Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gingersnap, Our own Trail Angel

This was the day we were only needing to hike 6 miles before hitting Winding Stair Gap, and heading into Franklin, NC.  We woke up to blue skies, but about 39 degrees.  Brrr.  We decided to pack up and hike 2 miles to the nearest shelter for a hot breakfast.  Along the way, we spotted this:

It appeared to be a HUGE bear bag, but with a big plastic blue tub in it, way too big for anyone to put in a backpack!  We read the laminated letter on the tree, and it was a note from Gingersnap, a thruhiker from 2011 who was leaving her own trail magic for hikers.  She said in the note that everyone was so generous to her on the trail, that this was her way of giving back.  She said to help ourselves to cake or cookies, and had lots of encouraging words about just keep making it to the next trail town to the north, and eventually we would find ourselves at Mt.  Katahdin.  It really was the sweetest letter, and I wish I had a copy of it, because as I read it, it brought tears to my eyes.  We lowered it, but it was empty.  The note even apologized for it being empty, that she would resupply as often as possible.  We left a thank you note anyway, and headed up the trail.
When we got the next shelter to eat breakfast, we found something else really amazing.  A 4th grade class had "adopted" the shelter and left a water-proof box of "Appalachian Trail Activity books" - the cutest thing ever.  It was handmade, and full of facts about NC, as well as jokes, handmade mazes, and word finds.  They also had a bulletin board where they had provided water qualify graphs and charts, and we were relieved to find out that the spring there was in fact a good source of water.

We headed on down the trail after lunch, and came upon Amtrak, who was waiting for a shuttle into town right where the road met the trail.  All of a sudden, a car pulled up, and a cute, bubbly, redhead jumped out and yelled, 'Are you guys thru-hiking to Maine?'  We yelled, "yes," and she said, "Do you want some cake?"  We yelled, "yes," again!  I said, 'Are you Gingersnap?'  And she said that yes, she was.  So glad we got to meet our very own trail angel.  She had 3 bags of cake - it looked like she had made 3 different 13x9 cakes, cut them in squares, and then put them all in ziploc bags.  She said she comes once a week to resupply her box that we found hanging up in the tree.  I took her picture with Keith and Amtrak.

- Steady and F100

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