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selahpeace
08-20-2006, 11:17
Hello, I am new to all of this, and find the idea of the AT, and those who have spent lots of time on it very very attractive. I probably wont be able to hike significant amounts of it in the near future, but one thing i'm interested in doing is becoming a trail angel. Are they self-professed or is there an organization of them? Can anyone just be one? Are there any in Southwest Virginia that would be interested in doing some hikes and leaving some gifts for the hikers?

-Sandra
:banana

Lone Wolf
08-20-2006, 11:19
Don't leave anything unattended on the AT.

selahpeace
08-20-2006, 12:10
not even fresh water or magic like that? I think you misunderstand me if you think i'm talking about trashing the trails.

Lilred
08-20-2006, 12:38
I agree with Lone Wolf. Don't leave any coolers or bags or drinks, especially food, left unattended. Find a road crossing and give out of the back of your car. Or provide shuttle services for free.

Lone Wolf
08-20-2006, 12:41
not even fresh water or magic like that? I think you misunderstand me if you think i'm talking about trashing the trails.
If you leave fresh water in a gallon jug who's gonna pack out the jug when empty?

selahpeace
08-20-2006, 17:03
alright, let me rephrase. What is a trail angel? What do they do? What is trail magic? What can i do to help out hikers?

And on a different note, after exploring this site a little more than i did before, this will be my last post because it seems that the users of this site (especially the ones that have posted thousands of times) do little more than argue and quarrel over varying opinions on seemingly insignificant issues.

mingo
08-20-2006, 17:34
don't listen to those two. go out and leave a little magic on the trail. knock yourself out. it will be greatly appreciated.

and to lone wolf and liliredwhatever, i hope you are pleased with yourselves now that you have chased away a would-be supporter of the trail

Smile
08-20-2006, 19:30
Hi Selahpeace,
Don't run away just yet!

It's great that you want to be a trail angel. There is not an organization that runs or oversees them or anything like that. Usually they are people with good hearts like yours who wish to help hikers. Many are ex-hikers, section hikers, weekend warriors, or family of those who have hiked.

It's just important to follow a few guidelines, like leaving stuff anywhere unattended is not a good thing. As mentioned, a cooler of cans or whatever can end up as a pile of garbage strewn through the woods, and it's important to take this into consideration when you want to help out.

Use your car, do the tailgate/trunk thing and try to get stuff that is wrapped, or fruit or something like that. Water and soda, juice or something is great too. Folks are usually thankful for whatever you provide, especially when the weather is brutal out.

This year, my favorite angels were in Unicoi Gap and had hot beverages, fruit, soda and water on a very windy day, it was a nice surprise! They were cold too, and spent "in between hiker" time in their car. It was an older couple whose son had hiked years before, and since then they did this as a hobby when they could. Wonderful!

I am sure that you will hear more positives on here....as I can not believe that a hiker would be so foolish to turn our noses up at a trail angel on a long hike! Even if you had stuff they opted not to partake of.

Go for it, and thanks for considering spending some of your precious time to help out strangers on a hike ;-)

StarLyte
08-20-2006, 20:34
Hello, I am new to all of this, and find the idea of the AT, and those who have spent lots of time on it very very attractive. I probably wont be able to hike significant amounts of it in the near future, but one thing i'm interested in doing is becoming a trail angel. Are they self-professed or is there an organization of them? Can anyone just be one? Are there any in Southwest Virginia that would be interested in doing some hikes and leaving some gifts for the hikers?

-Sandra
:banana

Welcome Selahpeace.

Please phone the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/site/c.jkLXJ8MQKtH/b.1423119/k.BEA0/Home.htm) and tell them what your interests are. They will answer any questions you may have. Have fun on whatever journey you chose, and come to a hiker event.

rickb
08-20-2006, 20:52
I probably wont be able to hike significant amounts of it in the near future

Hiking very small parts of it can be good, too. Whether alone, or with friends, or with a club.

selahpeace
08-20-2006, 20:56
mingo, smile and starlyte, thanks so much for your posts! I was really bummed out by the other responses, but you all have brightened my mood considerably! :sun I'll probably join a ATC group or something here soon and see if i could be a blessing to some hikers.

bfitz
08-21-2006, 01:30
Some places are better than others, there are lots of opinions about trail magic and lots of types. I often set up camp with stuff not too far from my car, mabye a couple of miles in where it's ok for a fire and a group to hang out w/o bothering anyone and hang out for a day or three and catch hikers coming through and feed them, offer rides or whatever, I usually carry in beer and other goodies, and pack out my own trash, even take their other trash, try to "party" a little. As starlyte says tne way to interact with the "community" and get a feel for how stuff works would be to come to the gathering , meet a bunch of us and hang out!

http://www.aldha.org/gathring.htm

Don't worry too much about opinions...Come to the gathering .

Lone Wolf
08-21-2006, 06:04
alright, let me rephrase. What is a trail angel? What do they do? What is trail magic? What can i do to help out hikers?

And on a different note, after exploring this site a little more than i did before, this will be my last post because it seems that the users of this site (especially the ones that have posted thousands of times) do little more than argue and quarrel over varying opinions on seemingly insignificant issues.
Gee, I'm sorry. What was I thinking? Go ahead and just leave stuff at shelters and road crossings. Some other do-gooder angel will pack it out. David Blaine does trail magic.:)

Lone Wolf
08-21-2006, 06:08
don't listen to those two. go out and leave a little magic on the trail. knock yourself out. it will be greatly appreciated.

and to lone wolf and liliredwhatever, i hope you are pleased with yourselves now that you have chased away a would-be supporter of the trail
sure dingo, sure.:rolleyes: :D

Gray Blazer
08-21-2006, 07:11
Good morning Appalachian Trail,

Getting the week started on the correct foot, I see. I like Bfitzs' idea and have done that myself. It's fun to camp out a few days in a spot that's not easy for every Tom, Dick and Harry to drive up to and the thrubees I met had a good time as well as me. Another thing not mentioned is you can bring musical intruments and jam (AT style that is). It looks like the 2nd Annual Black Bald Hiker Feed will be around the 1st week in April. I'll let ya'll know more about it later. See ya at the FL gathering this weekend!

Smile
08-21-2006, 07:22
Lone Wolf and LilRMG, I think that your first two posts were right on, great advice ;-)


Can anyone just be one? ........ leaving some gifts for the hikers? not even fresh water or magic like that? I think you misunderstand me if you think i'm talking about trashing the trails.

This person was just asking questions, and doesn't have a clue how to go about being a trail angel, I don't think their intention was to "leave stuff in the woods" and as far as leaving gifts - they haven't even begun to know what they are doing, what to leave, how to leave it or anything. Leaving stuff at shelters wasn't even mentioned.

Kind of like somebody who has never done any hiking, it's good to ask questions first and get advice from those who have been there and done that - one of the main purposes of WB in the first place.

Consider giving advice kindly here in a way which might lead this person to being a benefit to hikers, and not a slob who leaves trash and "gifts" out there for others to clean up.

Every well known TA out there had to do it for the first time somehow, somewhere and many have become 'legends' - so how about some more great advice for this person, who could turn out to be somebody that is a real benefit for the community.

What a great opportunity here to have a clean canvas to work with! somebody who came here to seek advice on how to do it right ;-)

Nuture.

Gray Blazer
08-21-2006, 07:28
Good Morning Smile, I think you just invented a new word. I looked it up and "nuture" is not in my Funk And Wagnalls.I was thinking it would be a great word if it meant something like "to nurture for nature for the future." Just the ramblings of a moron. Have a good day!

Smile
08-21-2006, 07:30
Yeah, you're right :-)

It was meant to be nuture, my typo. You are not a moron and I appreciate you pointing that out!

Nuture, Baby....NUTURE!

bfitz
08-21-2006, 10:33
Sometimes leaving certain things in certain places is okay, but not always. I found a candy bar on a sign in one place and now I regularly run up there and put a snickers in that spot...its not deep inside, and there aren't any bears around there and I remember how awesome that candy bar was when I came upon it that day. I've found beer in a creek before, and while it's probably a bad idea to leave, boy did I enjoy it. Coolers and jugs of water are fine right by the trail head at the road, but not where it will become trash...there are ways to prevent things from turning into trash if you're creative.
Everyone's got an opinion if ya know what I mean..........

casteel
08-24-2006, 10:30
I think that leaving things are alright as long as it is easily accessible (near a road) and you plan to pick it up, or someone else. I also think that if hikers would pack out their damn trash instead of leaving it, the trail would be much cleaner. I often noticed trash on the trail on my thru-hike but didn't take the time to pick it up because "I had to keep moving"... Now that I look back on it I wish I had. If anyone in Northeast Tennessee (often called the trashiest part of the trail) or southwest Virginia would like to accompany me on day hikes to pick trash up, please get in touch.

Lone Wolf
09-17-2006, 07:35
alright, let me rephrase. What is a trail angel? What do they do? What is trail magic? What can i do to help out hikers?

And on a different note, after exploring this site a little more than i did before, this will be my last post because it seems that the users of this site (especially the ones that have posted thousands of times) do little more than argue and quarrel over varying opinions on seemingly insignificant issues.
A trail angel is something you see after eating mushrooms atop Cheoah Bald. Trail magic is performed by gnomes in rhodo tunnels.

Crazy Larry #1
09-17-2006, 08:19
And on a different note, after exploring this site a little more than i did before, this will be my last post because it seems that the users of this site (especially the ones that have posted thousands of times) do little more than argue and quarrel over varying opinions on seemingly insignificant issues.

You misled yourself into believing nonsense, besides hikers are a sensitive lot, and my advice is don't listen to what mingo says................

StarLyte
09-17-2006, 08:25
A trail angel is something you see after eating mushrooms atop Cheoah Bald. Trail magic is performed by gnomes in rhodo tunnels.


ha ha you dug up this thread LW....I love it.....

I wonder if there is a difference between the Trail Angel and the Trail faerie/fairy.

I guess it depends on how many mushrooms one can consume.

I'm definitely a gnome. I will POP OUT at you when you least expect. I hide under those little bridges too.......

Crazy Larry #1
09-17-2006, 08:27
This thread is slowly going off topic.......................and I may give it a boost to aid it along....................

Lone Wolf
09-17-2006, 09:22
ha ha you dug up this thread LW....I love it.....

I wonder if there is a difference between the Trail Angel and the Trail faerie/fairy.

I guess it depends on how many mushrooms one can consume.

I'm definitely a gnome. I will POP OUT at you when you least expect. I hide under those little bridges too.......
I know a few towns and hostels where trail faires reside.:D

dixicritter
09-17-2006, 09:38
Since I can't participate in the backpacking / hiking I consider myself a Trail Angel in that I support SGT Rock, the boys and other hikers where I can. There are many ways to be a Trail Angel, they don't all include going out and leaving things on the trail (which I do not do for the obvious reasons).

Some hikers do not feel the need to have any support and that fine too. To each their own.

SGT Rock
09-17-2006, 10:18
You are my trail angle dear.

Ranger wants to help do a feed next spring, maybe we can set something up and let some WhiteBlazers meet you.

STEVEM
09-17-2006, 10:35
Don't leave anything unattended on the AT.

At the RT 17A trail crossing in Warwick, NY in October 2001 I found a large box of prayer books (unattended) dedicated to an AT hiker/maintainer who had been killed at The WTC on 9/11. My wife keeps it in the glove compartment of her car. As soon as she gets home I think I'll send the family a letter about trashing the trail.

Lone Wolf
09-17-2006, 10:37
Oh brother.:rolleyes:

SGT Rock
09-17-2006, 10:56
Is it possible you could do something for the right reason and it end up not being the right thing to do?

Hmmm...

And some people seem sort of sensitive lately.

dixicritter
09-17-2006, 10:59
You are my trail angle dear.

Ranger wants to help do a feed next spring, maybe we can set something up and let some WhiteBlazers meet you.


Sounds like a good idea to me. :)

STEVEM
09-17-2006, 18:44
Sandra, I hope you have an opportunity to read this. I am basically a thru hiker wannabe waiting for the right time to give it a try. In the meantime, I keep active, enjoy the outdoors and talk to the people I meet along the way.

My point is to explain how the "trail angel/trail magic" thing sometimes just happens.

Yesterday, I met a southbound thruhiker near High Point, NJ. I talked with him for a while and he told me that he had just recovered from a stress fracture of his foot. Yesterday was his first day back on the trail. His dad had driven him to NJ from Charlottsville, VA. He was glad to be back and we talked about the section ahead, which I know well.

Today, I happened to be taking a short walk on a section of the AT in Stokes Forest. Passing the Gren Anderson Shelter I saw the same hiker again and stopped to say hello. He explained to me that he had again
injured his foot and as a result of walking awkwardly had also hurt his back.

He felt that he was unable to continue, and really was'nt sure what to do to find help on a Sunday. He decided he needed to go home and fully recover (he had returned against doctors orders).

I drove him to the NJ Transit train station in Dover NJ. From there he can make connections to Amtrak for his trip home.

In less than an hour he went from being hurt and alone in the woods 400 miles from his family to holding a ticket for his trip home.

Thats how the "trail magic" thing sort of just happens. You just need to get out there, meet people and get a feeling for what they may need.

MOWGLI
09-17-2006, 18:53
Serendipity (http://m-w.com/dictionary/serendipity)=Trail Magic

dixicritter
09-17-2006, 19:25
SteveM that's an excellent example of how being a Trail Angel should work in my opinion. It's not just about being out there to feed hikers or give them water, but helping them with rides, phone calls, or mail drops that count too. Sometimes it is spur of the moment like what you did for this hiker, however, sometimes it is also co-ordinated in advance.

There's lots of ways to help out without trashing the trail. Hey the last thing I want is my 8 year old mad at me for leaving trash out on the trail, and trust me he'd be mad.

the goat
09-17-2006, 19:51
Serendipity (http://m-w.com/dictionary/serendipity)=Trail Magic

nice! i like that, mowg.

StarLyte
09-17-2006, 20:20
Excellent description Mowgli.

I agree on the Trail Angel thing.......I do Trail Angel work sitting here at my computer..... the job never ends......and I love it.

MOWGLI
09-17-2006, 21:30
Excellent description Mowgli.



Years ago I had a mentor (actually an AA sponsor) who used the word often. He described serendipity as "an unexpected blessing(s)." I think that definition equally describes trail magic.

bfitz
09-18-2006, 11:58
Well, just because you planned it doesn't mean it wasn't unexpected by the recipient!