It was pouring rain when we woke up, of course, but it soon turned into sunshine. We got out of the motel just at checkout time and gave away all of our leftover food to hikers staying in town, then got on the trail. It was only a mile and a half to Troutville and they were having a Trails Days festival themselves this weekend. I had seen the schedule earlier saying that there was a baked goods competition at noon where thru hikers would be the judges, and it just so happened to be 11:53. I convinced Stretch and Storytime to go do that for free lunch if we could get a hitch right away. We were there at 11:58.

There were eighteen desserts to be judged but I didn’t consider when starting to collect my samples that that might be too much to eat. In hindsight, it would have been better to grab one bite of each item instead of a whole piece, but I was halfway down the table before that occurred to me so I just kept grabbing full pieces. They were all so delicious but I wasn’t able to finish the plate, way too many sweets.

As we were trying to finish, one of the organizers came and asked me and Stretch to join a panel of hikers answering questions on stage later since they had two guys and wanted to add two girls. It was a cool experience and I think we convinced some middle school girls to thru hike when they’re older.

We went to check out happy hour at a nearby steakhouse with every intention of hiking out at least a few miles after, but then we found out there was free food and ice cream at the town hall across the street so we went to check that out and ran into Outside Dog, who convinced us to camp at the park that night and hike out in the morning. I’m never hard to convince.

One of the bands that played today allowed the hikers to use their instruments for a jam for a little while which was pretty neat. We went and played in the park’s awesome playground after that. They still have all the “dangerous” things like monkey bars and see saws that I haven’t seen at other playgrounds in a while. We decided to sleep in the fort there instead of the pavilion where most of the other hikers are. Everyone is up late being loud so it’s a good decision.

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Written by Siren

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