Mail Magic! I was very excited to retrieve several goodie boxes waiting for me! All from YouTube viewers who I had never met before, but who wanted to help. Thank you to everyone for all the support! *Click 'SHOW MORE' below for more notes about this video...
Even from the very beginning of this adventure, friends and sometimes complete strangers, sent messages asking if they could please send stuff. For the longest time I would just reply, “Thanks very much, but I can handle it on my own” or something like that. Even when money was actually getting tight I was still reluctant to take what I considered handouts.
During my time hiking with Sipsey, we talked about gifts and accepting generosity. He eloquently explained it to just think of it like trail magic. Viewers and friends of the trail genuinely care and want to see hikers make it all the way and complete the trail. It also helps them feel closer to us (other YT hikers received mail magic as well).
When I almost had to come off the trail in New Jersey, even more new friends wanted to help! The new money from my Grandmother was a huge help, but finances were still going to be tight. A replacement camera and the higher cost of everything in the north was not helping either. So I took Sipsey’s advice and started excepting the offers.
I would provide town names and post office addresses where I would be stopping down the trail and the boxes started showing up a couple weeks later and I was overwhelmed by how nice people were!
(0:17) The first package was from Williamston, SC, from Z28WTW (Wesley, Kacie, & Parker), who lived just a few miles from my house! I was very surprised to receive a new headlamp as the strap on mine had broken, and then soon lost altogether. So it was pretty handy to have hand-free light again.
Between these three boxes, there was more than enough goodies and treats to get me to the next town. Some of the tasty items people sent were: Mashed potato mix, tortillas, power bars, candy, fruit snacks, beef jerky, a Mountain House meal, summer sausage, pasta sides, trail mix, powdered milk, tuna, coffee, coco mix, and lots more!
It felt like Christmas every time I opened one as I had no idea what may be in each box. Some had little surprises I was not expecting and fun new foods to try out like handy little packets of almond butter. Some other helpful items included were extra zip lock bags and batteries.
I was also really touched by the nice letters people sent and included them in this video. They showed how these nice folks who made-up and sent the drop boxes, did so out of the kindness of their hearts and really had an interest in the trail and wanted to keep the videos coming. I still have them.
Thank you very much Wesley, Kacie, & Parker from SC! Mark, aka Tick Bait, in KY! And One Foot and his wife (Ray and Cheryl), from Connecticut, whose card included the quote “Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves.”
The way things happen, this video then again produced more friendly folks wanting to help. To my surprise these drop boxes would keep coming and each and every one helped me get further up the trail. They were sent from MANY states in the US, several from Canada, and even a US solider in IRAQ helped me out!
I choose not to show it in the videos, but some of the boxes I received also included cash! I did not expect that at all, but was very helpful. Some may send a $20 bill along with their note. Others would send a letter or card with a $100 bill in it! There were lots more gifts that I’ll talk about along the way, with links to previously unseen, unboxing videos in these description. - some you may not believe!
Thanks again VERY MUCH to everyone who helped me on this trip, even if you just watched these videos. I felt a lot of love and energy from all who followed along.
(4:20) Thanks to my new AWOL guide, I found that Kent was 1461 miles away from Springer Mountain, Ga, with 723 to go. I had been hiking without a guidebook of any kind, all the way from Delaware Water Gap. In town, I checked out Backcountry Outfitters. This was an ice cream shop with a limited selection of gear. I asked for The Thru-Hikers' Companion and the nice lady offered to order me a copy… to be picked up next week. I didn’t think she quite understood the concept of the AT and had to explain that I was actively walking north along it, and not coming back.
Instead, I bought the AWOL guide and after a little getting used to, found it helpful. The main difference is that the AWOL has an easy to read elevation map on each page and the text info is more straightforward. While the Companion has more notes about interesting history of different areas and stuff to do in towns. Both had some misprints and mistakes, but either one will do the trick and are indispensable. My buddy Sipsey actually carried full editions of both books and compared them when making plans.