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…Walking out of the woods and up to a random road in North Carolina, myself and a few others see a sign on a post that reads in big bold letters, “TRAIL MAGIC.” The two sweetest words a thru hiker can ever hear or see.
It’s only 350 yards, so we turn right at the road, go up the driveway, and up onto the porch. When we get up there, we notice several other packs and then they all happen to walk out the front door.
“You guys have no idea what you’re in for…!”
I’m thoroughly excited at this point, giddy like a little girl, and the owner of the home walks out and says, “welcome home,” with a big smile and welcoming arms.
We all meet, and they usher us in to be fed.
Of course I’ve got something else on the ‘ol list of priorities, so I ask where the restroom is. Obviously I’m great with first impressions so I plug up the toilet.
This is like an awful scene from a movie that’s painful to see.
I shut the water off to the toilet to prevent it from overflowing, go out to the dining area and have to ask, in front of everyone present including the mans wife, if there is a plunger I can perhaps use. No problem, he scurries downstairs and comes back up with one. He offers to take care of it but I decline.
Don’t want to make matters more awkward. You know you’re dealing with a gracious host when he says, “trail food will do that to you.”
I take care of it, turn back on the water, and go back out to enjoy the best meal I’ve had since my mothers last home cooked meal (you’re welcome, mom). Belgian waffles, beef stew, and some sort of decadent ice cream cake. Fo’ real? They were such an amazing couple. Their log cabin house was beautiful and they had all sorts of AT memorabilia all over. They’d actually thru hiked it back in 1999.
So after dinner they began asking some deep questions and it wasn’t long until I realized they were Christians who were using this trail magic opportunity as a ministry to reach out to hikers.
They offered us some books to take with us if we wanted and I took one by John Eldredge called Epic. He wrote probably one of my favorite books called Wild at Heart. Anywho it was great to get to meet them and see such a unique ministry like that.
Unfortunately I feel like many hikers were put off by the agenda and some felt like they’d been mislead into it by the promise of trail magic.
I however felt uplifted by the moment and wish them the very best in their continuing efforts!
Jimme “Walk and Eat” Jackson
Jimme “Walk and Eat” Jackson, pictured left, is currently walking and/or eating and or/blogging his way up the Appalachian Trail. Check out his posts and his many awesome pics right here.
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