Random Thoughts - Trail Magic

Floating above the Buckeye Trail.

One of the greatest pleasures of hiking the Buckeye Trail so far is the trail magic. I have been fortunate to be the recipient several times already of good, old fashion, trail magic.

By good, old fashion, trail magic I mean unplanned, random acts of kindness towards me by strangers. And for me the kindness was unexpected and welcome.

For example the time the couple gave me three bottles of water at the end of a long, hot hiking day. This was trail magic to me.

This couple did not set out that day to help a hiker. It was unplanned and random. I had not seen anyone on the trail for hours. I was thirsty and needed water. The water was a welcome sight. To them the three  bottles of water was small gesture of kindness. To me the water a great gesture of kindness. It came to me when I least expected it and needed it the most. This is real trail tragic by real trail angels.

This kind of trail magic is a dying breed on the Appalachian Trail. Sure it does happen on the AT but much less frequently and usually not by local residents. There are thousands of long distance hikers on the AT each year. The AT has become very popular and quite crowded at times. Hikers on the AT have come to expect and almost demand trail magic at times. This diminishes the incentive of people to go out of their way to help hikers.

Sure there are "hiker feed" events on the AT, cans of soda stashed at road crossings, cookies left in shelters and free rides to be had. To me this is not pure trail magic.

On the Buckeye Trail you can still find this kind of trail magic. It is there for the hiker to experience. Don't expect it and don't look for it. It will find you. There are unsuspecting trail angels on the Buckeye Trail who are waiting for you.