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View Full Version : What are the best found items you got form the trail



turtle fast
11-25-2007, 19:27
I was once on the NCT in the Upper Michigan area by the Porcupine Mountains and had found a perfectly good coffee pot. Stainless steel, backpacker sized almost brand new looking. A little later on the NCT trail I was craving fresh fruit and found a perfectly good orange on the trail like it was dropped just a few minutes later!!!!

Appalachian Tater
11-25-2007, 19:49
Leki pole tips; there's no point in buying them, you can always find them on the trail.

Kirby
11-25-2007, 20:14
I found a cool looking rock this summer on Whitecap, not sure if that counts.

Kirby

TheTank
11-25-2007, 20:16
Best thing I have found on the AT: I found $10 in the Shenandoahs, just sitting in the middle of the AT.

One of the best thing I have ever found in the woods: In Washington state I found a trekking pole while bushwhacking, unfortunately it got bent about a week later when somebody totaled my car with it inside.

One of the best thing found on a trip I was on: A couple days before I found the trekking pole my friend found a handheld GPS on Mt Adams.

By far the best thing I have found: In the wilderness outside Silverton, CO I found a pair of Nikon binoculars. Apparently this model is selling online for about $300. I am sure someone is sore about losing them.

Egads
11-25-2007, 20:21
Red man, gloves, a spork, and an orange

MOWGLI
11-25-2007, 20:29
Peace & solitude.

JAK
11-25-2007, 20:31
Not on the AT, but on my recent hike on the Fundy shore my daughter and I came across what appears to be some sort of pouch made by a fisherman. It was made of green plastic netting, say 8"x8" folded in half and stitched, with a nylon draw cord and a piece of rubber tire as the stopper for the draw cord. It was handy to put all the stuff I had loose in my pocket, like cell phone, lighter, compass. I'm guessing it was lost over the side of a fishing boat, and was originally used for holding a lunch or other items for some deckhand, or perhaps it was some sort of bait pouch for lobster or crab traps.

Tin Man
11-25-2007, 20:33
Peace & solitude.

That's awesome. Lately, I have found large groups of teenagers and people with ill-mannered dogs (or is that ill-mannered people with dogs?). Of course, my section hiking has me in the Whites right now, so that's to be expected.

Bearpaw
11-25-2007, 20:55
Great friends of that moment and a handful of lifelong friends. They really are the best part of my thru-hike.

Programbo
11-25-2007, 21:33
I found a real Civil War bayonet..It was rusted up but you could still tell what it was

Jim Adams
11-25-2007, 23:25
an incredible hiking stick and lifelong friends!

geek

Javasanctum
11-25-2007, 23:34
Lot's of ball caps hanging on trees... left them there

Lyle
11-25-2007, 23:56
Best thing I found, or got for free while hiking was a pair of running shoes in LaJunta, CO. They were found in a lost and found box in the Koshare Indian Kiva, a Scout facility. This was the first time I used running shoes in place of boots. Hiked many miles in those, didn't replace them until Damascus where I bought a new pair of cheap runners. This was back in 1980, ahead of there time for backpacking. They replaced a pair of Vasque Hiker II's - HEAVY, STIFF hiking boots.

Smile
11-25-2007, 23:59
Did anybody find any marshmellows last year on the end of sticks along the trail? :)

Best thing I found was a cold cooler of bottled water by a road in PA on a section in July, sweet!

Tipi Walter
11-26-2007, 00:19
Peace & solitude.

Yes, the best things I find on my trails are peace, solitude, a certain excited giddiness, especially when it snows, and the neverending desire to keep camping.

In the Conehead area I found a pair of new binoculars sitting on the trail.
Up at the Harvard Camps where the trail crossed the road there was a dumpster so I looked inside and grabbed a new wooden recorder(flute)in a carrying case with a fingering chart. Mother lode paydirt! I learned over time to play the thing and ended up playing Bach on it professionally with a church organist on several occasions.

Found a full tent in a stuff sack in Slickrock wilderness(left it - Ozark Trail - dead weight to me).
Found an alpaca wool hat on the Fodderstack trail.

Kerosene
11-26-2007, 00:22
The old cabin atop Camel's Hump on the Long Trail in early August 1979: The temperature plummeted into the mid-30's (after setting a record of 100F the day we started at the Canadian border), and I was in danger of freezing, or at least a very uncomfortable night. I found a grey cotton sweatshirt that someone had left in the cabin that kept me just warm enough to get through the rest of the month.

Nearly Normal
11-26-2007, 03:00
Remedy

NN

Tinker
11-26-2007, 03:15
Nothing, materially. Basically, every piece of equipment I've ever found on the trail was discarded by someone else or dropped accidentally. None of it was of any value. I pack out what is useless. If I find a trail book or something similar, I leave it at the next shelter or the trailhead on the way out if it doesn't have a name on it. Hats, single gloves, cigarette butts, a broken pedometer and a blue foam pad as well as shredded poly tarps are what I have picked up along the trail.

gumball
11-26-2007, 07:24
On a warm, long hiking day, on one of my first long distance hikes on the AT, when I hadn't learned yet what types of food to pack to keep me happy: a peach tree with some peaches on it. Mmmm.

Marta
11-26-2007, 08:19
Things I picked up: A $10 bill on Mt. Rogers; many dollars worth of coins; a pair of Oakley sunglasses in GA; an Evernew titanium pot lid; candy, still wrapped (several times); baskets for Leki poles; partially-full MSR canisters; a few books...

Things I left behind: A pair of Crocs (too large); lots of raggedy clothes; rain-soaked sleeping bags; an abandoned tent; an abandoned food bag hanging in a tree; two completely full gallon bags of peanuts and raisins, along with super-sized jars of Bama peanut butter and grape jelly; a few books...

Flush2wice
11-26-2007, 09:40
Non AT- half a bottle of Jack Daniels floating down the Nantahala.
2 bottles of white wine in a cold creek on the Art Loeb trail. They were tied to string anchored to the creek bank at a camp site.

AT- at some point in the Whites my cheap point-and-shoot camera crapped out on me. I trashed it and was going to go the rest of the way without any more pictures. Somewhere in southern Maine I sat down for a break on a convenient rock, looked down and found a pretty nice $100ish point-and-shoot. I finished the roll of film that was in it, bought more in town and used it the rest of the hike to Katahdin. When I got home and processed the film that was in the camera, the pics were of a couple with 2 little kids who had been out hiking and camping. I sent a couple copies to the Bangor and Portland newspapers and they printed little stories with the pics to try to track down the owners. Someone called in and said they looked like a family that was at a Maine summer camp for a week that year. A little more research and we came up with their names, and a lead that they may be from the Atlanta area. In one of the pics the little kid is wearing a t-shirt that said Turtle Creek Little League (or something like that, this was 15 years ago). My brother happened to live in Atlanta at the time and he confirmed that there was a neighborhood called Turtle Creek. I called information and got a phone #. I called and when he answered I said "did you happen to lose a camera on the Appalachian Trail in Maine this summer?" Needless to say they were astonished. I sent them their camera and photos and they sent me a copy of Thoreau's "The Maine Woods". They said the photos were more valuable to them than the camera.

Marta
11-26-2007, 09:53
Oh, yeah...

I was alone at Eagles Nest Shelter during a monster thunderstorm. My lighter died on me. (It was electronic and started sparking my thumb instead of lighting.) I had used up all my matches and forgotten to get more. In the box with the hiker register I found...a book of matches. That may have been my best find.

Tipi Walter
11-26-2007, 09:57
Oh, yeah...

I was alone at Eagles Nest Shelter during a monster thunderstorm. My lighter died on me. (It was electronic and started sparking my thumb instead of lighting.) I had used up all my matches and forgotten to get more. In the box with the hiker register I found...a book of matches. That may have been my best find.

Yeah, not having a lighter can be a problem . . . I pack two Bics just in case. I know, I know, carry steel and flint, learn to use a bow drill, Bics get wet and won't work, etc etc . . .

MOWGLI
11-26-2007, 10:00
Marta's post reminds me... I had sent my winter gear home in Pearisburg and was trying to make a go with a fleece blanket. I was freezing my tail off in the first shelter north of McAfee Knob. Wearing every stitch of clothing I had with me, I was dreaming that I was in a hotel and called room service for extra blankets. When the knock came at the door (in the dream), I awoke, and suddenly remembered that there was a cotton sleeping bag discarded in the corner of the shelter. I got up, examined it, and laid it atop my fleece sleeping bag. No more shivering! Restful sleep! I bought a 30 degree bag a few days later.

Lone Wolf
11-26-2007, 10:00
i still use smoke signals instead of a cell phone on the trail

dessertrat
11-26-2007, 10:06
I can tell you that I lost something, and have the name and address of the guy who found it, but decided to let him keep his find: in Maine, just east of Monson, I lost a maroon Columbia fleece jacket, which had been tied to my pack but came loose. I found an entry in a shelter log saying it had been found, and giving the guy's contact info, but it was a $20 thing, so why bother. He kept his cool find. I don't care.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
11-26-2007, 10:24
i still use smoke signals instead of a cell phone on the trailCell phones leave no trace while smoke signals require a fire which leaves a trace :D
::: Dino runs to find good place to hde :::

Lone Wolf
11-26-2007, 10:26
fires are great for a forest. cell towers leave lots of ugly trace. plus birds die hitting them

Frolicking Dinosaurs
11-26-2007, 10:38
::: Dino sends smoke signal from hidden location: I see your point, LW :::

Blissful
11-26-2007, 10:45
Have to tell this one.
Paul Bunyan lost his pant legs and his rain jacket on Big Bald in the wind. We were at No Business shelter eating lunch the next day and a hiker came in with the rain jacket tied to his pack and asked if it was ours.
We then came down the hill to Erwin and on the ground was a little note - another hiker had picked up his pantlegs and they were at Uncle Johnny's.

(BTW - the pantlegs are now somewhere on the trail to Baxter Peak)

peakbagger
11-26-2007, 18:26
Hiking through the last day or so of the 100 mile wilderness northbound, I ran into a bag of gear abandoned by a south bounder who quit the trail (we had met his buddies the night before and they told us to grab what we wanted). In the bag was a large sized MSR bottle full of fuel. I threw it in the pack and figured I could give it to a local youth group when I got home. That afternoon I arrived at Hurd Brook shelter and there was a very disappointed southbounder sitting out front with his pack emptied out and all his gear spread out. As I got closer I detected the aroma of Coleman fuel. Turns out his fuel bottle had leaked all over his pack and he had no fuel for his hike. I very quickly pulled out my recently acquired new bottle and handed it to him.

I thought that was a great item to find and an even better thing to give!

(The funny thing was, I offered to take his old fuel bottle out with me after it had leaked all over his pack and he insisted on keeping it )

hopefulhiker
11-26-2007, 18:31
I found a Patagonia T Shirt that was abandoned in the Smokeys during a snow storm. I washed it several times and ended up wearing it for much of my remaining hike....

Tankerhoosen
11-26-2007, 19:09
Best thing I found, or got for free while hiking was a pair of running shoes in LaJunta, CO. They were found in a lost and found box in the Koshare Indian Kiva, a Scout facility. This was the first time I used running shoes in place of boots. Hiked many miles in those, didn't replace them until Damascus where I bought a new pair of cheap runners. This was back in 1980, ahead of there time for backpacking. They replaced a pair of Vasque Hiker II's - HEAVY, STIFF hiking boots.

Lajunta!!! The Kiva!!! I stayed there once on my way to Philmont Scout Reservation in New Mexico, they had a cool little movie theater in town that the Kiva staff got us into for free. Ahh memories.

And my most odd find was a 9mm handgun while fishing at the Mansfield Hollow Resevoir in CT, definately called the cops and didnt touch it. With the close proximity to Willimantic I highly doubted someone just dropped it.

earthbound
11-26-2007, 23:01
I found a clean, dry 20 degree sleeping bag in a compression sack while leading a canoe trip in northern wisconsin. I 'packed it out' as an example of leave no trace. and kept it. :)

Tennessee Viking
11-27-2007, 01:25
My father found a very high end GPS on the Creeper Trail outside of Damascus.

The real owner was able to call my dad up a week later, by tracking it off the internet. Google my address and called him.

Tennessee Viking
11-27-2007, 01:27
If anyone goes up to Unaka Overlook, I dropped my camera pouch some where around the parking area. Only lost the pouch and a spare pair of batteries.

Then I hit the ditch on the way out, and lost a wheelcover.

Summit
11-27-2007, 07:50
On my very first backpacking trip, using all borrowed equipment (wanted to try backpacking before investing), I had dilligently packed matches in a film case (why I didn't think of a lighter is beyond me!). So first night I get to camp, break out the Coleman gas stove (we're talking 1973 folks!) and get the matches to light it. I try striking a match on several different surfaces. Turns out these matches require a "striker." All my dinners were Mountain House. I frantically go down to the old (non-exisitent today) Plumorchard Gap shelter and lo and behold in the back of the shelter is a soggy book of matches with a striker. The matches were worthlessly wet. The striker was priceless!!! :)

Summit
11-27-2007, 07:56
i still use smoke signals instead of a cell phone on the trailI get shuttle pickups while you get . . . what . . . smoke inhallation? :D :p

superman
11-27-2007, 08:21
I lost one red leki pole on the CDT at about 10,000 feet in the Gila National Forest. There were so many blow downs that I had put my sticks in the back of my pack.
I found a leatherman when I got near the bottom of the same mountain.
I lost my mind in the heat of the PCT near Mojave.:rolleyes:

Summit
11-27-2007, 09:55
I lost my mind in the heat of the PCT near Mojave.:rolleyes:Might be the one I found. Where would you like me to send it? :D :p

TN_Hiker
11-27-2007, 11:13
Hiking in the Smokies, stopped on a bald for lunch with several dozen chipmunks running around. One of the chipmunks had a little leather pouch in it's mouth. When I moved towards the chipmunk it dropped the pouch....inside neatly folded up was 3 - $20 bills. Another time on a 5 day canoe trip in WV, looked down in the water, saw something shiny, jumped in and retreived 11 cans of Black Label beer. The cans were faded and silt had settled on the top, probably been there for years. Even had the old style pull off tabs. But on the bottom of the river it had remained cold.......they tasted great that evening around the campfire.

Bare Bear
11-27-2007, 20:21
Shufflefoot is my witness. I had a dream I found a gold coin in the trail.......the next day Shufflefoot and I were walking back out of Damascus and I found in the dirt a gold ring with a coin as the center 'stone'...freaky yes?
I have also found a nice clean folded fleece and a pair of boots sititng on a rock (left the boots), a brand new cookset left at a shelter that I carried 24 miles to Neels Gap only to find the owner had just bought a replacement one a half hour before and had already hiked on............so I sent the found one home. Mostly the shelter castoffs were trash that I learned you can't pack out if you are thru hiking as it is an endless task.

MOWGLI
11-27-2007, 20:27
Hiking in the Smokies, stopped on a bald for lunch with several dozen chipmunks running around. One of the chipmunks had a little leather pouch in it's mouth. When I moved towards the chipmunk it dropped the pouch....inside neatly folded up was 3 - $20 bills.

That's my favorite, right there!

Nightwalker
11-27-2007, 23:49
I see your point, LW :::

Don't encourage him. :)

Nightwalker
11-27-2007, 23:53
I find peace of mind almost every time I go out.

I've found some other cool things as well, but that's my favorite.

Tin Man
11-28-2007, 00:04
I find peace of mind almost every time I go out.

I've found some other cool things as well, but that's my favorite.

Peace? What's that? When I am not out with the boy scouts, some uppity private school youth group seems to find me. Maybe it will get better when I reach Maine.

envirodiver
11-29-2007, 13:20
My most unusual find was on top of Cold Mountain. We found a bunch of gear scattered on the ground around a partially burned/melted tent.

Using all of the detective skills that I have learned from CSI ad naseum I found a couple of empty 750 ml liquor bottles in the gear scattered around the tent.

Ah ha I found a causal link to the above mentioned fire. Piecing it together I deduced, lots of liquor, cold temperature, light stove or candle in tent, flare-up or knocked over stove/candle (whoops), burned tent, burned hiker, pack-up very quickly, get to Dr./Hospital, hell with gear/backpacking. We did go through the gear and picked out a few pieces. Then reported the find to the Rangers as we left, just in case there was a serious injury.

Next I shall work on my 007 stealth techniques.

The Solemates
11-29-2007, 15:50
i used to hike in north georgia along the AT every year after the main nobo season to pick things up, although its been several years since ive done that. here are some of the things ive gotten:

-numerous nalgenes
-fleece pullovers
-water filters
-stove fuel containers
-bandanas
-books
-knives
-other misc junk.

Press
11-30-2007, 00:01
A very cool, perfect condition, swirly clear 1960s Pepsi bottle slightly off the trail, full of dirt and moss.

Also a bizarre, round, spiky thing growing on a sapling, which I bent down, and the tip snapped off, so I kept the round thing. It's something organic, nothing has hatched out of it yet, it's about the size of a tennis ball covered with sharp spikes/prickers. Any idea?

Skidsteer
11-30-2007, 00:22
.Also a bizarre, round, spiky thing growing on a sapling, which I bent down, and the tip snapped off, so I kept the round thing. It's something organic, nothing has hatched out of it yet, it's about the size of a tennis ball covered with sharp spikes/prickers. Any idea?

Umm, you will be assimilated?

Sounds like a very large Sweet Gum pod.

Marta
11-30-2007, 07:27
There are some insects and spiders that make egg cases that are round and spikey. Tennis-ball-sized is unusually large, for sure. Can you post a picture?

Cyclops
11-30-2007, 11:02
A working cell phone on a roadwalk on the Colorado Trail (this I left behind). Also, a cool and kind of girly looking light blue knit hat found on the Trail in Georgia. Again on the Colorado Trail near Silverton an orange baseball cap with "Grateful Dead Trucking Co." emblazoned upon it (this became my hat for the rest of that hike). Hiking in the Guadalupe Mountains, an army surplus canteen with some water still in it (water I didn't have to schlep with me, woohoo!). A Snowpeak titanium spork in a shelter in the Smokies - that was a good one. Lots of tent stakes, including the MSR Groundhog red ones that we sell at work for $1.95 each, yay! Another baseball cap just before Newfound Gap in the Smokies, this one with "Appalachian Trail Volunteer " on it. And then there are the found objects that I have a pretty good idea to whom they belong, like the zip-off legs for a pair of nylon convertible pants that I carried for longer than I care to remember on the trail before abandoning them in a hiker box somewhere. There was also the soaking wet, smoke-smelling red Under Armour t-shirt whose thru-hiker owner was quite pleased to be reunited with, and the pair of Darn Tough wool socks whose owner I never did catch up with on the Long Trail this summer (great socks, after a few washings :). There are more, like the stack of paperback novels of a decidedly adult nature (Yes, I left these behind, in case you were wondering :) carefully rubberbanded together, but these were some of the memorable ones.

jtbradyl
12-14-2007, 23:08
I found a pot of gold but in the ensuing struggle with the impudent owner lost my footing and he got away with the goods. Dressed all in green too, and hard to spot in the forest. By gosh I'm still looking for him and I'll hold on next time!

Press
12-14-2007, 23:44
Here's a pic. I don't think it is a sweet gum pod, I've seen those. This is now a year-plus old but hasn't changed appearance ... any ideas?

Skidsteer
12-14-2007, 23:47
Here's a pic. I don't think it is a sweet gum pod, I've seen those. This is now a year-plus old but hasn't changed appearance ... any ideas?

Looks like a tribble to me.

Montego
12-14-2007, 23:53
Looks like a tribble to me.

Thought Spock took care of all those :confused: :D

Press
12-15-2007, 00:01
maybe I'll just cut it open and see what crawls out.

Marta
12-15-2007, 05:50
Here's a pic. I don't think it is a sweet gum pod, I've seen those. This is now a year-plus old but hasn't changed appearance ... any ideas?

Chestnut. Some of the American chestnuts get large enough to produce nuts before the blight gets them. I have often found the hulls along the Trail, but have never yet found an intact nut. (They are premium animal food. There was famine in the forest as the American chestnuts died.) If that's an American chestnut, you have a treasure.

Downunda
12-15-2007, 07:37
In 2002 I was hiking merrily along the AT when I spotted a pair of portable radio ear-buds hanging about head height from a bush on the trail.

Weird stuff as my own radio's ear-buds had only been working on one ear for a few days until the other one failed just the day before I came across those hanging off the bush.

Is that Karma or what?

the_iceman
12-15-2007, 09:57
I found some of the best people I have ever known on the trail.

NorthCountryWoods
12-15-2007, 10:31
Not on the trail but....

Woke up one morning on a Yukon canoe trip, walked to the river with a cup of coffee and a flask came floating down river and beached at my feet. Of course a higher power was telling me something, so I picked it up, unscrewed and threw a shot in my coffee. It had "Adrianna" engraved on it.

Just as we were about to shove off an hour later a couple of wet canoeists came floating by, they had just dumped up river and were looking for a spot to dry out and warm up. We handed off our campsite with the fire still going. I got them some more drift wood and made sure they were gonna be ok. They were concerned but said they were fine. Was about to leave when I remembered the flask and asked if the girl was "Adrianna". She said she was and I handed it over.

Turned out there was a compartment on the bottom with her wedding ring in it. :eek:

archy
12-15-2007, 10:44
I found a brand new pair of Oakley Sunglasses. The guy that dropped them had made a nasty comment about my two dogs. At the trail head I looked for the guy. I could not find him so I kept the glasses. I laugh about it every time I wear them.

Brushy Sage
12-18-2007, 17:42
Somewhere on the NC portion of the trail -- I stopped for a rest, and leaned back against a fallen tree, and looked down, and saw two fresh M&Ms in the dirt. They were delicious.

jzakhar
12-18-2007, 17:51
Here's a pic. I don't think it is a sweet gum pod, I've seen those. This is now a year-plus old but hasn't changed appearance ... any ideas?

Could be Datura, dont eat it :)

turtle fast
03-10-2008, 02:59
I was hiking on the Ice Age Trail and was climbing up a morraine and stepped on something that popped up a little and caught my eye....I looked down and it was a Swiss Army knife that had its main knife blade open RIGHT ON THE TRAILWAY! From the looks of the thing it was quite rusted and probably been there for a few seasons, yet this section of trail was often hiked!!! I had to pull part of it out of the ground and I am suprised that no one stepped on the thing wrong or a trail runner could of impaled his foot!!! I coulden't believe it...it was so rusted that I coulden't close the thing so I put it in an empty nalgenr bottle I had and trashed it when I got home.

fiddlehead
03-10-2008, 03:44
I've found quite a few things including a full 50 metre climbing rope, cameras, sunglasses, lots of tent stakes, tents, beer, coolers, food, blah blah
But one interesting thing i found last year up near Hawk Mtn on the AT in PA, was one of those testers to see if there is wireless internet available. We had to be at least 2 miles from a road. I still use the thing. works great.

Crazy Larry #1
03-10-2008, 06:43
Best thing, or place I ever found on the trail was Damascus!!!!

earlyriser26
03-10-2008, 08:51
Back in the 70's I found a good size package of a certain item left on the floor of Ice water shelter in the Smokies. It quickly went up in smoke as the occupants of the shelter experienced some trail magic....

max patch
03-10-2008, 08:57
I found a $20 bill laying on the ground in PA.

I never play the lottery, but when I resupplied in Stratton I took my $1 change and bought a scratch off lottery ticket. Won $50.

climberdave
03-10-2008, 10:05
On the AT my contact popped out and I was out of h2o and very grubby. Standing with contact in hand I looked to my right and hanging on a tree branch was a full canteen of h2o!! I just reached over grabbed it, cleaned my contact, added some h2o to my bottle and put it back.

Another is on Mt Rodgers in winter when my gloves blew away. I was wearing socks on my hands until I found a pair of fleece gloves while hiking up to the summit trail.

SunnyWalker
05-16-2008, 23:31
Wow, after reading this I think when i start my NOBO thru hike I will wait for the initial wave to start and come behind them!

superman
05-17-2008, 00:20
I lost one of my hiking sticks in the GilaNational Forest on the CDT. I had put both my sticks in the back of my pack as I went through a maze of blow downs. A day or two latter we were approaching the trailhead and I looked down and found one of those small plier thingies in good condition.

bigmac_in
05-17-2008, 08:15
I found a hand-held GPS in Georgia - mentioned it in my first post here on Whiteblaze.

dessertrat
05-17-2008, 11:18
I lost one of my hiking sticks in the GilaNational Forest on the CDT. I had put both my sticks in the back of my pack as I went through a maze of blow downs. A day or two latter we were approaching the trailhead and I looked down and found one of those small plier thingies in good condition.

You must have lost your memory too, Superman, since you already told us about this a couple of pages back!:)