Angels and Magic in Georgia

Now that I’ve crossed into North Carolina (one state down, 13 to go), I can say that Georgia certainly set the bar for trail magic.

In case you don’t know what trail magic is, it’s when people set up at a road crossing or parking lot with food and drink. Sometimes they actually hike the food in and pass it out on the trail. Food you can’t carry with you on the trail. Fresh food. 

Those people are called trail angels and to hikers they are truly angelic.

We (Rollie and I) experienced our first trail magic at Gooch Mountain Shelter. As we were dropping our packs and yanking off our sweaty top layers, Matthew strolled into camp with a small backpack and asked if anyone would like trail magic.

Heck, yeah!

And he pulled out a bag of potato chips, a package of Snickers bars, and apples.

The next morning, we ran into a giant tent where Benchmark Ministries was making breakfast for all of the hikers who are passing through. A dozen hikers sat in camp chairs enjoying breakfast sandwiches made right there, oatmeal, grits, juice, coffee and hot chocolate. 

On a cold and foggy morning, a hot breakfast served up by Benchmark Ministries really hit the spot!

I can’t explain how nice it was to sit in a chair with a back and eat like a civilized human being…from plates and cups with real utensils instead of from a bag with a spork. 

The very next day we climbed Blood Mountain. Of course, no one expected trail magic at the top of the highest peak on the Georgia portion of the AT, but there was Chewy, 2022 thru-hiker, with a backpack full of cold soda pop and beer. 

Rollie and I gratefully accepted a Dr. Pepper and Sprite.

Slim Pickings and Ron enjoyed a beer at the top of Blood Mountain, courtesy of Chewy.

The very next day we descended into Tesnatee Gap to find yet another hiker feed, this time courtesy of Bobby, Mitzi, and Barry. They do the feed every Sunday and Monday from mid-February through mid-April.

Bobby is a cancer survivor who heard God tell him to care for hikers. He listened, and we felt truly cared for. They grilled up hot dogs and even had a black bean burger for me. Homemade salads, fresh fruit and veggies rounded out our meal. They even had electrolyte drink packets, hot chocolate packets, and Advil packets free for the taking.

Rollie and I had no problem climbing Wildcat Mountain after the meal provided by Bobby, Mitzi, and Barry.

As we were on our way to the next water source, an anonymous trail angel left trail magic in the form of clean water. Not having to walk to the source and filter water saved us about 20 minutes.

Hooray! Clean drinking water! Thank you, whoever you are!

As we descended into Unicoi Gap early one morning, we couldn’t believe our luck—three trail angels were set up with trail magic.

Possum (I called her Awesome Possum) and Sugar Britches (because she enjoys the finer things in life) had a full hot breakfast of sausage, biscuits, and eggs, orange juice and coffee, and boxes of free snacks.

(Awesome) Possum and Sugar Britches served up a hot breakfast.

Bandit had a truck bed open with fresh donuts, bananas, soda pop, and chips. 

Bandit (in orange) had a truck bed full of treats. He’s standing with Nope and Not Yet.

Another form of trail magic came from Hailey. We decided to dip into the tourist town of Helen for an off-trail dinner at the Hofbrauhaus. We had fun chatting with our waitress, Hailey, about hostels and thru-hiking. Before we knew it, she delivered Apple Strudel a la mode with Bavarian creamher treatfor dessert. “I just wanted to give you some trail magic,” she said.

Hailey and Carol

The next morning as we headed back to the trail, Tony and his dachshund, Monkey, were the last of the Georgia trail angels we met. Tony handed me a bag of apple chips he had dehydrated himself.

Tony and Monkey

While the Georgia trail magic was incredible, it’s a double-edged sword. You get amazing food, but you also don’t lighten your pack by eating what’s in it. 

Still, I’ll gladly take a heavy pack if it means getting a little magic and meeting angels. 

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 5

  • Kelli Ramey : Apr 5th

    What a nice rendering and tribute to the trail angels. Nice to put names with faces, too.
    Thank you for taking us along.

    • Carol Fielding : Apr 6th

      You’re welcome! Trail angels keep hikers fed and spirits high. Seeing trail magic at a gap or road crossing really improves the mood.

  • John Johnson (JJ) : Oct 7th

    Thanks for the article. I found your post from a google search. The information was spot on. Im reaching out for some additional info, please.
    I live in GA, am semi retired, and did alot of hiking back in college. Im interested in becoming a trail angle. Anything from hiking in supplies, or setting up my pickup at strategic locations in GA.
    My request: Could you give me some suggested locations to get stated at. Im not detailed smart about trail areas, such as “three forks”, so if you could give a common geographical reference to the area that would be great too.
    I appreciate any help you could give me, so I can start contributing my share.


What Do You Think?