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tagg
07-14-2017, 14:00
I recently completed a long section hike through northern VA, WV, MD, and PA, and I had a great trail magic experience that I'd like to share...

About a week into my trip, I approached a road crossing one morning about a mile from where I camped, and saw a neon sign and some flags on the side of the trail directing hikers to trail magic in a nearby parking lot. To be honest, I had just finished my coffee and breakfast, was starting to loosen up and was feeling great, so I walked on by. All day long I had other hikers ask me if I had stopped at the trail magic, and each one of them told me how much I had missed out on. I didn't feel like I had missed out on anything because it wasn't anything that I needed at the time, but they certainly all seemed to enjoy it.

Later that afternoon it was ridiculously hot and humid, I had long ago run out of water, and I was not feeling great when I stopped at a spring on the way up a climb. While I was wringing the sweat out of my shirt, a day hiker came up the trail and stopped to chat. After a couple of minutes, he asked if I like beer. Ummm yes. Then he pulled out a STILL COLD bottle of Lagunitas IPA (I'm an IPA guy), opened it, and handed it to me. He said he lives nearby and frequently goes on day hikes, and every time he goes out he brings one beer for himself and one beer for someone he might meet along the way. That day I was the lucky one. He told me to enjoy the beer and to leave the bottle on the rock I was sitting on, and that he would pick it up on his way back down and pack it out for me.

The trail magic at the road crossing sounded like it was awesome for the hikers who shared in it, but that bottle of beer at that moment was a thousand times better to this hiker than anything I would have eaten for 2nd breakfast. There are a lot of options out there for someone who wants to "do trail magic"...just remember that you can keep it really simple and still make an impact.

ZombieDust66
07-14-2017, 14:04
I recently completed a long section hike through northern VA, WV, MD, and PA, and I had a great trail magic experience that I'd like to share...

About a week into my trip, I approached a road crossing one morning about a mile from where I camped, and saw a neon sign and some flags on the side of the trail directing hikers to trail magic in a nearby parking lot. To be honest, I had just finished my coffee and breakfast, was starting to loosen up and was feeling great, so I walked on by. All day long I had other hikers ask me if I had stopped at the trail magic, and each one of them told me how much I had missed out on. I didn't feel like I had missed out on anything because it wasn't anything that I needed at the time, but they certainly all seemed to enjoy it.

Later that afternoon it was ridiculously hot and humid, I had long ago run out of water, and I was not feeling great when I stopped at a spring on the way up a climb. While I was wringing the sweat out of my shirt, a day hiker came up the trail and stopped to chat. After a couple of minutes, he asked if I like beer. Ummm yes. Then he pulled out a STILL COLD bottle of Lagunitas IPA (I'm an IPA guy), opened it, and handed it to me. He said he lives nearby and frequently goes on day hikes, and every time he goes out he brings one beer for himself and one beer for someone he might meet along the way. That day I was the lucky one. He told me to enjoy the beer and to leave the bottle on the rock I was sitting on, and that he would pick it up on his way back down and pack it out for me.

The trail magic at the road crossing sounded like it was awesome for the hikers who shared in it, but that bottle of beer at that moment was a thousand times better to this hiker than anything I would have eaten for 2nd breakfast. There are a lot of options out there for someone who wants to "do trail magic"...just remember that you can keep it really simple and still make an impact.

That trail angel is a hero!


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Trailweaver
07-14-2017, 14:47
I have also enjoyed fresh fruit that day hikers shared. Anything, really, that you "can't get out there" is so appreciated. It's just the small kindnesses that count so much! Thanks for all who do take the time to do this.

Slo-go'en
07-14-2017, 15:33
I learned not to drink a cold beer on a hot day with a big climb right ahead. That beer nearly killed me. Okay, not quite that bad but I surely regretted it before long. Now if I'm offered a beer, I'll take it, but carry it to the next camp and drink it with dinner. (and hope no one finds it in the stream where I put it to cool down again).

BuckeyeBill
07-14-2017, 16:25
That is real trail magic. You got what you needed? when you needed. It is very unusual that the day hiker just happen to be carrying your brand of beer.:)

Venchka
07-14-2017, 16:35
Homemade Wanderlust
PCT Video #14
Dixie finds a remarkable gentleman on the trail.
Wayne


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swjohnsey
07-14-2017, 18:17
I hit some trail magic and everything was gone, nothin' but trash. As I continued on I saw a car pull up where the trail crossed a dirt road. Guy got out and opened the hatch and proceed to unload magic and head up the trail. He greeted me and invited me to accompany him to resupply the box. He pulls out a pint and offers me a little nip.

rickb
07-14-2017, 19:09
There are a lot of options out there for someone who wants to "do trail magic"...just remember that you can keep it really simple and still make an impact.
Speaking or really simple...

I had to take a long drive down to NJ and back one day last week and decided to break it up with a stop at the parking lot on top of Bear Mountain.

I had zero imagination at the convenience store, and ended up grabbing several large bottles of water.

No thru hikers up top, so I headed back down in my car but took a wrong turn down a dead end, along which the AT has been temporarily rerouted.

Still no thru hikers to be seen, but I saw a large group of kids with matching Boy's & Girls Club shirts catching their breath -- so I offered my humble magic out the car window.

Their reactions were simply amazing.

Apart from friendly "thank yous" from the leader and the boys around him, a whole bunch of other kids bounded over to the car with energetic smiles insisting in shaking my hand through the car window. Good kids.

I got the better end of the deal, I think.

Spirit Walker
07-15-2017, 10:42
The year after our thruhike, we wanted to provide some trail magic, so we drove to Del. Water Gap and slacked the hikers at the hostel 20 miles up the trail, greeting them late afternoon with their packs and a cooler full of soda and beer. The hikers by that time were utterly blasť about it as they had run into so much trail magic by the time they reached NJ. They weren't especially grateful though they did accept the drinks and the packless hike. (We spoke with one person at the hostel, offering to take his pack, but when we arrived there were 15 packs waiting for us. Only one suspicious hiker carried his pack that day. ) OTOH, there was a group of kids from a camp who were backpacking. They had never heard of trail magic or expected to receive any so the cold sodas we gave them were very much appreciated. We stopped doing the trail magic soon after, figuring that we would do more good as trail maintainers on some of the more obscure PA trails.