When J & I finally thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (the AT), you all will get an education. There’s all sort of acronyms and jargon that goes with the AT. And you want to keep up with the blog, you’re just going to have to become familiar with it all (that’s an order!).
One of the common terms is trail magic. When you are a long-distance hiker, trail magic is pretty much an oasis in the desert, if you will. Imagine this, you are hiking along, carrying what you need to survive for several days—sleeping bag/tent, clothes, FOOD, WATER. Then you run into say a cold soda, some fresh strawberries, just about anything that is available for taking. And it’s not just food. It could be an offer to take a shower. A place to stay. A fresh pair of socks. The list goes on as to what trail magic can be.
There are all sorts of people along the trail that offer the “magic.” Trail angels, if you will. Some live near the trail and just drop off the magic anonymously. Some plan to meet up with hikers. Some mail it (many hikers stop at the post office to pick up supplies).
Yesterday, we got to give out some trail magic! It is something we’ve always wanted to do and although the closest AT crossing is not far from our house, it’s not 100% convenient. But, I follow a LOT of thru-hiking blogs (hey, it’s research!) and I’ve been following this couple, Ridley & Panther (their trail names), from their planning stages. They are from Florida/Texas and I have gotten to know Ridley (the female) pretty well through our blogs/e-mail. They started hiking the AT in Georgia in March and have just about 380 miles left! WooHoo!!!
Yesterday, we planned to meet them in Franconia Notch State Park where the AT crosses and it actually worked out (often it’s hard to plan a meeting because of non-existent connectivity in the mountains and unknown hiker time). We brought lots of cold drinks and snacks (the trail magic!), then drove to Woodstock for lunch, ice cream and a resupply (sometimes just a ride into town is trail magic enough—you don’t really want to have to do any more walking then you have to). They had 2 other thru-hikers (SnackAttack & Merf) with them and we were happy because the more the merrier (Ridley & Panther are in the middle). Plus, I fired at them a myriad of questions of course! The best preparation for the trail is to talk to people who have hiked it!
After seeing them off, J & I hit the bike path in the park. We always come up here to hike or paddle, but we figured we’d try the hilly 20-mile trail this time (we only did about half). Of course it rained while we were riding. We have gotten a total of maybe 1 inch of rain this whole summer and it just so happens to rain every time we plan an outside activity! It was still pretty awesome!