Trail Days and Ramp Eating

Damascus sure knows how to throw a party! It seemed like every hiker on the Appalachian Trail was in town. The focal point of all the activity was The Place, a hiker hostel currently filled with dozens of stinky, gorging thru-hikers. During Trail Days, The Place looked more like a homeless shelter than anything else.

     Many meals and many beers! We had one hell of a time partying with all the hikers. Mark and I met just about every hiker we’ve followed since Springer. We finally met Wingfoot and Skeeter. Wingfoot was hiking for the 50th anniversary of the Appalachian Trail and he had a bunch of sponsors helping him. He was a nice enough guy but, in true thru-hiker fashion, he quaffed many beers and became somewhat obnoxious. A thru-hiker bought a bunch of wingnuts and distributed them among the hikers to goof on “Wingnut”. Hey, sometimes the guy deserved it, but for the most part, he was a likable hiker.

     We met other AT legends like Warren Doyle, a frequent and fast thru-hiker who led groups to Maine. We talked a bit with Gene Espy, the second thru-hiker to hike the whole Trail. We also met the French Stooge, Nutless, the Blaze Brothers, the Night Prowler, the Happy Feet, Fiendy, Janice, Trainer, Wanda, the Berkshire Bear, Yogi and Frodo. Frodo is quite the photographer as well as a master woodworker. Mark and I would hike with Frodo after our thru-hike and he even came up north for a HAE winter hike.

     From one party to another… There was a Ramp Festival nearby in honor of the oniony bulb Mark and I have been eating since Hot Springs. The promise of great quantities of food and we were there. What a time! Along with the food, Appalachian crafts, blue grass music and clog dancing was a ramp eating contest. Since I had experience eating ramps on the Trail, I just had to sign up. I hammed it up bigtime and had a great cheering section. I ended up eating 35 ramps in 60 seconds, taking 2nd prize, $25, and a big bottle of Scope. As I received my award, I planted a big stinky kiss on the girl who announced the event to the delight of the crowd. After all the fun, Mark and I got a ride back to the Trail, sharing the rear of the van with a moonshine damaged local. We hit the AT and I farted and burped my way through the woods. Even though Mark was a 100 yards behind, I could hear him gag as he passed through my ramp enhanced gastric effluvium. Dead Buffalo eloquently summed up the “ramp effect” with this little ditty he scrawled in a shelter register…

When you eat a lot of Ramps, just remember this…
All those trips to the privy won’t be to take a piss.

…continue the expedition, read: Southern Hospitality, Southern Hostility [link]