In the world of hiking there is something known as ‘Trail Magic’. It is most commonly discussed when people are doing long distance hiking trails like the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail or the Continental Divide Trail. Trail Magic is when your headlamp runs out of batteries and you stumble into the shelter in the dark and find that someone has left enough batteries with a note saying ‘I packed extra, I hope someone else can use these’. Trail Magic is when someone else goes and puts sodas in a shelter so thru hikers are surprised by an unexpected Coca Cola. Trail Magic is when you are in need and the Universe provides. It doesn’t make sense, but it happens…and it’s awesome.
We drove from Manley Hot Springs several hours to Fairbanks where we restocked on groceries at Safeway and caught some quick wifi so that we could update our webpage. We dilly-dallied a little too long and found ourselves pulling into Denali pretty late. We went to go acquire our campsite. Full. No Vacancies. Shiiiiiit.
Trail Magic #1: We wanted to set up our camping for the next several days, so we put our lack of a spot for the night on hold as we figured out our plan. We asked about vacancies over the next couple of days, specifically at Wonder Lake. He looked in the system and found that someone had cancelled his or her one night reservation for the following night. Trail Magic. Wonder Lake is usually filled up months and months in advance and it is very difficult to find a spot. We just walked up and were able to get one, amazing!
Trail Magic #2: We paid for our Wonder Lake spot and for our three bus tickets for the following morning. After that we asked where would be a good place to camp for the night before our bus the following morning. The attendant took a camping reservation from the pile to the left of the register, handed it to us and said ‘have a good night!’ Confused I tried to pay and realized it was one of those situations where he was doing us a favor and needed us to just say ‘Thanks!’ and walk away. I walked back to the car and watched as people in line behind us asked about spots and were told that the campground was full. I looked at our camping pass. It did not have our name on it, but it looked like someone had made a reservation for three nights and only used the first two. We not only had a spot, we had a free spot. Trail Magic. If you are in need, the world will provide…sometimes.
When we arrived we had no spot to camp for the night. When we left we had acquired a spot for a night and booked a night at Wonder Lake, the preeminent campground in Denali National Park.
Thank you, dude working the counter! Thank you, Universe!