My First Buckeye Trail Fest Report

This is my first Buckeye Trail Fest Report,  I am happy to say it will not be my last!

Buckeye Trail Fest Report

Buckeye Trail Fest = Annual Meeting

Who was the brilliant person that came up with the idea of TrailFest instead of “Annual Meeting”?  Psst. It’s the one and same. At the annual meeting of the BTA, there are hikes and workshops you can participate in. At the Buckeye TrailFest,  there are hikes scheduled, and speakers and workshops! And oh yes, the annual meeting of the BTA will be at TrailFest too!

Who wants to go to a *meeting* That word ranks right under *committee* for dullness and lack of appeal. But a *Trail Fest*? Heck yeah!

 Stuff to Do

There were two different programs. There was the workshop/presentation program and a hiking program. I start to circle activities that I want to attend. Then hikes I want to go on-basically I want to go on all the hikes. Then I notice most of this stuff is going to overlap with each other-I have to make a choice!  That’s pretty cool that there was so much to do at Trail Fest 2017 that you can to make tough decisions.

Camp Hugh Taylor Birch

The 2017 TrailFest was held at the Boy Scout Camp Hugh Taylor Birch. This is a super location right next to John Bryan State Park, and an easy hike to Clifton Gorge and Glen Helen Preserve.  There was camping available in any form you wanted: tent camping, cabins, bring your own camper. Our meetings were held in the dinning hall and the Turner building, both comfortable facilities for the workshops.

Trail Towns

There was a presentation on Thursday (which I missed) designating Yellow Springs as the most recent “Trail Town”.

Buckeye Trail Fest


I was happy I had glanced at the website last minute, because I noticed there was a showing of “Trail Magic” a documentary about Emma Gatewood, the first woman to *solo* 🙂 hike the Appalachian Trail.  I knew about Grandma Gatewood, but I didn’t know her story. I encourage you to view the movie when you can and check out the book.

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Clifton Gorge Hike Friday

I decided to go on the Clifton Gorge Hike on Friday as it was supposed to be short and we’d be back in plenty of time for the afternoon presentations.  That didn’t work out so well, as the Gorge was “gorgeous” and hikers were taking way too long admiring and taking pictures of flowers. Connie Pond was our leader and she could not have picked a better day with all the spring ephemerals  in bloom.

Buckeye Trail Fest Clifton Gorge Columbines

South Rim Trail Clifton Gorge Preserve

Sog Fest

I decided to skip the Saturday hikes in order to make the presentations.  That worked out well with Mother Nature’s plan too, as it stormed heavily all morning long.

Buckeye Trail Fest

I was hoping it was just a Flash Flood Warning that lit up hiker’s phones in the room, not a Tornado Warning!


Much knowledge was obtained from a bunch from the different presenters this past week end. I have ideas on how to use different transportation to make a section hike, some new apps to check out, new trails to explore, how to improve my photo taking skills, the history of the Buckeye Trail. I’m glad I took notes!

 Dinner and Auction

Stacey Kozel  gave the keynote speech on her travels on completing the Appalachian Trail. Stacey is paralyzed. She was able to hike by use of exoskeletons on her legs. No wonder her nickname is IronWill. Stacey Kozel Buckeye Trail Fest



Annual Meeting Sunday

This was my first TrailFest and annual meeting. It moved along smoothly and good knowledge was passed on, and the meeting didn’t drag on! It was then time to move on toward home and look forward to the next Buckeye TrailFest!


Will you be attending the 2018 Buckeye TrailFest in Hocking Hills?


3 thoughts on “My First Buckeye Trail Fest Report

  1. John Smilek

    Thanks for all the kind input. Was looking for a line or two of love for Camp Birch. Great facility, great price, tons of room and a beautiful three mile hike to Clifton one way or the BT in Yellow Springs the other. What is not to love?!?!?!?!

  2. Randall Roberts

    Great write up! I enjoyed meeting you and I’m very glad you had a good experience at your first TrailFest. Right on about the annual meeting morphing into TrailFest. I think it’s one of the best things the BTA ever did. It’s how I became a member and became aware of the people behind the trail.
    I do want to point out one clarification. It’s minor, yet significant. You incorrectly state that Emma Gatewood was “the first woman to hike the Appalachian Trail.” The more correct statement is that she was the first woman to solo through hike the Appalachian Trail. The key word being “solo”. There was a woman, Mildren Norman Ryder A.K.A. Peace Pilgrim, who completed the journey before Emma did but she did so with a male hiking partner and they did a “flip-flop” hike. But they weren’t married and it was the 50’s… scandalous!

    Emma Gatewood is our hero, and at the age of 67, what she did was incredible, but it’s important to add “solo” to that accomplishment. Mildred was one of the first 5 to complete the AT in one season!


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