Project Description

Trail Angels is a portrait of four legendary yet unsung heroes of the Appalachian Trail. Meet Baltimore Jack, Mala, Trail Angel Mary and Miss Janet-- four working class Americans who open their hearts to seasonal “thru-hikers” by performing random acts of kindness known as “trail magic” for the long distance hikers of the “AT”.

Mala, a Vietnam Veteran and recovering addict lives on the AT out of his pick-up truck with his beloved black labrador retriever, 'Tucker Dawg'. Mala’s “Mayhem, Madness and Magic”
sometimes means following a befriended hiker from Georgia to Maine offering wisdom and “cold beer” along the way.

Trail Angel Mary Parry, formerly homeless, lives in Duncannon, Pennsylvania, a half way point on the trail, the local chicken “Wing Queen” saves money working overtime at a roadside pub during winter. Come hiking season, Mary spends her modest savings hosting free “hiker feeds” in her back-yard and “cooler drops” at the town’s trailhead.

Miss Janet, single mom and long-time divorcee from Erwin TN, has turned her small home into a low cost “hiker hostel”. Her Southern hospitality is legendary on the trail and the front porch of Miss Janet’s House is lined with hundreds of empty hiking boots turned into flower pots.

Then there is Baltimore Jack, the consummate loner-turned-sage of the AT. His “certain kind of madness” is revealed as we hear his tale of hiking the AT in its entirety eight times! Even as he wraps his bum-knee, he shares knowledge often painfully earned with laughter.

Through the tender eyes of these Trail Angels we witness how hiking the AT and the focus it demands, spiritually transforms the hikers, people from all walks of life, awakening their sense of connectivity to each other, the earth and the moment. Yet the stimulating stream of hikers who pass through the Trail Angels’ lives leaves them lonely and blue during the cold off-season. Between the hikers’ hope and the angels’ sacrifice, an unexpected picture emerges of an overlooked America where those “out of step” with the mainstream create a linear community based on kindness that stretches 2175 miles up the East Coast.