Tales from the Trail: Angel Edition!

In my first hundred miles I have encountered so much goodwill from people, I’ve decided to dedicate this entry to my trail Angels!

The Gulf Shores Crew


From left to right: Chance, Cheryl, Kevin, me, Michelle, Sarah, and Grant.

I met Michelle and Cheryl on the trail. We were roughly the same pace and I kept running into them when they’d stop for pictures. After awhile of leapfrogging down the trail, Michelle offered me to stay at their cabin at Vogel State Park. She assured me that none of their crew were ‘weirdos’ and sealed the deal by mentioning Sarah was fixing dinner. When I got to Unicoi, Kevin ran across the busy road to help me when he saw I was limping (my  knees are a bit of a curse). Sure enough, once Michelle and Cheryl came off the trail, we loaded up and headed to their cabin. Poor Sarah had blown out her knee during the group’s section hike and they had gotten a cabin as a last minute deal. The whole group treated me like a visiting dignitary! From loaning me shampoo, to letting me be the first to shower, they were so nice! I couldn’t even get up to get my own food. We spend the evening chatting and eating; Kevin earned his trail name ‘White Grapes’. I helped Grant fix the toilet, with excellent success! In the morning, Michelle handed me a new stove (mine  broke on day 2); an MSR pocket rocket! Chance gave me a spare fuel container and slipped me some folding money. Sarah and Grant offered to mail home my old stove and drove me back to the trailhead! I couldn’t believe the generosity of these people; we went from strangers to friends in under 24 hours. So, next time you think of a Florida beach vacay, try Gulf Shores Alabama instead; the people are simply amazing!


My Saving Sister

When I reached Top of Georgia hiking center (these folks are very awesome too; especially Dave!) my sister Brooke drove down to meet me. It was so good to see a familiar face! We chatted and drove around Hiawassee, then did lunch in Clayton. When my reservation was cancelled at the Budget Inn, Brooke drove me all over town until I finally found a room at the Chatuge Lodge (beautiful place btw). She even gave me a can of mace and a loaf of banana bread!


Mmm, good trail eats for a week!

David and Lorraine


I’m sure this couple has been on the Trek before, but they set up a nice hiker lunch of hot dogs, chips, oatmeal creme pies and Gatorade that was nothing short of magical! I don’t know if they get the same kicks from feeding hikers as I do from feeding wild birds, but they made me a happy hiker-finch!

Russell Stookey: Gentleman Driver

On my way out of Hiawassee, Mr. Stookey stopped to give me a ride to the trail. He and his dogs are so nice and he makes a point of looking after hikers. He warned me of some dangerous hitch hiking situations and offered his services as an attorney in Georgia should I need one. A very sweet man overall!

Dee: Nantahala Trail Club

On the Saturday of Easter, Dee was waiting at a trailhead passing out snacks to hikers. I was a little lonely and tired, and she sat by me and we had a lovely conversation about the trail, the local area, and life in general. She made me think of my grandmother with her easy conversation. If you want to support a trail club, I recommend Nantahala- after the fires last year they could really use the help!

So far my trek has involved so many wonderful encounters with so many good people. Although I had set out expecting my trip to be somewhat of a hermitage, I am constantly reminded of how interconnected we all are; friends, family, and strangers. When we all take care of one another and act with compassion, the world really does become a beautiful place!

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Comments 3

  • Jessie : Apr 17th

    Go Katie go! I love reading about your travels. You inspire me! ❤️??‍♀️???

  • Sarah Ilk : Apr 17th

    I can’t believe you’ve done 100 miles already, that blows my mind!

    I’m so glad you’ve been meeting so many wonderful and friendly people! No matter what tragedies happen in the world, I still think most people are as kindhearted as those you’ve encountered. And you’re definitely right about the world being a much more beautiful place when we pay kindness and cheer forward. I hope you continue to meet such nice people as you travel, and have enjoyable times while on the trail. Those of us back home (or thereabouts, lol), are with you in spirit!


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