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Trailheads Donate $1,000 To Help The Hooch, Then Celebrate At Morty’s Meat & Supply.

Sometimes heroes don’t wear capes and tights; they wear Trailheads gear and jeans. ChatGPT wrote that sentence so we wouldn't sound self-congratulatory. Okay, we fibbed--the opening was written by the free hand that wasn’t patting ourselves on the back. ChatGPT's opening wasn't nearly laudatory enough.

Today, four Trailheads (Guy, Brad, Roy, and Patrick) met with Brittany Jones, Executive Director of Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy (CNPC), Callie Dodd, AmeriCorps VISTA Steward, and Ray Steed, VP and Board Member of CNPC. We presented a $1,000 donation to the CNPC and all it does to help the Hooch.

This generous act begs many questions:

1. Why do Trailheads have such enormous checks, and how many members does it take to lift the checkbook?

2. Where did the money come from––is it legal?

3. Why aren’t George and Steve in the picture?

4. Were their organs harvested to raise this money?

5. Who should get the credit for this donation?

The check pictured is not legal. It is what’s called a “novelty check” in the business--a prop large enough to tell the story in an instant. And, no, we didn’t lift a novelty checkbook to tear out the check. We’d have hernias if we had.

The $1,000 came from the sales of Trailheads-branded merchandise, plus “Hike The Hooch,” and “Hooch Hiker” apparel that are available here. 100% of the profits from sales are donated to CNPC. Yes, this is legal. However, wearing these attractive shirts and hats without anything else in public is not. Be advised. Unfortunately, we do not have Trailheads pants. Yet.

George was in Paris (the French one) working on one of his many important projects for The International Olympic Committee, and Steve had a doctor’s appointment. What, doctors only work on Thursdays now? Excuses, excuses. They missed a fun outing.

Finally, if you have purchased anything from this website, you deserve ALL the credit for the $1,000 CNPC donation. You not only bought great-looking apparel, but you also helped ensure The Hooch and its trails and parks look great. Please buy some more. Trailheads’ shirts and hats make terrific holiday gifts, even if you just give them to yourself. You deserve nice things, right? We think so, you saint, you.

As we posed for our big check picture, a passel of energetic hikers from Atlanta Outdoor Club passed by us. Ray has been on many of these outings and said the AOC group liked to hike rapidly—our hiking speedometers redline at “Trailheads’ pace," and we know we’ve reached it when turtles and snails can’t keep up with us.

We began our journey along Island Ford Trail, where the CNPC has its global headquarters. Brittany, Callie, and Ray joined us for our excursion in the woods and were great company.

Brad had rigged yet another new leashing contraption for Nilla. This one looked like what authorities put on Hannibal Lecter when they wheeled him out on a dolly. We begin to wonder if Nilla would soon tell her friends she had our livers with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

Some of us were afraid (we won’t mention who, but you could tell––they were the ones with damp pants). When Nilla looked at us, we felt like crying lambs.

It was a beautiful day with clear blue skies. Old Man Winter (Johnny?) had been flexing his muscles lately hitting the "brrr" zone, but the temperature on this day was cool and pleasant.

Island Ford Trail is an excellent hike. There are breathtaking views of the glorious Chattahoochee and some remarkable elevations to give your heart a good beating. The trails look different this time of year, with the trees shedding their leaves and giving eyes a fuller view of the surroundings. It’s enjoyable to hike in all four seasons and enjoy Mother Nature’s changing wardrobe. Some people say she is a show-off. These are the same unfortunate souls mysteriously struck by lightning or washed away by a tidal wave.

Most baby boomers remember her wise advice, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature,” in Chiffon Margarine commercials of the 1970s and 80s. The message was received, and she’ll get no static from us. She looks beautiful year round.

We passed a hiking couple who saw Guy’s “Hooch Hiker” cap.

“Nice hat,” the woman said. Guy thanked her, and Ray went in for the pitch.

“You can get one yourself,” Ray said. “The hats are for sale online."

She learned about the fantastic shopping opportunities awaiting in the Trailheads Swag Shop. Order now for the holidays and become a hero.

Will we ever stop this infernal shilling of merch? Probably not. It’s for a great cause.

We came upon a large fallen tree blocking the trail. Roy broke down sobbing and said we couldn’t go on. “We’ll all die,” he vowed. “This is a catastrophe waiting to happen.”

We calmed the poor fellow down and told him to be brave.

“We can do this,” we said.

Licking his lips and steeling his courage, he climbed across the mighty bark, reaching the summit and leaping back to the ground, landing like a superhero.

"That was incredible!" Brad exclaimed.

A hush came upon the planet as all woodland creatures gazed on, amazed at Roy’s impressive physical feat. Victory was his! We continued our expedition.

Because Brad has his unique two-leash system and his arms were getting pulled out of their sockets like Stretch Armstrong, Patrick took over Nilla duty. The dog is all muscle, but she is calming down a bit on her short leash. Isn’t that true of all living creatures? Roy's wife, Karlenne, has used this technique on him for years.

We enjoyed getting to know Brittany, Callie, and Ray. They are dedicated nature enthusiasts and welcoming friends who make any Hooch hike a pleasure. Trailheads look forward to doing more to help their noble cause.

We went out and about, up and down, round and about, and finally, Trail Master Guy led us from the path, across the lawn, and up the steep asphalt drive to the parking lot. It was a little too close to exercise for some of us, but we somehow endured.

With our vigorous hike done, Brittany and Callie returned to the office and worked, while Ray agreed to join us for lunch at Morty’s Meat & Supply in Dunwoody. We made tracks for our feedings of smoked meats and sides to fuel our now-empty tanks.

We discovered the joys of Morty’s Meat & Supply back in early May (read about that visit here). This barbecue place is tucked inside a Dunwoody retail plaza, and if you’ve never been to MM&S, get a move on. You’re in for a treat (and the Dunwoody Wall of Fame).

We won’t rehash Morty's history; you’ll find it in our original review. We give this barbecue joint major props for its creative fare and fun flair. Inside, a giant neon sign proclaims, “Smokin' the good stuff,” and sure enough, they do. The day manager, Tyler, greeted us. He remembered Trailheads from our visit six months ago. We wondered if he recalled us because we had walked the check, and he was going to even the score.

But no, we were memorable because we were the odd characters in matching hats and shirts who proclaimed they were “On the path to truth and barbecue.” He doesn’t come across many of those. He mentioned he had read our write-up on this website and liked it, except that we got his name wrong. We called Tyler “Ryan.” We apologize for the mistake and have corrected it. Sorry, Tyler. Woodward and Bernstein, we ain’t.

Trailheads, Fio, Elvis, Nilla, and our special guest Ray commandeered an outside table on the spacious patio with a large screen TV. Tyler said he’d give us table service instead of having us order at the counter. We felt special and started the Tyler Fan Club.

After the long hike, he even gave the pups table service of fresh water to quench their thirst. They appreciated this, but Elvis prefers unsweet Arnold Palmers in a silver punch bowl. Although Fio is a Perrier girl, she will drink tap. And Nilla likes bourbon neat. She prefers Pappy Van Winkle.

Here’s the thing about Morty’s Meat & Supply: the menu is fun and playful, with barbecue mashups in unexpected places. Enjoy Pork & Mac Eggrolls, Brisket Empanadas, Smoked Salmon Dip, Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwiches, a Burnt Ends Meatloaf Sandwich, Beer-Braised Brats, and, on this fine day, Pastrami-Rubbed Turkey Breast. And, of course, you can also get any of your traditional smoked meats and sides. What’s not to like?

We laid in our orders and talked. Ray told us about his career with Coca-Cola as a microbiologist who led North America's quality, environmental sustainability, and safety functions. We discussed our impressive backgrounds in nuclear physics and “big rocket science.” He quickly saw through our lies when we bragged that we “invented really cool stuff that does all sorts of impressive things––we can’t remember exactly what they were, but we got standing ovations for our brilliant work.”

Tyler came with our food-laden trays of deliciousness. Guy ate the Beer-Braised Bratwurst, and it was glorious. Served on a toasted bun, the flavor-filled brat was smothered in savory sauteed peppers and onions. Can you say, “Umm?” He did. Repeatedly. It got on our nerves.

Ray had the smoked brisket with macaroni and cheese with an icy Coke Zero, and he was the happiest man in Dunwoody. The meat was tender and flavorful, with a smoky kiss that lingered.

Brad ordered the Burnt Ends Meatloaf Sandwich: a toasted bun loaded with delectable burnt ends chopped and mixed with love, spices, and secret whatnot, formed into a meatloaf, sliced into slabs, and smothered in cheddar cheese, then topped with crispy slaw and tangy pickles. Brad described it as “a wonderful combination of flavors.” It was a beast that he tamed.

Roy got the daily special of Pastrami-Rubbed Turkey Breast. He said it was moist and flavorful. We asked Tyler about the “Pastrami-Rubbed” preparation, imagining Morty (or perhaps Ryan) in the back giving turkeys a massage with a Pastrami Sandwich in each hand. But no, Tyler said the turkey meat was brined in “Pastrami spices.” Yet again, we were dead wrong. Will ever get a clue? Nope.

And Patrick dined on the Brisket Empanadas with six smoked wings cooked extra crispy. The Empanadas were muy bueno––crispy brown pillows stuffed with juicy smoked brisket.

And the wings were fabulous, cooked to perfection and dusted with savory spices. Add a little sauce, and you are eating. The Empanadas were so filling he only had two wings and got four to go. And, yes, they made great leftovers.

Now for a drive-by on the sides. Roy described the Brussels sprouts as “little sweet cabbage flavor bombs. He loved them.

Brad said the collard greens were the real deal. A southern treat.

And the baked beans are Guy-approved. “They had a nice meaty flavor,” the carnivore cooed because Guy likes all his fruits, legumes, and vegetables to taste like meat.

The slaw eaters sang their appreciation of the flavorful shredded cabbage. A passing customer asked them to stop their singing. “It sounds like a cat stuck under a rocking chair,” the stranger said.

And the cornbread muffin from Patrick's "all-brown" tray ate like a dream. He likes to order in a limited color palette for his palate.

Then, Ray pulled one over on us. We planned to treat him for lunch. But he snuck into the restaurant and snagged the check. Tyler gave him a nod. "Well played, sir. Well played," he said. We were surprised by Ray's generous act and appreciative. Our kind guest saved us the embarrassment of trying to pay the bill with one of our huge Trailheads novelty checks. Tyler said they had a strict no-big-novelty-check policy. (We bet when his name was "Ryan" he would have let us.)

Hung on the wall inside Morty’s is a colorful poster of Will Ferrell in the famous SNL “More Cowbell” sketch, which is appropriate for this Dunwoody establishment. They deliver the goods with panache.

Oh, Morty, we encourage you to keep playing in your kitchen. You are one mad-more-cowbell cooking man! And Trailheads love you for it.

Rating: Four Ribs*

Morty's Meat & Supply

5509 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road

Dunwoody, GA 30338

(770) 525-3443

*About Our Barbecue Rating System

Trailheads do not claim to be food experts, epicureans, or sophisticated palettes. We are hungry hikers who attack a selected barbecue venue and ravage our way through whatever smoked fare and fixings they're dishing. Our reviews feature what we believe are the highlights of the menu we sampled. So our intent is not to trash talk the saintly folks who tend to smoldering smokers on hot, humid summer days. They are sacrificing themselves in the noble art of smoking meats and feeding the drooling masses. Many are independent entrepreneurs who are the backbone of this humming American economy. Now that you know our standards, you may wonder why every barbecue place gets a four ribs rating. The answer is easy: our group has acclaimed designers, and they think the ribs graphic looks cool. Who are we to argue? Enjoy.

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  • HikingGeorgia

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  • Pierre de Coubertin Medal

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