According to the Oxford English Reference Dictionary “magic” may mean “an inexplicable or remarkable influence producing surprising results.” For hikers of the Appalachian Trail it means relief from the weary, but rewarding, trek for many miles for many days. Sometimes it comes in the form of drinks planted in a cold stream on the trail.
A tad below magic is what might be called “trail gift”: an invitation for a hot meal, a shower, and a bunk for the night. Other times, just a ride into a nearby town qualifies. In Maine, with population centers scattered over the 200+ miles of the trail, the “magic” is less likely but more appreciated, than in the more populous stretches of the trail.
The first opportunity beyond the border with New Hampshire emerges after facing the rugged Mahoosuc Range in Oxford County, from Riley Township, Grafton Township, Andover West Surplus, and the East B Hill Road crossing in Andover North Surplus. The crossing is seven miles from Andover village, a general store and restaurant. A ride to town (and maybe back to the trail) certainly would be a “gift.”
The next opportunity for trail relief is Carrabassett Valley, near Sugarloaf Mountain. This crossing is on combined route 16 and 27, about eight miles from Carrabassett Village. If you go over Sugarloaf Mountain, the hike to the road is shorter but you will have to retrace your steps to rejoin the trail.
Monson, many miles distant, is home to Shaw’s Boarding House and other resources. According to the Bangor Daily News, “Situated on the Appalachian Trail, Monson has welcomed and aided hikers for decades and became the first Appalachian Trail Community in Maine (designated by the Appalachian Trail Conservatory) in the summer of 2012.”
Sarnacki, Aislinn. “Hikers bask in ‘trail magic’ in Monson.” Bangor Daily News. September 22, 2011. http://bangordailynews.com/2011/09/21/outdoors/hikers-bask-in-%E2%80%98trail-magic%E2%80%99-in-monson/ (accessed May 5, 2014)
Sarnacki, Aislinn.”Monson names the first Maine Appalachian Trail Community.” Bangor Daily News. July 18, 2012. http://bangordailynews.com/2012/07/18/outdoors/monson-named-the-first-maine-appalachian-trail-community/ (accessed May 10, 2014)