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The Genesis of Trailheads, or how we got on this path to truth and barbecue

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

In the beginning, six friends and two dogs gathered for a hike.

And it was good.

And the friends got hungry after their nature walk, so they ate smoked meat.

And it was very good.

And the friends enjoyed themselves so much they decided to do this weekly.

And it was great.

August 2, 2022, is the first "official" anniversary of the launch of Trailheads. We wanted to recap our history, thank our followers for supporting our good causes, and give you the state of our union.

When we first gathered, back in February of 2021, we were a ragtag bunch. Many of us wore sneakers and were suspicious of "the great outdoors"–– we were more the indoorsy types. But we were quickly seduced by Mother Nature and fell in love. Hard. We decided to become an organized unit. Though in the Summer months, a couple of us still long for "the Great Air-Conditioned Indoors."

In August, we decided to use our marketing skills, and we gave ourselves a brand name: Trailheads. We couldn't help it––we're fools for branding. We became our client and went to work building an empire.

Like any inspired enterprise, we gave ourselves a mission statement which became our tagline: "On the path to truth and barbecue." We didn't rely on research data or focus groups to help us. Nope. We were dedicated to solving world problems while exploring the trails of North Georgia, then rewarding ourselves at nearby barbecue joints. Market research be damned!

In case you're wondering, no, we haven't had much luck cracking world problems––they're a bitch. And they seem to multiply. But we sure nailed the exploration of trails and barbecues.

Now that we had a name, we got all artsy-fartsy and designed a logo.

Since Trailheads are children of the 60s, we tapped into its trippy psychedelic era vibe. We designed our unique typeface (Helvetica wasn't cutting it) and made those letters sing. Our logo has pulsing rhythmic lines as distinctive as a Jerry Garcia solo in bright, bold colors. Pass the 'shrooms, man––put a flower in your hair, and let's get truckin' on the righteous path to truth and barbecue!

We began producing our authentic merchandise, or "merch," as we say in the trade, because we're too busy to speak entire words. And we decided to make our exclusive Trailheads merch available to the public, with all profits going to good causes, including benefiting the families of fallen forest firefighters and the Yellowstone National Park. We couldn't just walk and eat. We had to give back. It all had to have meaning.

But wait, how would we spread the word? We debated going door-to-door and selling our wares, which seemed a little impractical. Instead, we harnessed the power of the internet and developed

At this hub, anyone online can learn about our latest hikes, read barbecue restaurant reviews, gather helpful hiking info, and buy lots of snappy Trailheads gear (we call it SWAG in the online world) to look good while doing good. And since we were creative types with the attention span of the Chiggers that feast on us, we kept designing and redesigning. As a result, we frequently have new, stylish caps, t-shirts, hoodies, and buttons coming to market.

On a roll, we got social because we're social animals. Trailheads joined the Facebook and Instagram conversations. We posted humorous accounts of our hikes and barbecue grazing, Trailheads Wisdom (lessons learned on our journeys), and a cartoon series called Roy Tumbles created by Roy Trimble. (Well, he takes credit, but after hearing of his mishaps on the trail, famed writer Sarah Cotton suggested the idea and equally famed agency owner BA Albert named it.)

We even have social posts featuring photos of travelers sporting Trailheads clothing, "Happy Trails" tributes to the dearly departed, and whatever else we think will tickle and inform our audience. We have built a flock of loyal followers and scores of dedicated Instagram stalkers. Our goal is always to entertain ourselves first, and we hope others will smile or laugh at our exploits.

What's the result of all this marketing madness? We're happy to report we've donated over $1500 to our good causes, thanks to our benevolent fans. If you'd like to help us help others and good ol' Ma Nature, it's as easy as grabbing some Trailheads gear here.

We also hold monthly poker games at Brad's office (if the Trailheads were in a James Bond film, this would be our lair), and he usually serves his baby back ribs. These meaty treats are incredible, slathered with Roy's wife's barbecue sauce (the recipe's secret, don't ask). This fare rivals any legit barbecue joints we've sampled.

And due to popular demand, Trailheads hosted a subscribers group hike. We promise to do many more in the future. If you're not a subscriber, you can do it here.

It's been a fun year of hiking, eating, laughing, problem-solving, and brotherhood. Through it all, each Trailhead has assumed a role. We all contribute to the collective in different and meaningful ways. Guy is the trail master—the guide for the misguided. Patrick is the head writer, humorist, and scribe. George is our conscience, holding us accountable and chastising us when we stray from our mission. Steve is the professor. He researches and advises to protect us from harm and the evil chiggers mentioned earlier. Brad and his company Copeland Design handle the entire visual brand of our group. And Roy is the chief shutterbug and retoucher, drives blog post art direction, and is in charge of bitching and moaning along the trails.

And a special thanks to Sterling Kuykendall for her design chops, and making us look better than we deserve.

In short, dear reader, the state of our union is strong, and we sincerely thank you for your support.

As Warren Zevon once said, "Enjoy every sandwich." We would suggest a barbecue sandwich.


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