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XCskiNYC
09-14-2009, 21:25
I'm not going to count rides though those are very much appreciated. You don't really get those while on the trail.

So mine would be 07 Sept 09, circa 1500 hrs., approaching crest of West Mtn outside of Pawling, NY. Came upon a dozen bottles of Poland Spring, still cold. Interesingly, my Canadian trail comrades at Tel Pioneers had found the same bottles but had not thought it up for grabs (they might have not been aware of Trail Magic). After a whole day of iodinized water from the Morgan-Stewart well, this Straight from Maine water tasted very very sweet.:sun

Thank you Trail Angel

Doctari
09-14-2009, 21:57
March 19th, 1995. On my very first long distance hike, in the Middle of the AT treadway, somewhere in Georgia, was a Jar of Peanut butter with a note "Trail Magic, enjoy" on it. It was BEAUTIFUL. I took a taste, & was happy.

Tinker
09-14-2009, 22:19
I'm not going to count rides though those are very much appreciated. You don't really get those while on the trail.

So mine would be 07 Sept 09, circa 1500 hrs., approaching crest of West Mtn outside of Pawling, NY. Came upon a dozen bottles of Poland Spring, still cold. Interesingly, my Canadian trail comrades at Tel Pioneers had found the same bottles but had not thought it up for grabs (they might have not been aware of Trail Magic). After a whole day of iodinized water from the Morgan-Stewart well, this Straight from Maine water tasted very very sweet.:sun

Thank you Trail Angel


Might have been Sasquatch (2014). He maintains that section (with others, I imagine).

Hikerhead
09-14-2009, 22:27
Probably 15 years ago, two dogs (Rocky and Rambo) followed us off of Tinker Mtn down to Rt 220. I called the owner (dog tags) and he came and retrieved them and gave us 30 dollars to buy dinner with. I first said no but he insisted and besides, he owns Tinker Mtn so he had plenty of green. I guess I can stop yelling for them dogs now, they're probably not around any more.

emerald
09-14-2009, 22:40
Congratulations! Post #4 is the 1st instance of trail magic reported. The rest was just littering.

Hikerhead
09-14-2009, 22:48
Congratulations! Post #4 is the 1st instance of trail magic reported. The rest was just littering.

WOW!!!! What did I win!?

dreamsoftrails
09-14-2009, 22:53
Geek, March 2008, providing milwaukees best to the weary at cooper gap.

emerald
09-14-2009, 23:22
WOW!!!! What did I win!?

You should win something for your reply. It's unfortunate, but some fail to understand the concept.

If I can find it, I'll link an instance of magic I read about today.

emerald
09-14-2009, 23:40
Geek, March 2008, providing milwaukees best to the weary at cooper gap.

Just a hiker feed or in your instance beverages. I'm sure they were appreciated, but it's commonplace and there is little magical about it, but then I wasn't a party to the exchange.

An unexpected gift of food or drink is what most seem associate with trail magic, although in some cases hikers come to expect favors they seem to believe they have earned through their hiking. It's easy to talk about food or drink provided, but I suspect in nearly all cases there is more going on at the time. That's the magical aspect of the experience if any and what is uplifting about it. People don't tend to talk about that part, maybe because it's not as easily put into words.

It might also be more helpful to post about one's best as opposed to one's first experience, both as a giver and a receiver and how it affected both parties as well as the Appalachian Trail.

Graywolf
09-14-2009, 23:54
In 2001, I was coming home and stopped at a rest area in Conneticut and saw a thru hiker resting. He was worried he wasn't going to make resupply in time. I said I wished I could help him in some way but was broke.

Later, I bet he was surprised when he found the $20 my girlfriend stuffed in his pack with out him seeing.

emerald
09-15-2009, 00:10
If I can find it, I'll link an instance of magic I read about today.

http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=156637

When Paul Bunyan stepped onto Hawk Mountain Road in 2007 at the exact same time I pulled up to the A.T. crossing in my truck, it seemed more than a remarkable coincidence. While I'd hoped to speak with him briefly before he departed Berks County, never did I expect him to emerge from the forest at the precise moment I arrived at the A.T. crossing. Something like that isn't planned at least not the timing with which it occurred.

Real magic suggests synchronicity or at least involves serendipity and fortuitous, mutually beneficial meetings. Fortune favors those in motion, who are receptive to it and even seeking it.

emerald
09-15-2009, 00:17
For everyone who gives, there is another who receives. If a gift is unwanted or not well received, neither party benefits to the fullest extent possible. Instances of real magic lift both the giver and receiver and the A.T. is bettered by them.

emerald
09-15-2009, 00:39
There have been posted on this website numerous examples of trail magic in the good sense of the word. Two in particular come to mind, one involving Lone Wolf who provided a Long Trail End-to-Ender an unexpected ride to Burlington and another involving MinnesotaSmith also in Vermont.

Someone who recalls these posts might find and link them. They serve to illustrate what I have tried to convey.

emerald
09-15-2009, 00:52
ATC's Trail Magic (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/site/c.mqLTIYOwGlF/b.4806037/k.903F/Trail_Magic.htm) explains the origin, expansion and sometimes unintended consequences of trail magic. Their Suggestions for Providing Trail Magic (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/atf/cf/%7BD25B4747-42A3-4302-8D48-EF35C0B0D9F1%7D/Trail%20Magic%20Suggestions8-3-07.pdf) linked to their TM page provides information about preferred methods for TM enthusiasts.

The three "only" things: tapping the power of dreams, coincidence and imagination by Robert Moss is a book someone gave to me about how to make the most of chance meetings and thoughts which occur every day.

Both are better starting points for people who want to explore the concept further. Studying and discussing them could lead to a greater understanding of the possiblilties thereby improving trail magic and posts about it here.

The best trail magic is personalized just as are gifts.

I'm finished. As you were.

XCskiNYC
09-15-2009, 13:27
March 19th, 1995. On my very first long distance hike, in the Middle of the AT treadway, somewhere in Georgia, was a Jar of Peanut butter with a note "Trail Magic, enjoy" on it. It was BEAUTIFUL. I took a taste, & was happy.

Peanut butter makes me happy too.

Key Food Creamy ("Quality Guaranteed").

Tested on the AT. Keeps hikers warm all nite long ( 200 calories in a 2 tbsp serving, 140 from good old fett).

Manwich
09-15-2009, 13:31
Cooler in the woods up in Vermont. 12 empty coke cans. :-/

flemdawg1
09-15-2009, 13:32
Peanut butter makes me happy too.

Key Food Creamy ("Quality Guaranteed").

Tested on the AT. Keeps hikers warm all nite long ( 200 calories in a 2 tbsp serving, 140 from good old fett).

Boba or Jango? :p

emerald
09-15-2009, 13:34
As you were.

As always.

warraghiyagey
09-15-2009, 13:37
Ther Two in particular come to mind, one involving Lone Wolf who provided a Long Trail End-to-Ender an unexpected ride to Burlington and another involving MinnesotaSmith also in Vermont.


Yup, those two are like peas in a pod. . .

sbbtool
09-15-2009, 14:55
Last week I was in the Smokies for 5 days. I had intended to bring some kind of warm hat but just forgot. The first night was really cold and I had a crappy sleeping bag. I barely slept and all I could think was "wish I had a hat." The next morning after hiking about 2 miles from the shelter I found a stocking hat hanging on a branch near the trail. I kept it on for the next 4 days.

Kerosene
09-15-2009, 15:23
The first time was 2 days into my first AT section hike (DWG to Unionville), April 7, 1973. We walked down to the Boy Scout reservation north of DWG (Mohican Center now?) and asked if we could use the phone to call home to let our parents know that we had survived our first night in the woods (without tents!!!).

My most memorable was probably June 9, 1979, when my future wife and I were 9 days into our hike from Duncannon to Harpers Ferry. It was really hot outside, and we sat by the side of a road south of Raccoon Run LT. A lady in a truck waved as she drove by. On her return 20 minutes later, she dropped off an ice-cold can of Pepsi. Never has a soda tasted so good!

The most generous was on June 7, 2007 at The Scales, just north of Grayson Highlands. A raccoon raided my food drop, and I as I walked along I was debating on how I'd be able to resupply so I could keep walking to Duncannon. As I started across The Scales fenced in area, Jolly Green and Ping waved me down and started a conversation. I told them of my quandary, whereupon they both started to shower me with their "extra" food. Great folks!

dreamsoftrails
09-15-2009, 15:31
Just a hiker feed or in your instance drinks. I'm sure the drinks were appreciated, but it's commonplace and there is little magical about it, but then I wasn't a party to the exchange.

An unexpected gift of food or drink is what most seem associate with trail magic, although in some cases hikers come to expect favors they seem to believe they have earned through their hiking. It's easy to talk about food or drink provided, but I suspect in nearly all cases there is more going on at the time. That's the magical portion of the experience if any and what is uplifting about it. People don't tend to talk about that part, maybe because it's not as easily put into words.

It might also be more helpful to post about one's best as opposed to one's first experience, both as a giver and a receiver and how it affected both parties.

my first trail magic was at cooper gap, geek was handing out milwaukee's best. still confused?

emerald
09-15-2009, 15:45
What people make such a fuss about is experienced every day off-trail and increasingly on it to the point it's become devalued.

Sometimes I score lunchroom "magic" when the vending machines where I work are filled. The person servicing the machines often gives away items with an expiration date soon to be reached.

It's happened so often, it isn't a big deal anymore. In fact, some of my coworkers are disappointed when it doesn't occur and bust the vendor's chops about it.

I've wondered why he bothers and how much longer he will continue the practice. Because I don't want to appear ungrateful, I accept with gratitude whatever he offers even when it doesn't really appeal to me. When that happens, I regift it to someone who will enjoy it more than me. Maybe next time I'll be hungry or get something more interesting.

He'd do more to donate what he gives us to the local food bank. We can all afford to purchase what we do want ourselves.

Lone Wolf
09-15-2009, 15:48
my first trail magic was at cooper gap, geek was handing out milwaukee's best. still confused?

that ain't magic. it was just a dude giving you a beer. did he pull it out of a hat?

sbhikes
09-15-2009, 17:56
My favorite kind of trail magic is the real kind, where you didn't expect it and the person giving it didn't expect it either. Or the kind where there isn't another person on the giving end at all, as if the trail itself is producing the magic.

Some magic I've experienced:
- Was thinking of my pets at home on the trail. Spoke out loud to one of them. Heard later that my pet had been freaking out that day making all the sounds she makes when I'm walking up the steps. It was so loud that my boyfriend went into the house to see if I'd come home.
- Needed sunglasses, found some in a tree
- Wanted a cap, found one, whipped it out to show another hiker a day later, and it was his lost hat! I got to be the magic on that one.
- Started to walk a very lonely road 22 miles to town. Thought wouldn't it be nice if Chuck and Tigger came by. And then here comes their van to give me a ride!
- Needed a ride so I stuck out my thumb. An older couple, the type you know is scared to death of hitchhikers drives by. I said to myself they will turn around and come get me and they did, telling me profusely how they NEVER do this but something compelled them to turn around and pick me up.
- The guide book made no sense so I decided to go cross-country. I emerged on a road across from a long line of firefighters waiting to get into a building. I went to investigate. They were waiting inline for an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. A surprise all-you-can-eat buffet? That's magic!
- The Stehekin Bakery. Need I say more?

dreamsoftrails
09-15-2009, 18:35
that ain't magic. it was just a dude giving you a beer. did he pull it out of a hat?
no, but his hat was near a cooler. how did you know?

dreamsoftrails
09-15-2009, 18:36
There is no confusion. What people make such a fuss about is experienced every day off-trail.

Sometimes I score lunchroom magic when the vending machines are filled. The person servicing the machines often gives away items with an expiration date to be reached in a day or two.

It's happened so often, it's not a big deal anymore. In fact, some of my coworkers are disappointed when it doesn't occur and bust the vendor's chops about it.

I wonder how much longer he will continue the practice and am careful to express gratitude even when I don't want what he gives me. When that happens, I create magic by giving the item to someone who will enjoy it more than I would. Maybe next time I'll be hungry or I'll get something more interesting.:)
gnarly brah. i thought we were talking trail magic though?

mudcap
09-15-2009, 18:42
gnarly brah. i thought we were talking trail magic though?
You tell em! :D Damn negative people.:rolleyes:

emerald
09-15-2009, 18:47
Obviously you don't understand the concept of analogy. My point is you experienced nothing special unless you'd never met Jim before or benefited from meeting him in some way beyond the cold beer he provided. If it was only about beer, it wasn't about much.

Would you care to add something to the discussion or are you just interested in boosting your post count and giving the appearance of maintaining a dialogue with me? If so, it's about to end. I intend to spend the rest of my evening generating some cash flow.

mudcap
09-15-2009, 19:28
Obviously you don't understand the concept of analogy. My point is what you experienced is nothing special unless you'd never met Jim before and benefited from meeting him beyond the cold beer he provided. If it was only about the beer, it wasn't about much.

Would you care to say anything that adds to the discussion or are you just interested in boosting your post count and giving the appearance of maintaining a dialogue with me? If so, it's about to end. I intend to spend the rest of my night doing something that generates cash flow.

Like I said,damn negative people! :rolleyes:

Blissful
09-15-2009, 19:48
My first was my dear hubby who surprised us at Hog Pen Gap in '07 with food and soda for those hiking that day. All of them remembered it fondly too from that day on as it was their first also. I am still on contact with several of the hikers to this day because of it.

Feral Bill
09-15-2009, 20:15
Early 1970s. I was hiking from Bear Nountain SP north and passed a trailside house near Pawling. An older woman there invited me to camp in the yard, let me take a shower, and fed me a great meal of corned beef and cabbage. Better still, she told me about hosting Grandma Gatewood on her hikes. I'll never forget.

saimyoji
09-15-2009, 21:25
Like I said,damn negative people! :rolleyes:

black magic.....

http://pismovies.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/big_trouble_in_little_china_xl_01-film-a.jpeg

mudcap
09-15-2009, 21:37
Early 1970s. I was hiking from Bear Nountain SP north and passed a trailside house near Pawling. An older woman there invited me to camp in the yard, let me take a shower, and fed me a great meal of corned beef and cabbage. Better still, she told me about hosting Grandma Gatewood on her hikes. I'll never forget.

Now that is cool! Great karma right there. I have had a ton of experiences like that. Many were during the late 70s/early 80s. My favorite was a 600 mile ride from the trail to my door while hitch-hiking. I had 8 bucks to my name and 8 oranges in my pack. Gave the driver all my money,he threw it out the window when he dropped me off.:D He said I will need it to get back on my feet. He was a truck driver heading home in a VW bug,what a crazy trip. He lived on Robin eggs and beer,I was living on fear!:D

dreamsoftrails
09-16-2009, 10:32
Obviously you don't understand the concept of analogy. My point is you experienced nothing special unless you'd never met Jim before or benefited from meeting him in some way beyond the cold beer he provided. If it was only about beer, it wasn't about much.
i never met him before, and i benefited from meeting him. what does you matter to you what criteria i set as to how benefit occurred and what was 'special'? you realize you are attempting to define to me what is special and what is not, don't you? justify that quickly and concisely, please.


Would you care to add something to the discussion or are you just interested in boosting your post count and giving the appearance of maintaining a dialogue with me? If so, it's about to end. I intend to spend the rest of my evening generating some cash flow.
so in other words, doing nothing special? :) if its about money, its not special.

ShelterLeopard
09-16-2009, 13:21
I'd have to say, this past summer in June, when I was solo hiking SoBo from Delaware Water Gap to just past Palmerton. I (being the brilliant person that I am) was hiking with twenty year old trails maps (really smart, I know), and I was doing a 15 mile day into Lehigh Gap/ Palmerton. I thought I was, anyway. Turned out to be about 19 because of a relocation, and the relocation skipped out on a stream I was really counting on, so for the last seven or so miles, I had a quarter of a nalgene of water. (I met a couple NoBos who had counted on the stream too, and looked almost as bad as I felt).
continued below

ShelterLeopard
09-16-2009, 13:23
Anyway, as I beginning that really rocky descent into Lehigh Gap (you know the one I mean- really steep and really rocky), I a dayhiker and his ten year old daughter were exploring, and he sawme having a hard time, and asked if I was dehydrated, and I said yes, and that I was going to have to take the descent really slowly.

He just gave me all of his water and said he'd just share with his daughter, and told me that I could wait by his car and he'd give me a ride into town because it is a terrible place to walk. So I waited and he did, and I left my hiking pole in his car, and an hour later, he drove all the way back to give it to me! Now is that magic, or what? The day would have been so much worse if he hadn't helped me out. (I was so dehydrated)

emerald
09-16-2009, 18:56
I never met Jim before and I benefited from meeting him.

Maybe we're finally beginning to get some traction.


What does it you matter to you what criteria I set as to how benefit occurred and what's 'special'? You realize you're attempting to define what's special and what's not, don't you?

I didn't indicate what you ought to value although I could. I wanted you to indicate what you do value and how the experience affected you. As for defining special, Webster's definition works for me.

As I strongly suspected, your experience wasn't primarily about beer. It was indeed about something more substantive although you still haven't really told us why it was a memorable experience and it's not obvious.

Did Jim offer encouragement or advice that served to inspire, influence or perhaps guide you?

Jester2000
09-16-2009, 19:02
The best trail magic I got (which started at the beginning and continued throughout) was that no one tried to tell me what was and wasn't trail magic, what was valuable about it and what wasn't, what others should or shouldn't do in regards to it, or what defined "good" or "bad" versions of it.

The only bad kind was the kind you missed, particularly if you had to hear others go on and on about it.

rickb
09-16-2009, 19:15
Hard to forget some firsts.

For me it happened when a Ranger at Roaring Brook Campground gave me a hiking stick as I headed out for Katahdin.

The stick saved my butt more than a few times and made it to GA.

sharky
09-16-2009, 19:58
In the spring of 2003 while I was hiking southbound from Sky Meadows to Harpers Ferry. There was a cold six pack of ginger ale not far from David Lesser Shelter. My friend's dad who is a military pathologist said, "I bet theres urine in those bottles." We drank them anyway and they were amazing.

In retrospect I realize that we may have spoiled trail magic for other thru hikers we met that same night at the shelter. We brought the other two bottles for the other thru hikers that were there. Wish I hadn't been so ignorant at 17.

Lemni Skate
09-16-2009, 20:26
While doing my first multi-night section hike last spring (Harpers Ferry to Humpback Rock) I was about to pop out at Swift Run Gap and head back up to Hightop hut for the night.

I was about out of food (down to the stuff that seemed good when I bought it, but that I found I had no appetite for on the trail) and I saw this cooler and pile of all kinds of food beside the trail. There was a sign that said, "Trail Magic for Thru Hikers."

Dejected since I was just a section hiker I plodded another 40 yards to the Skyline Drive where I ran into a thru-hiker who'd just returned from town and who brought all the trail magic. He was waiting there to clean up after it was all taken, but had put the stuff in the woods so it wouldn't turn into a big tadoo. He assured me that he meant for the stuff to be for any hiker, not just thru hikers and encouraged me to take what I wanted. It was the best banana, mixed nuts, candy bars, Little Debbies, etc. Plus there was beer and soda. I took a soda and carried two beers up to the shelter. I didn't need to cook that night and spent a great evening shooting the ***** with the thru-hikers and had my best night's sleep ever on the trail in my tent. It is still one of my best memories. I don't know if I enjoyed the unexpected treats or talking to Glider (I think that was his trail name) more. I only wish I had taken a picture of him.

Hikes with a stick
09-16-2009, 21:44
A few years ago I did a section hike with some friends, Hughes gap to 19E. Well, I had printed off a mile by mile description of where all the campsites and water sources were, and was planning on using that during the hike. But I left it in the car, and had no other map, and neither did anyone else in our group.

As we arrived at Carver's Gap, there was a couple that was just finishing their day hike, and I saw them looking at their map. I asked them some questions about it, and they ended up giving it to us. Made the rest of our trip to 19E a little more relaxed...

saimyoji
09-16-2009, 21:58
i haven't had a first time yet. does it hurt?

ShelterLeopard
09-16-2009, 21:59
What people make such a fuss about is experienced every day off-trail and increasingly on it to the point it's become devalued.

Sometimes I score lunchroom "magic" when the vending machines are filled. The person servicing the machines often gives away items with an expiration date soon to be reached.

It's happened so often, it's not a big deal anymore. In fact, some of my coworkers are disappointed when it doesn't occur and bust the vendor's chops about it.

I've wondered why he bothers and how much longer he will continue the practice. Because I don't want to appear ungrateful, I accept with gratitude whatever he offers even when it doesn't really appeal to me. When that happens, I regift it to someone who will enjoy it more than me. Maybe next time I'll be hungry or get something more interesting.

He'd do more to donate what he gives us to the local food bank. We can all afford to purchase what we do want ourselves.

Maybe you don't appreciate it, but I know a lot of hikers who do, and who are so appreciative of peopke doing small things like that. Sure maybe some people take it for granted, but most hikers I've bumped into don't. (Seriously, I've been in shelter with people who go on for an hour about some trail magic they encountered that day, and how it brightened up a really frustrating section for them, and how grateful they were that people would think of them). So even if you know some people who do feel "entitled", I haven't met many of them.

ShelterLeopard
09-16-2009, 22:02
Early 1970s. I was hiking from Bear Nountain SP north and passed a trailside house near Pawling. An older woman there invited me to camp in the yard, let me take a shower, and fed me a great meal of corned beef and cabbage. Better still, she told me about hosting Grandma Gatewood on her hikes. I'll never forget.

Now THAT is cool.

Tuckahoe
09-16-2009, 22:20
I have a little trail magic from many years ago, though I hope that yall dont mind that its off the AT.

I use to be a Civil War reenactor and for a long time it was as a reenactor that I was able to keep camping and hiking. Well, 1990 was the last year of the 125th
anniversary of the Civil War and a group of us thought that a great way to close the last four years out would be to commemorate the end of the war in Virginia, April 1865, by re-creating the Confederate retreat from Richmond/Petersburg. So we planned a march from Chesrterfield Court House to Sailors Creek.

During that first week of April we covered about 62 miles. We planned the route to follow the same route covered 125 years earlier. Some of the march was on modern roads that followed the original route, while other parts went cross country away from any modern sights following old road routes.

Part of the magic were the moments when I found myself sort of in the moment. Nothing modern around, shared experiences, and getting a glimpse into the experiences of those that went before us. Imagine backpacking with 125 year old gear. By the end of the week a couple of us were sick, a every one was worn out. I had actually blown through my boots arriving at our finally camp with a dusting of snow.

The other magic was the first could nights of the march, we'd camp in the woods along the route. We'd make camp, boil coffee and cook supper. As we settled, we'd find that locals had somehow heard about what we were doing and found where we camped, bringing all sorts of food with them. Not modern food -- no pizza or burgers. But biscuits, ham etc.

emerald
09-16-2009, 22:31
Maybe you don't appreciate it, but I know a lot of hikers who do, and who are appreciative of people doing small things like that.

Never indicated I don't appreciate unexpected acts of kindness. It's a question of what, where, when, etc. and perspective. Many of the things posted to this thread aren't in the least bit objectionable, nor would they impact in a negative way upon any one's experience. A.T. managers do recognize TM's impact upon the resource, both positive and negative, and it is a topic worthy of discussion.


So even if you know some people who do feel "entitled," I haven't met many of them.

I encounter it and sometimes it's a subtle thing. Other times, a blind man could see it. Maybe you aren't at the right places at the right times to witness it, but it's not uncommon.

Examples of it are posted here regularly and not exclusively for the eyes of those who post. There are many who read what's posted here who have never been on the A.T. They should be made aware of this issue which some believe to be prevalent throughout society today.

Probably most if not all offenders don't recognize it when it occurs, nor are they aware their companions or others have done anything wrong unless it's an extreme breech of behavioral norms.

ShelterLeopard
09-17-2009, 12:22
You're probably right, emerald.

Another instance of trail magic: (This wasn't on the AT- it was actually while kayaking on the Georgian Bay in Canada with seven other girls and two camp leaders for three weeks, in 2005 or 20060) It was really badly storming, and my group had stopped on an island and was in lightening position and no one wanted to set up camp on this island because it was pretty much a swamp. So, when it stopped pouring and thundering one of the leaders kayaked over to an island across the way to ask the people who lived there if we could camp on the rock surface on one side of the island.

She went over, talked to the woman who owned the house, and waved her yellow flag for us to come over. When we got over, we found out that not only did the woman allow us to set up tents on her island, but she said we could sleep in her house. On BEDS. She had beds for all ten of us. It was amazing- we made her pizza, and she showed us really old pictures of the Native Americans helping her family build the house over 150 years ago (I think), and she was so nice.

I got up the next morning (I had been designated "pancake maker"), and she got up at the same time because she wanted to make US pancakes. So we had comfortable beds, a warm house, good food and a really friendly woman to chat with. She even came with us for our early morning swim. When we had to go, it was clear that none of us wanted to leave (and I think she didn't want us to either).

dreamsoftrails
09-17-2009, 16:16
Maybe we're finally beginning to get some traction.



I didn't indicate what you ought to value although I could. I wanted you to indicate what you do value and how the experience affected you.

As I strongly suspected, your experience wasn't primarily about beer. It was indeed about something more substantive although you still haven't really told us why this was a memorable experience and it's not obvious.

Did Jim offer encouragement or advice that served to inspire, influence or perhaps guide you?

dr. phil, i think the OP was looking for casual stories, not a discussion on the spiritual dimensions of trail magic. :)

what was yours?

emerald
09-17-2009, 18:02
For some, hiking the Appalachian Trail is a spiritual experience and for them it's trail magic every day all day long. You are wise to conclude trail magic might be seen as exhibiting spiritual dimensions although you have an odd way of expressing it.

I couldn't tell you the 1st time I was the beneficiary of an act of unexpected kindness on the A.T., but I have little doubt it occurred on the 1st day, probably before noon.

Trail magic includes more than unexpected acts of kindness which after all are a part of everyday life. I can think of instances of trail magic I've experienced which didn't occur anywhere near the A.T., but the opening post requests instances of on-trail magic. There are experiences which fall under the generally accepted heading of trail magic which could only occur on the A.T. or under similar circumstances.

Maybe we could direct our attention more along those lines.

dreamsoftrails
09-17-2009, 18:06
i haven't had a first time yet. does it hurt?
just ask the magician to be gentle...

Darwin again
09-21-2009, 17:12
Her name was Irene.

Bare Bear
09-22-2009, 17:43
In Florida I was got Trail Magic by a Ranger who drove 60 miles to bring me two gallons of fresh water as he knew the pump was broken due to hurricanes in late 05' at the only source for many miles and that I was thru hiking due to another Ranger who called ahead to him after meeting me along the way. I am still amazed at this kindness that enabled me to drink my fill and not have to go four miles the next morning without water to get it from a swamp I would have had to wade into to get to 'cleaner' water.

IronGutsTommy
09-12-2010, 01:41
dr. phil, thats funny. I love listening to know it alls talk, yet say relatively nothing at the same time. NOONE can tell another what is or isnt nice, special, or meaningful. Sometimes (alot of the time), the little things are what matter most. Like a funny thing that you saw, trail magic usually is a case where " you had to be there". the amount done or time put into an act of kindness does not determine its perceived value or effectiveness. a cold beer on a hot day can be more amazing than someone putting you up for the night and feeding you a large breakfast. you might have money and food on you, but boy does that single beer taste like heaven.

Driver8
09-12-2010, 09:02
My first trail magic came on my first mile of AT, courtesy Mother Nature. Atop Bear Mountain in Connecticut, almost to the summit, the distant thunderstorm we heard bore down on us from Mt. Frissell just as we reached the summit monument, thunder and lightning snarling.

We fleed after taking our pictures. My friend was faster than I and he made it about 0.4 miles to tree cover. I was not so fortunate. Running as hard as I could, I got to just north of the main southern overlook, when the meat of the storm hit, lightning, hail, thunder and a downpour. Grappling for some kind of shelter atop the scrubby mountain, I found the highest pitch pine I could on the trail. Balled up beneath it and hoped and prayed. The worst of the storm passed just north and east of me. Turns out there is a spot about half a mile northeast of the Bear which is known to attract lightning much more than the surrounding area. And so it did, seemingly.

Five, ten minutes later, the storm had passed, I caught up to my friend, and we made our way back down. The shower was refreshing and the experience all the more exhilirating. Next time I hear thunder, however, I'll turn and make a beeline to get below tree cover.

First TM given - 8/7/2010 found a poor young woman, through hiker from Tennessee hiking with her b/f, met on trail, from Australia, languishing on the steepest part of Everett NOBO as my friend, his son and I headed south from Guilder Pond to CT/MA state line. Her b/f was up ahead of her, I had a ton of water, had offered him some. He was fine, but said give some to his g/f. I had frozen some bottles overnight - a couple were in bottles that had been given to me by an awesomely nice man from Bethany, CT (hiker feed, big one) the week before.

The gal was so delighted. Her spirits had been low, and it felt like she might've been doubting her quest. She thanked me kindly, filled her pack with my ice water, took a few hearty gulps, and said she'd needed that. We visited for a while, then she made her way north and we south.

Guess you could say Everett, that beast, has good karma for me.

aufgahoban
09-12-2010, 09:52
The trail magic I will never forget was in March, 2008. My then 17 year old daughter and I were in the area, so we decided to bring some gatorades and fresh fruit up near the old cheese factory site. There we met Peanut, Wingit and Maniac. Their enthusiasm was contagious and I saw a spark light in my daughter. Soon thereafter we met Bogey and Slim (and quite a few other very cool folks). Slim let my daughter try on her backpack, and they answered all her questions about hiking, shelters, packs etc. They fanned a flame inside her soul and changed a bit of who she was and who she'd soon become. (She's since hiked the JMT, the AT, the CT and part of the NCT)

Driver8
09-12-2010, 13:22
... we met Peanut, Wingit and Maniac. Their enthusiasm was contagious and I saw a spark light in my daughter. Soon thereafter we met Bogey and Slim (and quite a few other very cool folks). Slim let my daughter try on her backpack, and they answered all her questions about hiking, shelters, packs etc. They fanned a flame inside her soul and changed a bit of who she was and who she'd soon become. (She's since hiked the JMT, the AT, the CT and part of the NCT)

That's some serious trail magic!

LIhikers
09-12-2010, 19:32
The best magic my wife and I have encountered, as section hikers, happened in Great Barrington, MA. We were headed into town to get a new element for our water filter. A young man pulls up and offers us a ride. After taking us to the store, and waiting for us, he suggested we go to his parents house as it isn't unusual for them to put up hikers over night. He went in to talk to his mom about us staying and between ourselves we talked about staying or not. We decided to take a chance if the opportunity was offered and had a very nice evening. We were able to shower, wash our clothes, and sleep on a soft sofa. We joined this generous family for dinner and conversation that evening and breakfast in the morning. As if all that weren't enough, they drove us back to the trail. :)

4eyedbuzzard
09-12-2010, 21:54
It was 1972 or so if memory serves. :-?
I was helping my uncle out as an assistant BS leader (hard getting parents involved), hiking with his troop in late July up by the NJ / NY line. The trail there was on an old dirt road. We went past a farm field full of corn. The farmer was out there and filled our packs with all the sweet corn we could carry. We all feasted on fresh fire roasted corn on the cob that night. :)

Crazy Larry #1
09-13-2010, 07:57
I'm not going to count rides though those are very much appreciated. You don't really get those while on the trail.

So mine would be 07 Sept 09, circa 1500 hrs., approaching crest of West Mtn outside of Pawling, NY. Came upon a dozen bottles of Poland Spring, still cold. Interesingly, my Canadian trail comrades at Tel Pioneers had found the same bottles but had not thought it up for grabs (they might have not been aware of Trail Magic). After a whole day of iodinized water from the Morgan-Stewart well, this Straight from Maine water tasted very very sweet.:sun

Thank you Trail Angel

Heading north while coming down Roan Mountain in Feb. '01 late in the day came upon a Snickers and a cold can of Coke sitting smack dab in the middle of the trail with a note that said "Enjoy!"

JAK
09-13-2010, 08:54
First trail magic I remember was crossing a small stream, just a ditch really, on the Fundy Footpath. It was a fairly bleak section of flat wet land above long beach that is old farmland grown over and slowly eroding down onto the beach and into the sea. There was this mug, hanging their at eye level, hung on the hook of a broken branch. It was one of those hard plastic melamine mugs, yellow or green I think. I can't remember if I had a drink but it cheered me up. On a January hike on the footpath I got as far as just the other side of Cradle Brook Beach before turning back when the snow and wind started blowing. There was this balloon blown up on the beach, with some sort of clown face on it, from a Kentucky Fried Chicken or some other restaraunt. So I took it with me and it kept me company the next few days on my long trudge back out. Books are always trail magic. I started that Harry Potter book on that winter hike. Didn't finish it, but enjoyed reading it. I re-read parts of To Kill A Mocking Bird on another solo winter camp out on Long Island on the Kennebecasis, and in the book it just happened to be that part were it snowed unexpectied in that ficticious town in Alabama. There I was with snow all around me, reading of snow in Alabama. That was trail magic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSr32dY8ApA

Carbo
09-13-2010, 11:18
This summer has been hot!!... was on the 3rd day of a section hike in 90-degree heat. That night I was suffering from heat exhaustion bad time... passing out, chills, cramps, sweating, etc. A couple came into the shelter late and saw I was in trouble. They happened to have a powder that mixes with water to replenish minerals/nutrients and gave me a good dose of it... felt better within 15 minutes!

Trail name of the lady who helped me was Padiddle.

If you are out there THANK YOU!! I left early, before you were awake and didn't get the chance to say goodbye or thanks.

Let me know how your "project" turned out!

IronGutsTommy
09-14-2010, 02:22
propel powder by gatorade does that well, replaceing minerals, nutrients, vitamins, etc. really seems to stave off heat exhaustion and dehydrsation in the first place. Im a chef by trade and many chefs cooks and various kitchen help in my field swear by it.. gets darn hot in those kitchens when ure surrounded front and back with flat tops, steam tables, fryers, ranges, salamanders, heat lamps, etc.
oh propel is also good the day after a late night bender to rehydrate and cut short a hangover

Carbo
09-14-2010, 07:53
IGTommy

This stuff was called Resurgence or Resurgenc. I googled it and it has the vitamins and minerals as you mentioned.

Guess I'll start carrying this when on the trail, amazing how quick it worked. I'll keep it in mind for the next "day-after" partying as well.

SmokyMtn Hiker
09-14-2010, 08:49
Memorial Day weekend of this year I was doing my section hike from Hwy 19E to Watauga Lake and day 2 decending into Dennis Cove I realized that I had forgotten my noodles that I was going to have as part of my dinner that night. I arrived at Dennis Cove later to set up camp and found 2 large grape Gatorades, a bag of apples, donuts and some apple fritters that were setting on one of the large fence post at the parking area. My thanks to whomever it was, it really helped out.