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Trail Angel Stories: Public Lands

Trail Angel Stories: Public Lands

I heard laughter through the woods but, knowing we had friends ahead of us on trail, I didn’t think much of it. Our friends saw us first and shouted through the trees, “They’re leaving soon! Trail magic! Run!” Journey Man and I booked it to the road.

Two pop up tents, several tables, a grill, three hammocks, and an outdoor shower stood before us. My eyes darted between all of it…where do I go first!? “Burgers…fresh fruit…soda…” the hosts were listing off. Ah yes. Food first, of course.

“Take as much you’d like! You’re probably our last customers of the day!” I took that to heart and made a double cheeseburger, loading it with fresh veggie toppings. “Who’s gonna help you with that?” my friend Biscuit asked. “Me, myself, and I,” I told him before sitting down and going to town. After demolishing my burger, I went back for a banana, an orange, and fresh cherries. “I can’t believe you packed that away,” Biscuit said. I couldn’t believe he was so astonished! 

I sat near the group of trail angels as I nibbled on my fruit. I learned their names were Big Momma, Kitchy, Tim and Michael. Big Momma has been trail angeling for years and just looped Kitchy into it a few weeks ago. “I just love it,” Kitchy gushed. “It’s such a great community, you hikers.” Big Momma also roped Tim and Michael into trail angeling. “It’s their first trail magic,” she told us proudly, “and they did pretty good for their first one!” “I‘ll say!” I agreed, licking my fingers. Tim and Michael work at Public Lands, a gear shop in Medford. They had a table full of goodies like fuel cans, bug, spray, mini soap dispensers, and much more—all free to hikers! 

“We just love you guys,” Big Momma said over and over. “I hope you have a wonderful adventure. It’s really a wonderful thing you are doing, and we’re happy to support.” She sent us off with hugs and more I-love-yous.

I believe it is a cool thing that we are doing, thru hiking. It’s just as cool that folks who aren’t thru hiking recognize it as “a cool thing” and want to help. They give so much to us and ask for nothing in return. I hope they know that they are such a huge part of what makes thru hiking so cool; their love has a lasting impact, and many of us will pay it forward in our lives ahead.

- Mantis
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