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Trail Angels Help Travelers on Pacific Crest Trail

An article in the Chicago Tribune by Chris Erskine began: "By any measure, the Pacific Crest Trail is a beastly thing, an angry anaconda that slithers up the entire length of California and all the way to Canada, some 2,650 rugged miles. That's approximately 6 million steps—some of them glorious, many of them merciless." Sounds like life, doesn't it? Countless rugged miles. More steps than you can count. Some glorious. Many merciless.

The Tribune article focused on the people who take it upon themselves to help the hikers on that grueling trail. They open their homes for the weary travelers and provide meals, mail service, and help. They're called "trail angels." The article said, "But along the way, mercy is at hand." "Trail angels"—that would be a good description of Christians interacting with others in the world.

The article focused on Donna Saufley and her husband who "set up tents and a trailer to handle the spring crush." She calls their home, "Hiker Heaven." According to the article, "She talks fondly about the payoffs of being a trail angel: witnessing the hikers' emerging humanity, their grit, their brio, and the inevitable baring of souls. Traveling the trail 'is humbling,' she says. 'I compare it to the peeling of an onion. You see people for what they are.'" Like the church.

She and her husband will host 1200 people in 2015 in their ordinary home. They don't take any money. She says, "I always say that it's a river of life that washes up to my shore." The article concludes: "[Donna Saufley] loves it when her sanctuary is filled with hikers. [She says,] 'The sounds of conversations mingling with music and laughter is divine to my ear.'"

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