2016 Thru Hiker Kick Off Party

It’s that time of year again! We are gearing up for thru hiker season and as part of that, we are throwing our annual Thru Hiker Kick Off Party!! Join us THIS Saturday, February 27th, from 12pm to 6pm for a day a fun in the mountains celebrating thru hiker season.

Live music will start around 1pm and go intermittently until 5pm. Bluegrass musicians Rob TigerWyatt Espalin and Kaleb Garret will be pickin’ on and off all day long. There will be hot dogs on the grill and a s’mores making station over a open fire, so don’t worry about lunch for the family! For the kids there will be face painting and other fun activities.


There will be booths set up by the Georgia AppalachianTrail Club, Richard Judy, who authored the book Thru, and Roots Rated, a company out of Chattanooga, TN that has a website and a mobile app that assists you in finding the coolest local spots for outdoor recreation all over the country!

Gear reps will be present to demonstrate gear from several different companies including Big Agnes, Granite Gear, Garmont, Helinox, Salewa, Nemo, Buff and Exofficio. Fix It Man will be present to assess any and all broken gear and try his darnedest to repair it with his excess of materials and his industrial sewing machine, all for free!


We will be holding a Gear Raffle in which prizes include packs, trekking poles,  shoes, hammocks, sweat shirts, t-shirts, stickers, koozies, water bottles, hats, key chains, wallets, stuff sacks and so much more! Raffle tickets are only $10 per ticket. You do not have to be present to win. Send cash or check to Mountain Crossings, 12471 Gainesville Hwy, Blairsville GA 30512 or purchase them on the day of the event. All proceeds go to funding the AT History Project, an effort by local Union County residents to research and preserve the history of the Appalachian Trail in conjunction to the Civilian Conservation Corps who helped build much of it in Union County.


Our very own Matt “Pretzel” will be giving a free Gear Talk at 2:30 on the upper overlook. In the past he has taught a class on the subject of thru hiking the Appalachian Trail but this time he will be going into depth specifically about the gear needed for a thru hike.

Join us for a day full of thru hiking and backpacking centered fun! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never thru hiked or never backpacked. This is a great way to become introduced or to just simply enjoy a day in the mountains at the historic Walasi-Yi Center! Check out last year’s blog post about the fun day. This year it looks like we won’t have any left over snow, but plenty of sunshine!

Please carpool, as our parking lot is very small and will fill up quickly. Extra parking is available in the Byron Reece Trailhead Parking Lot a 1/4 mile North of Mountain Crossings on US-129/Gainesville Hwy.


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