Mizpah Hut to Zealand Hut – 14 Miles
All morning we heard there would be trail magic at Crawford Notch. Sure enough, a peak bagger named Gridiot was there at the trailhead, cooking burgers and hot dogs for thru hikers. The cool part is, Gridiot was never a thru hiker and just wants to help others out. I ate two burgers and two hot dogs, which did not seem excessive at the time.
While the extra meal was a small miracle for my now raging appetite and helped me get through this section without having to ration my food so sparingly, to me the term trail magic has never been about free food. It’s a broader concept that refers to the way outdoor folks help each other out. Like how I almost left my hat behind but someone ran up the trail to bring it to me. Or how a trail angel dedicated an entire afternoon to driving a family into town for a resupply because their food drop didn’t make it. As they say, the trail provides what you need, not always what you want.
We all carry a yellow plastic tag on our packs that unites us as AT thru hikers on the same team, regardless of which direction we’re headed. It also makes us part of the larger tribe of folks getting after it in the outdoors – the peak baggers, the trail runners, the “croo” at the AMC huts in the Whites, kids on their first camping trip, and the enthusiastic day hikers – all trying to pump each other up about being outdoors. That’s the true magic about the outdoor community.