Archive for July, 2011

20th Annual Brown Gap Hikers Feast – 4/22 – 4/24/11

It’s hard to believe that this event has been going on for 20 years now, but as hordes of hungry hikers descended down into the gap they were greeted by sights, sounds, and smells, of other hikers being provided with mass quantities of assorted cold drinks and a vast array of foods. Of course this is only a generalization of what goes on at this event as there is much more to it than just food and drinks. Before I get to those details, let me provide some background of what this event is for, its location, and just how it all began.


The Early Years !

The Early Years !

Brown Gap is located along the Appalachian Trail in a remote area just North of the Great Smoky Mountains along the Tennessee/North Carolina border. It is approximately three miles South of Max Patch. A small gravel US Forest Service road makes it possible for vehicles to access it (if you don’t mind going up a really steep hill). Each year hundreds of hikers attempting to ‘thru-hike’ the entire trail from Georgia to Maine (2,176 miles/ 14 states) will pass through this gap,  but only certain ones will be there at the right time to be lucky enough to be a part of the largest ‘trail magic’ event found anywhere on the trail. The timing of the event is around the last weekend in April, about 3 weeks in advance of the very well known celebration called ‘Appalachian Trail Days‘ which is held in early to mid May in Damascus, Virginia. The significance of this is that it will take the average hiker that long to hike from Brown Gap to Damascus.


Brown Gap Hikers Feast  2011

Brown Gap Hikers Feast 2011

The reason this location was chosen is because it is at a point on the trail where the hikers are not very close to any easily available re-supply points. Having just hiked the 71 miles across the rugged Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with no stores or postal services and still having over 23 miles to go to the next town of Hot Springs, NC, their food supplies are running low.  Not to mention that after a week of hiking with nothing by dehydrated foods and water, along with burning up to and beyond 5000 calories per day, that their need and cravings for cold drinks and real food are getting strong ! Although they would surely make it to Hot Springs without any assistance,  there is definitely a need for some random acts of kindness there which gave birth to what is now known more commonly as ‘trail magic’.


Posted on 4 July '11 by , under RATtreks. 2 Comments.