Trail magic

What is trail magic?

It’s when a random stranger gives you something or performs an act of kindness to you on the trail. This can be a cooler of cold drinks by the side of the trail or a hitch to the nearest town or a water cache in a middle of a long dry stretch or a trail angel letting you sleep in their home.

The ephemeral nature of these acts of kindness also make them seem all the more “magical” – we’ve previously missed trail magic by the matter of minutes or hours. Needless to day, trail magic is both heart touching and absolutely awesome!

All the tents in Hiker Heaven (backyard of trail angels – the Saufleys)

Below is one example of trail magic happening most unexpectedly.

Near the end of the second day out of Chester, we were looking for a camp spot in the forest around 6pm.

The forest was sparse with thin grey trees and the ground was very flat so we felt exposed despite the trees. It was also rather spooky. As we set up our tent, we realized there was a road at the far end of the forest because a white pick up truck drove by, slowing down as it got closer to us.
“Do you remember hearing about hikers being murdered in Northern California?” asked Andrew.
“No…why?”
“That truck was creepy – that it slowed down when it got to us. Who knows what kind people are in this area on the weekend?
“They probably saw movement in the forest and thought it was a bear or something but then realized it was just us
“I dunno… this forest still gives me the creeps.”

I was bewildered by Andrew’s nervousness since we had camped in forests before. However if he couldn’t sleep because of his feelings of uneasiness, then it was pointless staying. So we continued on another 2 miles to the nearby gas station where they allowed hikers to camp for free.

Part of the creepy forest.

It was about 7pm when we neared the resort and my feet were dragging in the dirt in tiredness. As we walked passed the RV park full of people eating dinner, a male voiced yelled out to Andrew,

“Are you PCT hikers?”
“Yes we are” replied Andrew over his shoulder
“How’s the hike going?”
“Good!”
“Do you guys want some food?”
“Sure!” without breaking his stride Andrew made a U turn and we walked towards the voice.

We met Scott and Steve who were two friends on a fishing trip. We didn’t know what to expect joining them, but we received nothing but overwhelming generosity. They were both fascinated in our journey so far having seen the movie and read the book “Wild.”

As we chatted around the fire pit, they fed us an incredibly generous dinner of hot dogs, baked potatoes, meats and cheese and celery with ranch sauce which had never tasted so good. As it got dark and we started leaving, Scott insisted we took a box of Cheezits and pre-packaged boxes of cereal as well as some nectarines for our hike. I slept very well that night with my full belly!

With Steve & Scott the next morning at JJ’s cafe the next morning.

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