Twig Adventures

PNT Trail Angels & Trail Magic Recognition

The PNT was a real joy when it came to Trail Angels and Trail Magic. There’s a pretty amazing network of people dedicated to supporting the trail and hikers. The trail towns are generally small and quaint, with many businesses striking a nice balance between providing for-profit services and being generously giving of their time and amenities. As such, many of the examples I’ve listed below came from kind proprietors and organizations, not just individual Trail Angels. I wanted to recognize these many instances of kindness and support, and also hopefully urge future hikers to patronize the hiker-friendly businesses and organizations. My apologies if I neglected to mention something or someone. I do my very best to list EVERYTHING, even the smallest gestures, but some details inevitably get lost.

So many thanks to everyone listed here, in order of appearance:

Judy & Stewart, friends of my dear Aunt Peggy, who showered me with kindness and attention the minute I landed in Kalispell, MT. It was such a pleasure staying at Terrapin Organic farm for a few days while I re-worked my plans to do my Flip-Flop. I would LOVE to go back for a longer stay, benefiting from all the fresh veggies and getting my hands dirty in the soil. Judy makes this a magical and restorative setting, which was perfect for hitting the reset button before I began my hike.

Poppy, PNT alumni, and friend Corey, who gave me a ride all the way from Spokane to Oroville!

Havillah Church and Bonaparte Lake Resort…both are incredibly hiker-friendly stops in the Okanagan highlands. The church provides the most dedicated, generous and consistent trail magic along the trail, set in the most peaceful and beautiful little valley. It’s truly heavenly. The blackberry cobbler at the resort was also heavenly. The lakes are great for taking a swim.

2 hitches from HWY 21, one from a very nice van-lifer and new-to-Republic resident and another from a guy in a truck, visiting his fishing cabin for the holiday.

Kerrie, a phenomenal Trail Angel in Republic. She does so much for the community, from helping with the Food Coop, updating the hiker information board in the Coop, doing trail maintenance, and organizing women’s group hikes. She also gives numerous shuttles to the trailheads and offers additional support as her time allows. I was so very grateful for all her hospitality. Plus, she’s led a phenomenal career path and has some awesome stories.

Trail Magic: Hard Lemonade, leftover in the trough at Snow Peak cabin.

Travis & family that run Sitka Coffee in Republic. This cute little cafe offered some of the best bites along the trail. I can’t ever go back to live in Republic because I would become a serious burrito bowl addict there. I hung out at the cafe for a long while, drying gear outside and charging electronics and such. Everyone was super nice to me.

Sarah, who gives almost every hiker who comes through Republic a ride to and from the multiple trailheads. She’s also runs a dog rescue…a wonderful human being all around. She gave Honeysticks, Best Western and me a ride to Sherman Pass.

Heidi, owner of the Murphentile in Northport, who shared a beer and cool place to sit and take a load off. She also offered for me to camp in the lot across the street.

Couple on the road north of Northport, who gave us candy and apples.

Jen & Ty & family, who let us camp in their backyard, and showered us with food and drink during our stay. We had so much fun hanging out with them…a very chill and relaxing stop, away from everything.

Mary of Metaline Falls, who let us use all the amenities in her yard “The Garden of Weedin”, designed just for hikers. This was such a cute place, I wish I had stayed longer.

Couple that gave us a ride into Bonners Ferry and Sarah, who gave us a tour and ride out of Bonners Ferry.

WEBO’s wife that gave me soda while waiting for her husband at a trailhead.

Folks at Fiest Creek, who are very hiker-friendly. Thanks for the coffee and amazing Hiker Box!

Folks that give us a ride to Yaak in the back of their truck, plus beers!

Dan and Cedar, who gave us a ride out of Yaak and even offered several options for us to camp that night.

Couple that gave us a ride from Rexford to Eureka, so that I could make it to the PO before it closed.

Will and all the other interns who hosted me and a few other PNT hikers at their bunkhouse near Eureka. They also took us to the rodeo, lavished us with beers and food, and gave us rides around town. Also thanks for MEGAman for linking me up with all those crazy kids.

Jennifer and Tom, Great Western Loop Trail hiker Sloppy Joe’s parents, who gifted us a night’s stay in the tepee and walled tent at the Caribou Wagon Trail Camp, outside Eureka.

Oliver of the North Fork Hostel, who is so welcoming and supportive of hikers and adventurers. He held my box for over 2 months and fielded a lot of my questions over the phone. He’s a really nice guy and his place is really chill and lovely. It makes for a great base camp to explore GNP. I will definitely revisit some day.

Ranger who gave us a ride to the ranger station and family that gave us a ride back to Polebridge, after getting our permit. Also, some local guides gave us beers outside the Merc. I loved how friendly and happy everyone in Polebridge was.

Sarah and Jackie, who gave our packs a ride to Kintla Lakes, so that we could slack-pack for about 7 miles.

Three different hitches that got me from Many Glacier to East Glacier, about 70 miles. I’m sorry I didn’t record all their names, especially the last lady who was so very awesome, with so much in common.

Luna’s generosity and kindness at the Looking Glass Base Camp in East Glacier. This amazing lady goes above and beyond in helping CDT and PNT hikers. Follow her instagram @ Looking Glass Base Camp and you’ll get a sense for how busy she is… and a lot of the funny crap she puts up with:) She was really sweet to bring my packages over to Kalispell, after things got all messed up by my flip-flopping plans. It all worked out and I was glad to be able to stay at her place at the end of my Flip/beginning of my Flop.

Alyssa of Spokane, who lent me her trekking poles to use until I was able to get my Black Diamond poles back. I used them all the way through the Pasayten and NCNP.

The 5 hitches that gave Wolverine and I rides to get from Spokane to Oroville. It took all day but was fun and interesting. Plus we got to stop in Republic again to get burrito bowls at Sitka Coffee! Travis the owner gave us free lemon bars….yummm!

Alison, manager of the Camaray motel, runs an incredibly hiker-friendly business and is very supportive of the PNT. Her and several others in town have helped with improvements such as putting up signs and providing amenities at the hiker campsite. She held my package and offered us discounts on the room. She also gave all the hikers wings, beer and fresh local fruit while I was visiting. Sadly, I just learned that she’s moving back to New York, so I’m not sure what will become of the Camaray motel. Knowing Alison, she’ll find someone to take over that will be just as welcoming and accommodating to hikers.

Kevin, a guest at the Camaray motel, who gave us rides to Loomis so we could slack-pack the road walk.

Tom, a guest at the Camaray motel, who gifted us sodas and pizza. What a treat after such a long and hot road walk!

Andrew, owner of Ross Lake Resort, gave 3 of us a ride to Green Point Campsite in his speed boat. We weren’t even looking for a ride…he came up to us and offered! He even waited around for 30 minutes until we were done gathering our things. This 5 minute and very exciting boat ride saved us a 1.5 mile hike, which was huge at the end of a long, hard day and stretch. The resort is very hiker-friendly and supportive, playing a crucial role in breaking up a really long stretch and/or negating a long hitch. Yes, they do charge $20 to hold a package but they have to handle those packages for a long way via boat ride and transfers to and from the boats. I had a sneak peak of their storage area when I was allowed to find my own package and was surprised by how many boxes they had back there. Keep in mind that their floating platforms only allow so much room for things, and this fact alone means that hiker boxes are using a resource they have in very finite supply: space. So the hold fee is actually quite reasonable. They also supplied a nice hiker box, allowed us to use the bathroom, charge electronics and lounge on the deck for as long as we needed. Please be nice and respectful in return! It would really suck for future PNT hikers to lose this as a resource. It breaks up 2 long sections and there’s nowhere else in the area to resupply without a long hitch to Marblemount or Mazama.

Karaoke, who was kind to share her campsites with us for 2 nights in NCNP, after we failed in our attempt to get permits over the phone while in Oroville.

Guy who gave 3 of us a ride into Glacier and David, who let us camp overnight at his cool campground, Camp Baldy. He also gave us beers, snacks, and made a fire. He also gave us rides to and from, helping us get back to the trail easily.

Lady in a Subaru that gave us a ride from Baker Lake to Concrete. She also offered to let us camp in her backyard.

Cody, the barber at Hank’s Barber shop in Sedro-Woolley, who surprised the heck out of us by paying for our dinners at the the Mexican restaurant. He also did a nice shave of my undercut.

Dan of Sedro-Woolley, who helped me multiple times, letting us crash on his living room floor and couch and sharing beers (including his home-brews), food, and a great hiker box. He also gave us a ride back to the trailhead near Baker Lake and to and from town a few times. He helps tons of PNT and PCT hikers every year and is aspiring to do some long-distance hikes himself.

Mary & Marc Walker, plus Boon the dog!…I just can’t say enough about the kindness and generosity of this couple. I spent 2 days at their beautiful lakeshore house, like I was on vacation at a resort. A bubble of PNT hikers joined in and it was the best time, kicking off the start of so much fun through the Puget Sound. So. Much. Amazing. Food! We were not worthy! I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality. And I miss Boon, the most adorable Trail Dog ever.

Box of trail magic, thanks to Kelly and Debbie. Besides Havillah Church, this was the only “pre-meditated” trail magic on the PNT (the rest I classify “spontaneous”). It made us feel really special…not like we needed more special treatment after visiting the Walker’s, though.

Tom, who invited me to pick fresh figs and apples as I was passing by his yard near Samish Bay.

Marc of the Way Cool Barn, another unique and fantastic Trail Angel in the Puget Sound. Marc is such a sweetheart to share his “man cave on steroids” with all the hikers, including his fridge and freezer loaded with beers and delicious food, including salmon and dungeness crab. Marc was also kind to give us rides a ways up the road, so that we could slack pack and more efficiently split the distances between stops.

Skip of Whidbey Island, our fourth night in a row staying with Trail Angels of the Puget Sound! Skip picked us up from various locations along the route, then delivered us back to those spots the next morning (silly purists, even though none of us were trying that hard to be purists, we still did all the road walking through Whidbey). Skip also treated us to pizza for dinner and breakfast the next morning. Weeks later, I came back through the area and stayed with Skip a second night. The next day, he gave me a ride to Mt Vernon so I could go back to climb Mt Baker.

John and Rebecca of the Happy House. Though they weren’t officially hosting hikers this year, this couple have been legendary Trail Angels of the PNT for nearly a decade. I was lucky enough to catch them at home as I walked by. Their freezer had broken the night before, so they were giving away food to any passing hikers. One thing led to another and I was walking away with a borrowed bear canister, permits for ONP, and a bunch of other information they helped with and provided. I was showered with more treats when I returned the canister a week later. It was such a pleasure to meet them.

Dan and Lys of Port Townsend. Long-time bikepackers and hosts on Warmshowers.org, we had the fortune of staying a night in their lovely home. Dan also gave me a few rides to and fro, running errands in Sequim. This was the 5th night of a whirlwind tour of the Puget Sound Trail Angels, rivaling the amazing streak of hospitality I experienced on the Te Araroa. This week will forever stand out as one of the best on a long-distance trail, thanks to all these wonderful people along the way.

Mother and daughter backpackers that gave us a ride from Hurricane Ride Visitors Center ONP to Port Angeles.

Sweet family from Wisconsin that gave me a ride back up to Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center.

Scott, a trail runner that gave us a ride to Forks and later a ride to the hotel.

Wolverine, who treated me with a cupcake and beer for my birthday, and Costanza, who paid for the night at the hotel.

Two couples that gave us rides to the state park south of Forks and a motorcycle guy that gave me a Gatorade on a long road walk. At HOH beach, a former PNT hiker shared beers with us.

Local La Push guy that gave us a car ride around the Quillayute River.

Quetzal’s parents, who gave 3 (all they could fit) of the 5 us a ride from Lake Ozette to Port Angeles. Wolverine and I hitched part of the way with a family and the other part with a Coastie on his way home to Forks. We took a bus the rest of the way to Port A because damn, did we not use up a lot of our hitching karma this whole trip! I don’t recall if I’ve ever been so lucky and gotten as many awesome rides as on this hike. What stands out the most is how many families with kids and even little babies picked us up…5 or 6 that I can recall off the top of my head. I’m glad I can serve as a positive recipient of such generosity. Harmless, grateful, happy, and not even that smelly! Plus, I’ll get my rides free entry into National Parks if I can! Thank you to all for taking a risk to help me out!

Craig and Shiona of Northwest Mountain Shop in Sedro-Woolley, who provided gear and guide services for our big finale, a climb to the top of Kulshan. This shop serves as one of the few gear stores along the PNT. Craig’s good about giving thru-hiker discounts, so check out the store if you’re in the area.

The Pacific Northwest Trail Association, led by Jeff Kish, headquartered along the trail in Sedro-Woolley. The timing of my visits to Sedro-Woolley didn’t pan out for a tour of the office, so I couldn’t thank them in person as I’d hoped. But I can at least say here how very much I appreciate all the behind-the-scenes work this organization does to keep the PNT going! I did have the fortune of meeting several PNT trail crews, which I’m always so stoked to see and thank! Trail maintenance is one of the most important yet overlooked types of trail magic. What’s more magical than the trail itself?

A big thanks to Kelly, who was an all around Trail Angel and supporter. I first me her on the trail in NCNP, where I learned that she already knew of me from following my blog. She visited us while at Mary Walker’s house and also helped her friend make up a cute little box of treats along the trail. Weeks later, she lent a bunch of items to Wolverine and I for our climb up Mt Baker, then hosted us after the hike. We had such a nice visit at her house, playing with grandkids and bunnies. I’m honored to call her a friend now. Such connections are one of the most amazing things about thru-hiking.

Lastly, a huge thanks to Jenn and Jon, my good friends and long-standing Trail Angels of Seattle and Phoenix. I was hoping to see Jon at the end of this trip, didn’t pan out, but at least got to visit him earlier in the year in AZ. Jenn, his daughter, hosted me for a second time in Seattle (first time was the start of the PCT, 4 years prior). I had so much fun hanging out with her for a few days. Thanks so much once again, Jenn!

5 comments

  1. Have a good holiday season. Any plans on a return visit to silver? I’m looking at a summer long tour. Lewis & Clark trail?

    1. Next up is an exploration of Utah via the Hayduke route. I’ve covered quite a bit of the SW in NM and AZ, but almost nothing in Utah, so looking forward to it!

      1. Thanks for reply. I see that it’s an 800 mile trek. Spring time? I’m torn about hiking vs biking. Over the years, have acquired a fleet of bikes which have served me well for thousands of miles around the US, Canada and Europe. But to get away from the obnoxious motor vehicles… Best of luck on next and any future excursions.

  2. How amazing, so happy to hear of this big community of support out there❣️😎
    Wishing you a Merry Merry Christmas, Twig❣️
    You are amazing❣️🥰😎
    God bless and keep you safe, as you go, gal❣️🥾🥾🥾😃

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: