Besides food, trail magic can be a ride offered into town, a patch of lawn to pitch your tent, or a hose to refill your water bottle. It’s abundant along the trail and most likely to come from people “giving back” from a previous gift they acquired.
On 14 June, myself and another hiker (Indiana) were traversing the White River bridge into West Hartford, VT. We had hiked the last 9 miles discussing what sandwiches, ice cream and soda we would eat at the Yellow Belly Deli in West Hartford. While we were on the bridge, a woman standing on a porch near the bridge rang a bell and called out “Would you like a soda?” We stated that we would but we were headed to the deli. “It’s been closed since March but I can cook you a meal. Come on in.” 10 minutes later we were in Linda Hart’s kitchen eating scrambled eggs, sausage, toast, and drinking root beer soda.
Linda and her family lost their house, garage and family van in hurricane Irene (2011); washed down the river while they watched from a hill above. Their house is only partially repaired and will be completed as funds are available.
Even though funds are tight, Linda and her family continue to provide trail magic to legions of hikers. Her son thru hiked in 2002 and she’s still giving back 12 years later.
There are many stories just like this along the trail. The A.T. is a magical place.