I hurried across a paved road and dropped my pack at the foot of a tree. Journey Man was going to watch my belongings as he filtered water. I was on a mission to find the privy.
I walked down a gravel road into a car campground. I saw RVs parked in a few campsites but no outhouse. I approached one of the families nearby and saw they were talking to another thru hiker, Slingshot. I waved in greeting before asking (hopefully not too desperately), “Do y’all know where the bathroom is!?” They gestured that it was just down a path to the left and one of the men called after me, “No toilet paper though!” I waved my own baggie over my shoulder as I was already scampering down the privy path, “I’m used to ‘bring your own!’”
When I was finished with my business, I walked back the way I came. I could hear the family still talking to Slingshot, and I overheard them ask her what she usually eats for lunch on the trail. When I approached, I smiled in thanks and secretly wished they would ask me the same question…because I was fairly certain what would follow. Sure enough, “What do you usually eat for lunch!?” I pretended to ponder, “Well…tuna, tortillas…” I trailed off and tried to look pathetic. The family laughed and told me Slingshot said the same thing. “Would you like something different today!?” “Heck yeah!” I pumped my fist in the air. “Are you walking with anyone else, or solo like her?” they asked me. “I am hiking with my partner, and man is he gonna be sorry he missed this,” I responded. “Well go grab him, but don’t tell anyone else!” The man said.
When I returned with Journey Man, the man (whose name we learned is Rob) had made up three sandwiches, one for each hiker. We sat and I tried not to eat too quickly as we answered their questions about our hike. Sandy, the only woman there, brought out a portion of her homemade broccoli salad for each of us. The other three men were named Derrick, Dan, and Danny, and they were accompanied by a doggo named Bella. Two other hikers walked past looking for the bathroom, and I stared back guiltily as they walked on without an invitation to join.
I asked if the family frequented this spot often, or if it was there first time visiting. We learned that their family has a gold claim up the mountain! The family has been gathering here annually for decades. Sandy described an event that occurred in her childhood when one of her friends dropped a flashlight down the hole in an outhouse. The group laughed and reminisced together. It was beautiful to see!
Today, these kind folks welcomed us into their family lunch and provided trail magic that made our day! Sometimes trail angels plan events for hikers, and sometimes they happen into some spontaneous magic making.