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    Default NC Trail Magic for Bubble

    My church in Sylva is wanting to do Trail Magic mission work with the biggest bang for the buck. We are wanting to serve Wayah Gap as the point getting hikers after coming out of Franklin and Winding Stair Gap. Which Saturdays would have the greatest impact for the bubble. I thought that the last two Saturdays of March might be the closest. Any thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bayview View Post
    My church in Sylva is wanting to do Trail Magic mission work with the biggest bang for the buck. Any thoughts?


    My thoughts—-do a food drive for the homeless....or a clothing drive.......or collect books for children to read.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    My thoughts—-do a food drive for the homeless....or a clothing drive.......or collect books for children to read.......
    . . .
    Last edited by JNI64; 02-23-2020 at 13:23.

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    Yeah, those are great weekends for hiker feeds. Early-mid April as well. And just a thought, but since you're a church and probably concerned with helping needy people, you could ask all those thru-hikers for a donation and use that money to help stock a local food pantry for people who truly can't afford to buy their own food. Doubles the magic.

    EDIT: Upon further review, it appears my suggestion of soliciting donations from thru-hikers is not legal. "Collecting fees or donations is prohibited on the Appalachian Trail." https://appalachiantrail.org/home/ex...ng/trail-magic
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 02-23-2020 at 14:24.

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    Good idea. Help the less fortunate. It's much more needed.

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    Over the five years I've been on the trail I've benefited several times through trail magic near Franklin, and twice worked with a church to provide it. I think your dates sound fine. Some thoughts on logistics and function follow. First, unless you are wedded to the location already, I'd consider Rock Gap instead. It's the first spot to go into Franklin, and has a reasonable area to setup tables, chairs and tarps. If the weather is cold, hikers just coming off Albert will appreciate seeing you. There have been a couple folks there in the past who took hikers into town, including Zen and Ron Haven. Second, I'd not treat this like a charity; I'd treat it as a showing of love to the hikers with no expectations of any payment or reciprocity. On my two thrus I've certainly arrived at trail magic hungry and tired, and the food has been very welcome, but the love and kindness shown is even more appreciated and memorable. If some want to do something like collect food for the hungry, I'd do it in a completely separate venue. Focus on loving the hikers. In that vein, we found that in addition to food, foot care products, toothbrushes and small toothpaste were most welcome. I and one other person also helped clean and put moleskin on some feet-'it was another amazing way to help.
    Renais
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  7. #7

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    During the annual training session for the MATC the regional ATC coordinator ran through the newATC policy for trail magic. They appear to have given up on discouraging hiker feeds and have now switched to mitigating the damage from them.

    Some of the points.

    Do not preadvertise the feeds to the hiking public, this leads to clumping of thru hikers at campsites before and after the feed as many are going to be attracted to the them if they know when and where.

    Avoid doing the feed directly on the AT, rather have it nearby in location that is suited for the traffic and volume of people.

    Any trail magic needs to be staffed, stocked coolers or unattended food is vulnerable to animals.

    There should be adequate trash receptacles and no reason for people leaving the trail magic to bring trash with them.

    Maybe its a regional difference but organized trail feeds under the guise of mission work is in my opinion a sham. Maybe it makes the church members participating in it feel good but its not really working with those who need the help. My guess is they think because folks are grubby that they need the help and thruhikers are willing to go along with it as an easy yogi but the reality is thruhikers are voluntarily hiking the trail,, its not a religious pilgrimage and the thruhikers do not need your help.

  8. #8

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    I've done lots of trail magic up the whole trail. You sometimes do meet hikers who truly NEED something physical, but my experience is that the vast majority do not have a that big physical need. Instead, the trail magic is a welcome gift, a spiritual and emotional blessing. I've been loved, and I want to share it. There are indeed many people who do have significant physical needs, but in my opinion trail magic is not the way to meet those people or address their needs. A hiker has many more needs than physical, and my experience is that often a lovingly provided trail magic addresses those deeper wants.
    Renais
    Trail name Catnapper

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    My thoughts—-do a food drive for the homeless....or a clothing drive.......or collect books for children to read.......
    We already do this. Many hikers do not have the ability to get needs of ministry on the trail like communion. Ministry should not be reserved only to the needy.

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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by bayview View Post
    We already do this. Many hikers do not have the ability to get needs of ministry on the trail like communion. Ministry should not be reserved only to the needy.
    almost all hikers go into town for resupply at least once a week and often they go more than that.

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    All of the comments made have been already planned. We are doing this at a picnic location, I always practice leave no trace, and it is by choice. If those of you don’t like those that care for people, then don’t do it and move on. I did not post for negative comments or people telling me what I should do. That is one fault with many of these types of sites, they do not answer the question asked, they shove their political or philosophical agenda down someone’s throat. Just answer the question asked and move on. If you do not like the post, don’t comment.

    I have done independent trail magic before and have changed lives. One person wrote me later in the season and said I was his motivation to finish. So yes, in spite of what some negative people say, trail magic helps many.

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    I wonder if you’d get the same sort of self-righteous pushback (TNhiker and others) if you would have omitted the fact that you’re a church group.

    My thoughts - this is an AT forum, trail magic is an AT thing, so knock yourself out and just be mindful of litter impact, crowds, sanitation, etc.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by globetruck View Post
    I wonder if you’d get the same sort of self-righteous pushback (TNhiker and others) if you would have omitted the fact that you’re a church group.

    My thoughts - this is an AT forum, trail magic is an AT thing, so knock yourself out and just be mindful of litter impact, crowds, sanitation, etc.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Thanks for the support globetruck. This is what the site should do, not discourage someone for doing good.

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    You're right, what ever makes your soul feel good......... do that ... didn't mean to come across so negative with my statement. In fact I went back and edited it. Woke up with cranky pants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bayview View Post
    My church in Sylva is wanting to do Trail Magic mission work with the biggest bang for the buck. We are wanting to serve Wayah Gap as the point getting hikers after coming out of Franklin and Winding Stair Gap. Which Saturdays would have the greatest impact for the bubble. I thought that the last two Saturdays of March might be the closest. Any thoughts?
    Quote Originally Posted by bayview View Post
    All of the comments made have been already planned. We are doing this at a picnic location, I always practice leave no trace, and it is by choice. If those of you don’t like those that care for people, then don’t do it and move on. I did not post for negative comments or people telling me what I should do. That is one fault with many of these types of sites, they do not answer the question asked, they shove their political or philosophical agenda down someone’s throat. Just answer the question asked and move on. If you do not like the post, don’t comment.

    I have done independent trail magic before and have changed lives. One person wrote me later in the season and said I was his motivation to finish. So yes, in spite of what some negative people say, trail magic helps many.
    Ya know, let me attempt to offer an explanation. When you use the terms "bang for the buck" and "getting hikers" and such, many people are by nature going to question the motivation. Because it sounds an awful lot like marketing and business and not just "doing good." "Bang for the buck" implies a return on investment - that you or your church are getting something out of your expense and effort - even if that return is something intangible in nature, like access and/or a target audience, and feeling good about what you are doing. Many will interpret "getting hikers" as "targeting hikers", or perhaps "fishing for hikers" might be more apropos - with the "lure" being cast one of free food to hungry hikers. You complain that "they [WB posts] do not answer the question asked, they shove their political or philosophical agenda down someone’s throat", yet doesn't your word choice of "mission work" imply that there is at least some degree of a philosophical agenda behind the hiker feed, even if it's just a benign pamphlet or an invitation to have a conversation? What is the purpose, where does it lead...? Most people associate "mission" with at least some degree of promoting a religious viewpoint along with "good works". That many thru-hikers are seeking something in a spiritual sense is pretty obvious. A hike is often a time of self-examination and contemplation and a search for meaning or something different in life. Some hikers are very vulnerable during this time. And honestly, hikers don't need food in a mission sense. I can think of only one starvation death on the AT, Gerry Largay in ME, and the lack of a hiker feed wasn't the cause. As such, many who don't share your particular world/philosophical/religious views will react negatively to anything they see as even remotely proselytizing or evangelizing - and even more so if it pretends to be anything other than that.

    As to your comments, "That is one fault with many of these types of sites", and "if you don't like a post, don't comment", really isn't in keeping with the nature of a discussion board. Discussions by nature bring out differing viewpoints. You believe hikers need feeding and what you call "trail magic", but others don't - they think hiker feeds are detrimental to the trail. And they aren't without some backing as ATC discourages certain aspects of hiker feeds, one of which is, "Avoid areas with a high concentration of feeds, especially Georgia in March and early April." Another, perhaps relevant here is, "Hikers may be made to feel like a captive audience—especially if feed facilitators promote their personal world-views." https://appalachiantrail.org/home/ex...ng/trail-magic Obviously you've had replies on this and other sites that you didn't appreciate. Sometimes when we get negative reaction in life we think it's just the other guy not liking us, or in this case our church, or religion in general. And that is true in some cases. But to assume that we deserve only support and positive reaction, because in our opinion ours is a just cause and we're "doing good", is also pretty self-righteous. So sometimes, maybe we should also ask ourselves what we may have done - how we approached the topic, how we worded our post, etc., that led to those negative responses.

    As someone who grew up hiking before hiker feeds became a thing, I have mixed emotions when it comes to them. I can see where many hikers might well appreciate the food and drink. I can also see where it detracts from the trail's intended illusion of wilderness and adds to the traveling party problem. So, do as you will, but be realistic, and just don't expect that it will be immune from criticism.
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 02-23-2020 at 14:32.

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    “As someone who grew up hiking before hiker feeds became a thing, I have mixed emotions when it comes to them. I can see where many hikers might well appreciate the food and drink. I can also see where it detracts from the trail's intended illusion of wilderness and adds to the traveling party problem. So, do as you will, but be realistic, and just don't expect that it will be immune from criticism.”

    4eyedbuzzard, if one is hiking the AT for an illusion of Wilderness as you stated, then they have made the wrong choice, maybe they should hike the Bartram trail or MST that has few hikers. If I was looking for solitude and quiet, I would not seek it on the AT. Sorry if you have had a bad experience and are jealous of not getting to participate in the modern trail experience, but many people enjoy it. If you don’t like it, don’t participate. Hike your own hike is the mantra is it not?.

    We are not out to “convert” people, we are also trying to find a location that has little trail impact. As per a discussion board, it means discussing the best dates for the purpose I had asked, not discussing the ethical component of Trail Magic, that could be a thread you could climb on your soap box and go to town and let those that cared about that comment, but trying to find a time to help the greatest amount of people that want help is what the original post was intended not to be implied by some that I was a
    horrible person with bad intentions as you have implied.



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    Quote Originally Posted by bayview View Post
    “As someone who grew up hiking before hiker feeds became a thing, I have mixed emotions when it comes to them. I can see where many hikers might well appreciate the food and drink. I can also see where it detracts from the trail's intended illusion of wilderness and adds to the traveling party problem. So, do as you will, but be realistic, and just don't expect that it will be immune from criticism.”

    4eyedbuzzard, if one is hiking the AT for an illusion of Wilderness as you stated, then they have made the wrong choice, maybe they should hike the Bartram trail or MST that has few hikers. If I was looking for solitude and quiet, I would not seek it on the AT. Sorry if you have had a bad experience and are jealous of not getting to participate in the modern trail experience, but many people enjoy it. If you don’t like it, don’t participate. Hike your own hike is the mantra is it not?.

    We are not out to “convert” people, we are also trying to find a location that has little trail impact. As per a discussion board, it means discussing the best dates for the purpose I had asked, not discussing the ethical component of Trail Magic, that could be a thread you could climb on your soap box and go to town and let those that cared about that comment, but trying to find a time to help the greatest amount of people that want help is what the original post was intended not to be implied by some that I was a
    horrible person with bad intentions as you have implied.


    I didn't imply that you are a bad person. I tried to explain some possibilities as to why you got negative reactions. How you process that is up to you.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Ya know, let me attempt to offer an explanation. When you use the terms "bang for the buck" and "getting hikers" and such, many people are by nature going to question the motivation. Because it sounds an awful lot like marketing and business and not just "doing good." "Bang for the buck" implies a return on investment - that you or your church are getting something out of your expense and effort - even if that return is something intangible in nature, like access and/or a target audience, and feeling good about what you are doing. Many will interpret "getting hikers" as "targeting hikers", or perhaps "fishing for hikers" might be more apropos - with the "lure" being cast one of free food to hungry hikers. You complain that "they [WB posts] do not answer the question asked, they shove their political or philosophical agenda down someone’s throat", yet doesn't your word choice of "mission work" imply that there is at least some degree of a philosophical agenda behind the hiker feed, even if it's just a benign pamphlet or an invitation to have a conversation? What is the purpose, where does it lead...? Most people associate "mission" with at least some degree of promoting a religious viewpoint along with "good works". That many thru-hikers are seeking something in a spiritual sense is pretty obvious. A hike is often a time of self-examination and contemplation and a search for meaning or something different in life. Some hikers are very vulnerable during this time. And honestly, hikers don't need food in a mission sense. I can think of only one starvation death on the AT, Gerry Largay in ME, and the lack of a hiker feed wasn't the cause. As such, many who don't share your particular world/philosophical/religious views will react negatively to anything they see as even remotely proselytizing or evangelizing - and even more so if it pretends to be anything other than that.

    As to your comments, "That is one fault with many of these types of sites", and "if you don't like a post, don't comment", really isn't in keeping with the nature of a discussion board. Discussions by nature bring out differing viewpoints. You believe hikers need feeding and what you call "trail magic", but others don't - they think hiker feeds are detrimental to the trail. And they aren't without some backing as ATC discourages certain aspects of hiker feeds, one of which is, "Avoid areas with a high concentration of feeds, especially Georgia in March and early April." Another, perhaps relevant here is, "Hikers may be made to feel like a captive audience—especially if feed facilitators promote their personal world-views." https://appalachiantrail.org/home/ex...ng/trail-magic Obviously you've had replies on this and other sites that you didn't appreciate. Sometimes when we get negative reaction in life we think it's just the other guy not liking us, or in this case our church, or religion in general. And that is true in some cases. But to assume that we deserve only support and positive reaction, because in our opinion ours is a just cause and we're "doing good", is also pretty self-righteous. So sometimes, maybe we should also ask ourselves what we may have done - how we approached the topic, how we worded our post, etc., that led to those negative responses.

    As someone who grew up hiking before hiker feeds became a thing, I have mixed emotions when it comes to them. I can see where many hikers might well appreciate the food and drink. I can also see where it detracts from the trail's intended illusion of wilderness and adds to the traveling party problem. So, do as you will, but be realistic, and just don't expect that it will be immune from criticism.
    Very much this.

    It depends what one's goals are. If one's goal is to help the needy, then hikers are not your target audience, and it's a misuse of parishioner funds. If one's goal is to spread your churches influence and essentially bribe hungry people to pay attention to your gospel, then feeding hungry hikers will at least get them to the table. If one's goal is to hang out with like minded people because you're a hiker yourself... then a hiker feed is a great way to do so. Maybe the OP has a different goal in mind, but they haven't shared it with us.

    I personally hate church run hiker feeds. I don't really like hiker feeds in general. The one I stumbled onto by mistake I came into a gap, and asked someone where the creek/water source was, because it wasn't evident. ... and it was all "Oh, we have water!" then it was all "Hey folks, I'm not going to preach at you, and you don't have to listen, but... " Then there was a whole lot of preaching. I had a stay at a bed and breakfast ruined by some guy preaching god and hatred at me during a zero. I've had a hiker feeder yell at me when I politely declined and kept walking. These are reasons why some people are responding to your request for information they way we are.

    If you just like hikers and want to spend your money partying with them, then this tool might come in handy. https://www.wherearethehikers.com/heatmap/

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    Quote Originally Posted by bayview View Post
    Which Saturdays would have the greatest impact for the bubble. I thought that the last two Saturdays of March might be the closest. Any thoughts?
    and all 4 saturdays in april. the trail will be crowded with folks

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