I’m trying not to take advantage of the generosity of Trail Angels, to avoid feeling frustrated if I have to wait for more than 15 minutes for someone to stop what they are doing in order to load smelly hikers into their cars to take them into town. When I hear: “You just put your wallet away right now. Getting your mouth next to a juicy burger is just as good as public service. That reminds me, I’ve got some chips right here if you want something to snack on during the ride,” I’m not thinking about taking rides (and food) from strangers, I’m thinking that Doritos are my new favorite chips, and that everything moves so much faster when I’m not seeing it at hiking speed. I have to remind myself that it’s not normal to expect a car filled with refreshing snacks to wait for us at deserted road crossings in the middle of no where. But it’s hard when these things happen all the time.
The Trail Angels I’ve met thus far sound like normal people. They have jobs. They have families. Responsibilities that would prevent most people from adding one more thing to their already overwhelming to-do lists. I’ve tried to put myself in their shoes (not literally obviously, as my callused and fragrant feet would demolish the average citizens footwear), but I have a hard time seeing the payoff for aiding destitute-appearing clusters of hikers. I guess I need to spend more time on the Trail to gain a better understanding of these unusual creatures.
Until then, I’d like to share a few sketches of some recent Trail Angels. I’ve undoubtedly missed several. But right now, sitting in an air-conditioned hotel room with a full belly, and a renewed sense of optimism in the potential for humankind’s goodness, I recognize that a lot of people have helped me to get here and keep me on the Trail. This includes you as well, my supportive readers.