“Trail Magic,” for the uninitiated, is an action that is, in so many ways, precisely what it sounds like. It’s an unexpected gesture that can positively change the dynamic of a thru hiker’s day. It should be positive anyway. I doubt a surprise offer to wrestle would go as far with a weary traveler as food or a free shower, but who knows. These are interesting times.
A group of us here decided to opt for the more welcome version of Trail Magic and set up our trusty pop-up tent at the trailhead in Grafton Notch State Park. We wanted to welcome as many of this season’s Appalachian Trail north and southbound hikers to Maine as we could in two days and tried to make it as “Maine-y” as possible.
To do that, we brought some “Distinctively Different” Moxie Soda, (Maine’s state drink) and to apologize, we had a smattering of Banded Brewing offerings mixed right here in the same old mill we operate out of (for of-age hikers to take with them, of course). We had a grip of Red Snapper Hot Dogs, burgers, and enough chips and snacks to stretch between our spot and Nova Scotia. Other Mainer pals at R.E.D.D. Energy Bars and Good To Go also generously pitched in, and we had Stuff Sacks that our new friends could grab to fill with as much from this pile as they could hold.
We were treated to stories and news from the trail, unique and personal rationales for embarking on and sticking with the iconic cross-country traverse, and glimpses into different solutions to many of the same quandaries all thru hikers face. Lots of clever folks out there with a wide range of experience and years on this planet. It was a pleasure to feed them and provide a camp chair to take a load off.
At the end of the first day, as we were getting ready to retreat to the nearby campground we had sites reserved in, we invited interested folks to keep the good vibes going with us into the night. By about 8 p.m. we had pert near 12 hikers in our group! We polished off a bunch more food and drinks and hit the hay at a reasonable time – some in a few extra UltaMids we brought along. In the morning we had a pancake and bacon factory cranking out the calories that would help get legs moving again. We drove our new friends back to their chosen spots and set up again at Grafton Notch to feed more folks until we ran out of food mid-afternoon.
To all the thru hikers that slowed down to spend time with us, inspire us, and lighten our hot dog load – we appreciated it! It was a treat to help you keep on keepin’ on. Nice work out there, and thanks for swinging through our state!