I met one such person as I embarked on the second leg of my journey.
Leaving the town of Patagonia, AZ, the trail follows a dirt road for 7 miles. Road walking is not my favorite. It's easy hiking, for sure. But more often than not, it's pretty boring. Just trudging along, kicking up dust, and looking out for passing pick up trucks. Thank goodness for iPods.
After getting my tent up and changing into camp clothes, the owner of the RV, returned from a hike, approached my camp to say hello.
"Oh, it's nice to have some company." he said. "I haven't seen many people along this stretch of trail for a while."
He then told me that he had cooked up a big batch of chili earlier in the day. "I was actually thinking that it would be nice to share the chili with somebody and now, here you are! I'd love to offer you some dinner, if you would like to join me."
How can you turn down an offer like that?
Turns out this guy, Al, is retired and spends the winter months traveling around in his RV with his border collie, Nellie. In the summer, he hails from Colorado.
So we ate some delicious chili (with chicken and green chillies), compared travel experiences, suggested hiking spots, and told stories. Nellie looked on, hoping for some dropped food and staring at Al adoringly.
In the morning, as I finished packing up camp, Al came over with the offer of coffee or hot chocolate before starting out for the day.
On the trail and in life, trail angels abound. Sometimes you just have to keep your eyes open and accept an offer of friendship, no matter how brief. It makes the walking so much sweeter.