|Trevor, Josh, and Matt... the AT Boys|
They're called SOBOs, Appalachian Trail hikers who go from South to North on the 2200-mile wilderness trail that stretches from Maine to Georgia. Along the way these free spirits are treated to "Trail Magic," gifts from locals ranging from bottled water or candy bars to a dinner or an overnight.
Trail Magic in Rumford: We hosted 3 SOBO hikers this past weekend on a "Zero Day" (i.e., no miles hiked). Trevor (trail name Crunchmaster, Tennessee), Joshua (Milk-run, North Carolina), and his second cousin Matt (no trail name, NC) enjoyed a couple of dinners, big breakfasts, movies, and real beds here in town (about 25 miles from the AT crossing in Andover). But there's more to the story:
The AT Boys were contacted by the Maine Game Warden Service to join the search for a missing hiker from Tennessee. According to logs on the trail, it seems these 3 may have passed this hiker up near Lone Mountain by Sugarloaf Mtn. Without hesitation, the boys took an extra day off from their schedule. At 5:30am on Sunday, Brock Clukey, a Maine Game Warden and also one of the wardens featured on the Animal Planet show, North Woods Law , picked up the 3 so they could show the search teams where they believe they had passed the hiker, a 67 year old woman. After a 15-hour day, Trevor, Matt, and Josh returned to a lasagna dinner and chocolate cake.
This morning, I dropped them off at the AT crossing on East B Hill in Andover so they could head off toward Grafton Notch with the goal in a few days of reaching Gorham NH, the gateway to the White Mountains. Long term: Trevor's plan has him finishing the trail in November while Matt and Josh are thinking December.
Each of the boys is keeping a journal of his adventure. Trevor's is online both on Facebook (Trevor's 2013 Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail) and on the AT Journals while Matt and Josh are keeping hand-written journal books.
We enjoyed hosting Josh, Matt, and Trevor this past weekend and we wish them all the very best as they test themselves on the Appalachian Trail. Godspeed and best wishes from Rumford, Maine!