be as funny as you think. Thank you.
They're a few steps ahead of Firecracker, for now. The Trail will be blessed by all three of them.
You might spend years planning for your thru-hike. Your final preparation might take a month, including time to get to the Trail. You'll walk for two or three seasons, before investing another month to return to where you began.
You probably aren't going to buy the coolest outfitter store on the Trail. You can, however, learn from what Stacey (Fire Squirrel) and Amber (Dandelion) McDermid accomplished after they thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail together. They became vendors for such companies as Gregory, ExOfficio, Buff, and Toad & Company.
Amber -- who, by the way, wears the most fabulous pants ever -- founded what she calls "TheWanderTrees.com." It's a traveling and online market comprised of inspiring handcrafted items ... and it's a community too.
Hiking the Appalachian Trail isn't just a temporary adventure. Fire Squirrel and Dandelion are giving back to the Trail and helping others on the way.
Prepare for your trip on the AT. Wisely hike your own hike.
The Trail is a path, not your ultimate destination. Have dreams and aspirations that won't conclude atop Katahdin. Live your life, practicing all you've learned on your way.
Tags: Events, Appalachian Trail, News, Festivals, Appalachian Trail Festival, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, Hikers, Hiking Safety, Recreation, Information, appalachian trail hikers, thru hiker kick off party mountain crossings outfitter, thru hiker appalachian trail blood mountain neel gap, and thewandertrees
Visit Mountain Crossings for the Thru-Hiker Season Kick-Off Party -- a day of reveling in the mountains and celebrating the Appalachian Trail!
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!
The annual Holiday Open House Party at Appalachian Trail Conservancy's headquarters in Harpers Ferry, WV, melds the old with the new for a memorable time.
Come celebrate the Appalachian Trail's Flip-Flop Kickoff Weekend in Harpers Ferry, WV. Kiss mountain sailors goodbye before they sail the hills to Katahdin.
Enjoy an afternoon celebrating the Trail at 2016 Appalachian Trail Events.