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Thread: Trail magic for thru-hikers

  1. #1
    Senior Member Panama Jack's Avatar
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    Smile Trail magic for thru-hikers

    My wife and I would very much like to give a little "trail magic" to the thru hikers coming thru the Whites this year. I would be interested in hearing where and when people think the best place and time of summer to deliver it.

    I would like to have barbecued meats and cold drinks and salads for them so it would have to be in a place where the AT crosses the road.

    Thanks in advance for your advice

    -PJ-
    The words of a humble man are few

  2. #2
    Senior Member blacklab2020's Avatar
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    Time of year

    I have a couple of friends who are thru-hiking and plan to be in the Whites in Late August.

    Some suggestions for locations would be Franconinia or Crawford Notches. Franconia might be difficult to set up directly off the road. Pinkham Notch is a good ways into the whites and would be a well deserved location. Although my understanding is that pinkham notch is bustling with non-thru hikers. Personally Franconia and Crawfored are beautiful locals.

    I will be sure to pass this on to any thru-hikers I may be in touch with.

    Incidentally, I will be hiking from near Hanover, to Grafton ME in Early August. I am sure from Early to Late August, the trail will be full of through hikers. Last I heard 1400 (~10% less than normal) set out in GA and there were 435 remaining as of the Maryland line.

    Best Wishes to you, I am sure the through hikers that do encounter you will be very grateful.

    Regards,
    Justin

  3. #3
    Senior Member percious's Avatar
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    I think crawford notch is a pretty good place to set up. I would hit
    www.whiteblaze.net and www.trailjournals.com and post over there to see if anyone can offer you some advise.

    -percious

  4. #4
    Senior Member Waumbek's Avatar
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    Franconia and Crawford Notches are fairly busy at the crossings. Kinsman Notch is quieter. And there's free parking at the WMNF lot now too . The old shelter spot might still be clear enough to lay out a spread. Good swimming spot nearby in Beaver Pond. If need be, there's a very nice covered picnic pavilion across from the USFS Wildwood Campground on 112 west of the Notch a mile or so. Trail magic has probably happened to all of us by now, but not usually on this scale. This is a great idea of yours

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rick's Avatar
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    PJ - That sounds awesome - Let me know what section you decided on so I can hike "through"

    Seriously, when I lived in PA close to the trail, my wife and I would carry our young son up in my kiddie backpack and she would carry a cooler of frozen candy bars and sodas to hand out at the Leroy Smith and Kirkridge Shelters.

    Later when I did the PA section, I found a lot of 5 gallon buckets near road crossings filled with candy, snacks and bottle of juice - The first few were awesome. However, I found that as I hiked, it wasn't so much a surprise, in that sometimes I started to expect something would be near a road crossing - I'd get to a crossing and there'd be nothing and I'd be slightly dissapointed
    see how easily I was trained??

    I now think of trail magic as something that pops up out of the blue for a one time thing where the stars were all aligned (like your BBQ idea) rather than something that folks can expect when they get to a certain crossing.

    I would think a quiet spot where the trail crosses a very lonely backroad would be the best place to really surprise thruhikers.
    Good luck - Please let me know how it went
    Rick

  6. #6
    Senior Member MadRiver's Avatar
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    My wife and I maintain the Webster Cliff Trail from where it crosses the southern section of route 302. From late July thru September when we are doing trail maintenance, we will leave a large cooler filled with soda, brownies, cookies, and sandwiches for the thru-hikers. We always take the cooler with us after we have finished our maintenance for the day. Sometimes if we are in the area for a hike, we will leave the cooler for the day and retrieve it on our way back home. We have met some nice thru-hikers in the past two summers since we began this practice.

    Since the AT crosses route 302 south of the Highland Center and north of a campground (forget the name), thru-hikers emerge from the Pemi without being close to any stores or other businesses, so it is nice to have some refreshments for them.

    If you do find a spot for your trail magic, you might want to choose a location where mostly thru-hikers emerge and not the throngs of day hikers, otherwise you will just end up feeding everyone.
    What do you mean he don't eat no meat? Ok, I'll do lamb.

  7. #7
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    Great idea! I would also love to know how this goes. When I hike in the Whites August/September I always carry some jumbo snicker bars for the thru hikers. I would love to do more for them. They are so grateful and suprised when you give them the candy.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mohamed Ellozy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadRiver
    If you do find a spot for your trail magic, you might want to choose a location where mostly thru-hikers emerge and not the throngs of day hikers, otherwise you will just end up feeding everyone.
    May I suggest a location not too far from where MadRiver dispenses his magic? Where the AT crosses 25A, coming (northbound) off of Mount Cube. You will find few non-thru-hikers in that area. Assuming, of course, that it is within a reasonable driving distance of your home.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jim lombard's Avatar
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    Great idea!

    How about at the tunnel that goes under I-93 in Franconia notch? Should be pretty easy to distinguish between thru-hikers and day-hikers.
    But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.

    http://www.onchristspath.com/4Kpage.html

  10. #10
    Senior Member askus3's Avatar
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    I am not going to say where to meet thru-hikers with trail magic in the Whites. Wherever, I am sure they will enjoy. What I will say is that I supply a gallon of Poland Spring water to the Wildcat Shelter 2 miles north of NY 17A about once a week in the evening when the camppsite is occupied. If there are thru-hikers there when I visit, I also have a six pack of beer and some other lemonade or other beverage for underage hikers. There was a 5 year old girl there Saturday who loved my Welch's Grape juice (10 oz. bottle) and she was no thru-hiker but she did hike in with her dad 5 miles so deserved something for the effort. I do this from the beginning of June thru mid-August and it is greatly appreciated as the only water there is a slow moving puddle (swampish). I freeze the water a few hours before I go so it is still half ice when I get there. I find by bringing the water in and taking out their garbage is really appreciated. I have seen bottles at the roadsides where the AT crosses, but then they have to carry them in with them. So by me walking the 2 miles in with the water takes the load off them and they love my garbage removal offer.

    So if you hike in a little to a small campsite that might be occupied and there is little water, that might be a good location for some surprise trail magic.
    Last edited by askus3; 06-27-2005 at 03:06 PM.
    Aaron

  11. #11
    Senior Member Rick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mohamed Ellozy
    May I suggest a location not too far from where MadRiver dispenses his magic? Where the AT crosses 25A, coming (northbound) off of Mount Cube. You will find few non-thru-hikers in that area. Assuming, of course, that it is within a reasonable driving distance of your home.
    Mohammed - I breifly thought about that spot, but is not the pancake lady right down the road there, IIRC??
    Thanks Rick
    'course there's nothing wrong with pancakes for breakfast, lounging on the lawn and then moseying over for some BBQ and cold drinks!!!
    Rick

  12. #12
    Senior Member funkyfreddy's Avatar
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    Another example of trail magic might be offering thruhikers a shower, a place to stay, or a ride into town to visit the post office or laundary.

  13. #13
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    I usually hand out candy bars while hiking, and give lifts while driving. One other much-appreciated service is to accept smelly trash which might attract varmints if carried to the next trash bin.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick
    I would think a quiet spot where the trail crosses a very lonely backroad would be the best place to really surprise thruhikers.
    Note that goodies are most appreciated in the middle of a section, someone who has just resupplied in town has probably just pigged out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim lombard
    How about at the tunnel that goes under I-93 in Franconia notch?
    That's not the AT, which is down at Whitehouse Bridge with no local road access

  14. #14
    Senior Member woodstrider's Avatar
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    trail magic

    What a good person you are to offer this to the thru hikers. I would have recommended that you go on to Wingfoots website (Trailplace) which is about the AT, to ask where, but Wingfoot looks down upon such acts of generosity as being out of sorts with a "wilderness" experience such a the AT.


    If possible, try to place yourself in a section of trail where there is no town handy, thatis where the need would be the greatest, maybe in Maine in the hundred mile wilderness area. This would be rather remote. That said , I would say, anyplace you can get to will be much appreciated. Locate a road crossing with a large Parking Area.

    Bless You
    Solvitur Ambulando
    "...Go ahead"

  15. #15
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    A little bit out of the way would be south arm road crossing north of Andover ME or the height of land crossing north of Rumford . Both of these crossings are on very tough sections and there are no stores nearby. Long falls Dam road is another great spot, but a bit longer drive

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