“The trail will provide…”
All PCT hikers are familiar with that phrase. When I first heard it, I thought “Bull, provisions will be provided to those who are self prepared.”
Slowly, I found out how wrong I was. The trail in it’s own weird way does provide, if you’re receptive to see it.
When I was low on water, it rained or a seasonal stream was flowing just perfectly and strategically placed in my path. If I was hungry for a snack, fresh blueberries, huckleberries and raspberries lined the trail. If I was tired and slogging, my view would open up to a field of colorful wild flowers and mountaintop vistas filling my senses and refreshing my spirit. If I was lonely and lacking inspiration, I’d cross a WA-thru hiker or a NOBO that would tell me grand stories of what lay ahead, urging me further.
I encountered my first “Trail Magic” at Hart’s Pass. I thought SOBO hikers would be exempt and miss all the kindnesses offered by Trail Angels catering to the NOBO herd. Not expecting to find anything along the trail, I wandered into Hart’s Pass campground, like a lost child and heard a man shouting “Hiker! Hiker? Hiker!” directed at me. I responded, that yes, I was a hiker on the PCT, heading South. He then said “Trail Magic, come with me”… so I followed this stranger into camp, not knowing what to expect.
I found out his name was “Meander”, a self proclaimed “trail slut” and a PCT enthusiast. He rented out the group site for PCT hikers and invited me to stay there, which I happily accepted. He offered me sandwiches, potato salad, oranges, soda and beer. Which I also happily accepted. I was humbled by his kind gestures and a little in shock and amazed that “Trail Magic” was a real thing.
I chatted with him for quite a while listening intensely to his exciting trail stories before two other WA-Thru hikers joined us. It was quite an amazing experience to meet total strangers and to be talking instantaneously and candidly like we have known each other our whole lives. These are the moments that make the trail. 🙂