There’s a tradition of charity unto others called Trail Magic on the Appalachian Trail and other long distance trails in the US. It takes many forms. Sometimes, people will leave cold drinks and snacks at trail crossings for thru-hikers, or they’ll pick hikers up on the road and take them home for a few days of rest and food. It’s a great tradition and one of those magical things I like about hiking trips.
I’ve benefited from it many times myself, mostly in the form of rides in remote places from complete strangers who have kindly picked me up, sometimes in pouring rain, and gone out of their way to make sure I made it safely to my destination. Just last month, I came out of the woods about 5 miles from a paved road in the middle of nowhere and a guy in a pickup truck, stopped, rolled his window down, and asked me if I needed a ride. I wasn’t even hitching. He used to hike in those parts 20 years ago and was just visiting the area for the weekend after moving 1,000 miles away. I was back at my car in 20 minutes. Stuff like that can’t be chance.
I go out of my way to contribute to the pool of trail magic whenever I can by doing what I can for other hikers who need a hand or by giving people who I know are regular trail angels a little extra cash to pass along to someone who needs it more than I do. It evens out in the end and you never know when you’ll need a little trail magic, yourself.
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