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Thread: Trail Magic

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    Default Trail Magic

    Planning to give some trail magic at Clingman's Dome in April when those hikers who slogged thru the snow and rain reach it. Would like to catch a good number of folks and help them on their way.

    When in April and exactly were at Clingman's Dome is the best place to offer some tasty trail magic?

    Eric- junk pile

  2. #2

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    Newfound gap is easier. You can park right at the crossing. Of course, you may not be the only one there doing that. You could do it from the parking lot of the dome and catch thrus if they come down to the bathroom. When I went through that section I did not go down though. Another alternative would be at mt Collins shelter. it's a dumpy shelter off trail but pretty easy to access from the road. I guess it depends on your set up.

  3. #3

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    Since you'd be in the National Park, better check on regulations and if you need a permit to do that.

    It takes most hikers 2-3 weeks to get to the Smokies from Springer, so middle of April would catch the early April/late March starters. Where you do it depends on what you want to serve. If you just handing out snacks and drinks the Clingmans parking lot would work, just put a sign up at the trail just before it gets to the look out tower. If you want to do a cook out, the Newfound gap lot would be better. Of course, it also depends on what the park service says.
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    You will need a permit.
    Honestly, trail magic doesnt belong in a national park. Take it somewhere else. Unless you are going to feed ALL park visitors.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-02-2015 at 04:58.

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    A good and valid point made by all. I can take it elsewhere- just being lazy since I live near the park. I will figure it out- maybe on the north side of the part,
    Thanks so much for our ideas.
    Eric

  6. #6

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    North of the park before you hit the river at that road crossing. It's a small road I can't remember the name. That may be a good place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirsnappy09 View Post
    North of the park before you hit the river at that road crossing. It's a small road I can't remember the name. That may be a good place.
    it's the road out of Cosby. a passer-by gave me a soda there. they saw me walking in snow with poles and thought i lost my ski's sweet old couple.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

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    As said N of the park would be better, I got some just south of the interstate crossing and again one unattended stash right north if it up the staircase. A great place and a uplift to get to Standing Bear Hostel. Do not leave unattended caches inside the park itself, it upsets many who work there and causes them problems with wildlife.

    If you want to help at Dome or New Found Gap, then I would suggest offering a ride to G-burg rather then the conventional trail magic. As said food trail magic stations really don't belong here, this is one of the most restrictive places along the trail and thus somewhat more of a wilderness experience and it is part of the AT's character to have such variety.

    You can also do a day hike in the park and give out magic on you hike to thru's as a alternative to a fixed TM station. This may be acceptable for park use as you are really just hiking and offering as you go, IDK

    Also I don't know why anyone would say you would be obligated to feed all park visitors, you certainly can offer to who ever you please.

  9. #9

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    I think the ride idea from the gap to gburg is great. I received some TM from Wildcat at newfound gap one year. He had a pretty big set up and nothing was said to him as far as I know.

  10. #10

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    i would think that Fontana Dam would be a better place for Trail Magic right at the shelter you will catch everybody before they head into the Park theirs nothing like tril magic before you head into the park and the middle to the end of april would be the best time.

  11. #11

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    On Clingman's Dome Bypass Road shortly before Clingman's Dome where the road comes very close to the AT would make a good spot. It's pretty secluded without the tourists.

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    Thanks so much- I like the north of GSM better and will plan for that. Like the idea of feeding hungry hikers! Plus getting advice for our hike in 2016. Thanks for your suggestions.
    Eric....junkpile

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    There's a couple that do trail magic out of a white pickup in rememberance of their son at Newfound Gap last few years, at least. Sandwichs and cans of pop/soda. Not sure if they had/needed a permit. They just parked, dropped the tailgate, and hikers lined up.

    Eric: north of the park would be most appreciated, as many, like me, didnt stop in Gatlinburg. So it was 5 days away from "real" food. Just search for a spot by the bridge that crosses the river--maybe just south of the bridge where the trail comes out of the woods. That would be easy to access by vehicle, also, due to Interstate exit being right there.

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    re: permits for trail magic

    I suspect with more people hiking the long trails, hiker aid stations will be on the radar more and more for government officials. On the PCT, and even the CDT, people have been getting fined and/or nastygrams about removing caches and similar. Maybe because the trail goes through more of patchwork quilt on the AT (in terms of lands) it is not on the radar as much. Yet.


    The advice of setting up shop outside of a national park area is probably a good one for various reasons. Not the least of which is that govt agencies know more about these aid stations and starting to put a kibosh on them.

    Not debating the merits of these acts, just cautioning people to use some prudence otherwise they may get fined as well.
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    That is very generous of you!

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    I would avoid trail magic at popular spots unless you want to feed day hikers as well. In 2012, I got trail magic at the road at the end of the north part of the park. A former thru hiker and his family was having a hiker feed. It was much appreciated being half way between Gatlinburg and Hot Springs.

  17. #17

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    If you are within an hour or so of the trail, at the last minute, pick a crappy/hot day and offer something then.
    Or if you are day hiking to get in shape, walk southbound, pack some snickers and dole them out as you go.

    chris
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    LT -1987, 2012; West Highland Way & Cape Wrath Trail, Scotland - 2008; AT - 2009

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    All great suggestions. Sounds like we will do two things. As we hike for our 2016 build-up and do trail maintenance on AT- will have nice bunch of snickers ready. Crosby road - north of GSM - sounds perfect for a traditional tailgate feeding fest. Only hikers there will be thru. Excellent suggestions- thanks so much

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    "Be hospitable to all. While many long-distance hikers will likely appreciate trail magic, be sure to make all trail
    users and volunteers feel welcome" this from the ATC website. none of this "thru-hiker only" crap

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    Making day hikers feel welcome does not equate to needing to offer them food. Explaining to them why you are doing what you are and say its a wonderful thing for these thru and LD hikers could also serve this purpose. Again how you do TM is up to you. HYOH and TMYOTM

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