April 4-6, 2013
Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) has a special event at their main campus on the Nantahala River to celebrate the nation's most beloved footpath, the 2,179-mile Appalachian Trail. Both weekend dayhikers and long distance warriors are welcome at the Appalachian Trail Founder's Bridge Festival to share their passion with like-minded friends and enthusiasts. They'll have trail-steeped speakers sharing their knowledge and experiences, book signings, live music, workshops, gear representatives and prizes. Trail maintenance opportunities will be available for those looking to give back to the trail we all love.
April 4 and 5, at 8 PM, enjoy free movie screenings at River’s End Restaurant. On Saturday, April 6, the day begins at 10 AM with a trail maintenance work hike hosted by the Nantahala Hiking Club. Other festival attractions include a vendor fair staffed with industry experts, free gear repair area and free festival camping at the NOC Platform Tents.
NOC is partnering with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to educate thru-hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts about phenology, an observational science that studies plant and animal life cycles and how these are affected by changing climate conditions and weather patterns. ATC’s John Odell will lead a training session at Slow Joe’s Café at 2 PM on Saturday. The training is suitable for families and adults new to phenology or wishing to enhance their understanding of this field of study.
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. At 6 PM, Osprey Packs presents the 2013 Hiker’s Feast. 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, beginning at 7 PM, round out the evening.
The festival is timed to coincide with the annual northbound migration of Appalachian Trail hikers from Springer Mountain, GA to Katahdin, ME.
Also in spring at NOC: NOC Wilderness Survival School