Trail Magic at Woody Gap, Tesnaste Gap, and Deep Gap

Getting to Woody Gap

After leaving Gooch Gap, I stopped to admire a view. Fatman, a local day hiker who retired to the area from Atlanta 7 years ago, pointed out Horseshoe Ridge (photo above)  and Springer Mountain. He said that about 20 days per year,  it is clear enough to see as far as Atlanta.

I knew the next stop,Woody Gap, had toilets and garbage cans. I was looking forward to both. Little did I suspect what would also await me.

What Is Trail Magic?

Trail magic is when something is unexpectedly provided on the trail. It could be food, water, a ride into town, or other assistance. Sometimes trail angels post on Facebook that they will providing trail magic or they do it weekly. Other times, it is totally unexpected!

Trail Magic at Woody Gap!

Two women from Georgia and two from Indiana met on the trail in 1994. They have provided trail magic for a few days almost every year since then.  When I arrived at Woody Gap, I saw several familiar hikers, enjoying their  trail magic. The women  provided an abundance of food, including hot dogs, chips, soda, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and more. I didn’t eat any of that. Instead  I enjoyed a hard boiled egg, a handful of baby carrots, 2 brownie bites, and several sections of a tangerine.

While I was eating, more people from my night at Gooch Gap Shelter arrived. I was so excited to experience trail magic for the first time. Below is a photo of me and the trail angels.

Day Hikers I Met Before and  After Woody Gap

While Michelle and I soaked our feet at Justus Creek (before Gooch Gap), two women arrived with day packs and camp chairs. I thought they were quite plucky carrying chairs on a day hike. Michelle and I later caught up to them and learned they were section hiking the AT as day hikers.

I was delighted to see them the next day at Jarrard Gap, where I was camping, along with Joe, who was out for 2 nights. I was so happy to see them as the hikers with whom  I’d spent the last few nights couldn’t camp at Jarrard Gap  because they didn’t have bear canisters. (I am carrying a small bear canister.

Malia and Kris are below. I wish them well on their section hikes!

There were other day hikers I met two days in a row, including Tim and two men. All were section hiking the AT.

Trail Magic at Tesnatee Gap

After a long, hot day of hiking, I spent the night at Spaniard Knob Campsite with two women and their extremely well-behaved dogs. The temperature was quite mild and I enjoyed my best  night’s sleep on the trail.

Hiking the next day, I was surprised to find trail magic at Tesnatee Gap, provided by King Tut and Rick. King Tut has been doing trail magic for 19 years and Rick for several years.  They are at the gap Tuesdays and Thursdays in March and April.

They were just setting up, offering  not only a large variety of food, and hot and cold beverages, but also hiking supplies of all kinds. I ate a cream filled, chocolate covered donut and a banana, and topped off my water. I was very appreciative. King Tut and Rick are below.

Trail Ambassadors

Trail Ambassadors are volunteers, who provide information to hikers, among other tasks. Some spend nights at shelters and others are out for the day. I had the pleasure to spend a night at Gooch Gap Shelter and Campsite with CJ, who shared useful information about the trail and his experiences.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Mountain Goat, a Trail Ambassador who volunteers while out for the day and maintains some of the shelters. The first time we met, we chatted for quite awhile. The second time, she told me there was a water source ahead on the trail, which saved me from making a descent. The third time I met Mountain Goat was in North Carolina! She covers a large territory. Such a treat to meet 3 times! Below she is with another volunteer.

Trail Magic at Deep Gap

It was a cold night at Bly Gap Campsite in North Carolina.  With the wind chill, it must’ve been below freezing. Several groups of hikers were doing their best to stay warm, including huddling around a fire. I was happy to see Seth and Lucy arrive before I dove into my tent and sleeping quilt. (We had shared a tent pad at Gooch Gap).

The next day just happened to be my birthday. I enjoyed receiving text messages, emails, and a phone call. What a delight to find trail  magic at Deep Gap! It was provided by a woman who had recently hiked the PCT, and her two friends, who drove all the way from Atlanta. I ate grapes, popcorn, watermelon, Oreos, ice cream bar, and Doritos. My appetite had become voracious!

I told all present, as well as several people I met that day on the trail,  that it was my birthday. Later, Seth gave me a Snickers bar as a birthday present, which I relished  after dinner. Thank you Seth!

The 100 Mile Point

Albert Mountain marks 100 miles on the AT. It has an early 20th century fire tower on top, which provides  a stunning 360 degree view. I was up there with many hiking friends, including Lucy, (Seth had already gone on), Josh, and Mouse Bait. (People are slowly acquiring trail names. I don’t have one yet). Here I am at the fire tower.

The adventure continues.


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Comments 4

  • Michelle : Apr 27th

    I am following your blog as a 50yo who aspires to thru hike the AT before my body gives out. Much respect for your pre-conditioning and mature approach to carrying a pack for 2200 miles. We’ve met so many amazing people on our section hikes, young and old alike, all with different reasons for embarking on their journey. Hope you meet many awesome hikers as well, and form a great tramily should you choose to do so. Happy belated birthday- no better place to celebrate another trip around the sun than on a long trail!

    • Phyllis Rubenstein : Apr 27th

      Thanks Michelle! Where there is a will there is a way!

  • Laurie Wood : Apr 27th

    Hi Phyllis – It looks like you are having a great time. So different than our skiing Mondays at Trapp. Hope to see you when you return. In the meantime, I will keep up with your adventures via your blog. Happy Belated Birthday! Laurie

    • Phyllis Rubenstein : May 5th

      So glad you are following my posts. Ski training theories actually help me get up mountains!


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