The Double Meaning of Trail Magic

While reflecting on the incredible journey so far on the AT in Helen, GA at the Alpine Village Inn for a restock and first zero day, I want to share the story within the story. While hiking on other adventures I have noticed more subtle magic happening and was hopeful to witness that again…well…it has happened.

I had brought a Scout Bearikade bear canister to store my food while not in an official shelter site. The downside was, where was it most comfortable to carry in my backpack? ( It is larger than a gallon paint can) After the first week and hiking over Blood Mountain slack-packing where you needed a bear can to camp, I ditched the bear can and bought a food bag, like everyone else… I then was taught the PCT hang..thanks Chad 😀

One night just before dusk, I searched for that perfect tree to suspend the bear bag. It was a bit further from camp but the hang went easily. In hiking to camp, I kept looking back towards the tree to be sure to find it in the morning. The next morning…..for 45 minutes, those nagging voices in my head were saying, you shouldn’t have hung it so far, I know it’s not over that ridge, well crap..where is my bear bag?….so frustrating…I went back to camp and started over sure it was in THIS direction.

As I stood in the woods, looking up into the trees, I said out loud…”I need some help”..”Help me find my bear bag hung in these trees”. In no more than 10 seconds a huge barred owl caught my eyes with its greater than 3 feet wingspan and gently landed into the treetops. Gees, I’m thinking…he’s so beautiful… he sat still… I looked in the direction he was facing and said, “OK then,” and began walking in that direction.. .that direction I had convinced myself my bag couldn’t be… on the next ridge…

Once on the other ridge I still didn’t see the hanging bag but just ahead a small bird was chirping… the only sound in the woods other than my own footfalls… I followed the sound of the chirping bird. It stopped. I stopped and looked up and there it was! I thought grey is not a good hanging bag color..retrieved the bag and thanked nature for all their help! I honestly can’t believe that’s where I had hung it the night before, but that cup ‘o joe tasted exceptionally good…

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Comments 4

  • JG : Apr 17th

    Thank you ! I needed to hear this, for reasons that have nothing to do with hiking. However, as a solo backpacker, this is a great reminder that we are merely visitors on the woods.

  • Jimmy2gs : Apr 19th

    Thank you for your posts. Keep on pushing up the AT and posting your exploits. Be safe🙂

  • Jean H Fowler : Apr 20th

    So Fun! Love your journey tales. Keep sharing

  • sandra hooten : Apr 27th

    Thank goodness for mother nature. So glad they helped you find your food bag enjoy!!!


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