Paul Puccio Provides Trail Magic on the PCT

Paul Puccio Provides Trail Magic on the PCT

Each spring, Backpacker's Pantry sends meals to Pacific Crest Trail angel Paul Puccio.

What is a trail angel? A trail angel is somebody who volunteers their time or resources to help hikers and trekkers when they need it most. This could mean giving someone a ride to or from a trail, hosting a trekker overnight, or providing free food to hungry hikers. The acts of kindness are also often called trail magic.

If you've ever been on a long thru-hike or backpacking trip, you understand how impactful trail magic can be. Though trekking is an incredible experience, it is also challenging- these trips are often long, physically demanding, and require a lot of resources. On trail, a little generosity goes a long way. 

Some trail angels, like Paul Puccio, go above and beyond when it comes to providing trail magic. 

Paul has been providing trail magic on the PCT for six years. His trail camp is located in Apple Canyon, which is about 5 miles down a spur trail from mile 169 of the PCT. 

"Each day, I hike different stretches of the PCT in this region to spread impromptu trail magic and surprise backpackers with useful gifts of gear and meals. It’s a huge pleasure for me to learn about folks and spread good will. Backpackers like to use my camp as a rally point to plan their next move in the town of Idyllwild, and I cook dinner and have bonfires at my camp every night," Paul said. 

Paul explained that Idyllwild is a "major resupply destination for hikers, and most folks don’t have a lot of food at this mile marker." This is part of what makes Paul's camp so impactful: he provides trail magic when it is needed most.

Paul shared that "the Backpacker's Pantry meals are a welcome surprise to all the hungry hikers. I get lots of positive feedback when they see the packaging, and their remarks are always something along the line of…'Oh you have the good stuff!' Or, 'I was hoping to run into you' or 'you helped my friends yesterday!'" 

"I got started doing this because I have been helped and encouraged by others on the trail as well. I’ve learned that sharing in another persons excitement validates their purpose, and all the folks endeavoring to hike up trail are living their dream. It just feels good," Paul said. 
If you ever find yourself on the Pacific Crest Trail, keep an eye out for Paul and his angel camp. And if you live near a popular thru-hiking trail, consider spreading a little trail magic of your own!
You can follow along with Paul at @Outside_Today_ on Instagram.