A new community event in Troutville celebrates its relationship with the fabled Appalachian
Troutville is home to 500 people, but it sees thousands of day hikers and AT-through hikers
pass through it every year. This weekend a first annual celebration recognized a real love affair between Troutville and the trail.
One group of Appalachian Trail hikers from Lynchburg set out a couple of days ago for a 40-mile
long hike. Troutville wasn’t going to be one of the group’s stops, but after learning about “Troutville
Trail Days” the three adults and two teenagers walked an extra three miles on Friday.
Dan Sullivan said, “The hike’s been beautiful so far. The best part has been being here. This has been nothing but a blessing.” Friday night they were picked up at the trailhead on the edge of town, driven to the town center, provided with hot showers, a great meal, fellowship at a local church, and soft beds to sleep in.
Sybille Nelson who helped organize trail days said, “Wow, that’s very heartwarming and very humbling to hear.” Rain, Friday night brought a halt to many of the scheduled activities, but on Saturday, 9 year old Eli Whitt of Buchanan provided the power for the merry-go-round; its base a pit of mud and water.
He was asked if this helped him get ready for a rainy day hike on the trail and he said, “I’ve already done that.” A few minutes later he was with another large group of kids decorating bamboo walking sticks.
Organizers of this event hope it helps get, young and old, out and onto what many consider are some of the best sections of the 2000 mile long Appalachian Trail, right here in Southwest Virginia. “I think more people are slowly and surely learning about it.
I think the last 8 years being on the trail. I’m seeing more daily hikers come onto the trail,” Nelson explained.
Making hikers feel welcome is what Troutville does very well. It recognizes the trail as a real
asset. And hikers, like 16 year old Aaron Cooley of Lynchburg couldn’t agree more.
He said being on the trail and outside helps break the common stereotype of teens spending most of their time in a digital world; “Just sitting on the couch gets redundant after a while. It gets boring. You really have to get out and live life; really get out on the trail. The mountains are calling you. They want you to come and hike them.”
Dan Sullivan one of the adults in Cooley’s group says being in Troutville was absolutely wonderful and with hospitality second to none is definitely earns its title as a designated Appalachian Trail Community, an honor it received in December 2011.
The first Troutville Trail Days included games and activities for young folks, music, food, demonstrations, skits and displays from outdoor suppliers and non-profit organizations that support hiking.
Troutville wants AT hikers to come and enjoy its special slice of small town Americana. Tired feet are welcomed with open arms and big hearts.