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About 1000 years ago, people made pilgrimages on foot to sacred sites, like 
Santiago da Compostela in Spain. Some of these pilgrimages were thousands of 
miles. The pilgrims were protected under the law. People en route were 
expected to help pilgrims (trail magic) by providing them food and shelter 
and assistance. Pilgrims were instantly recognizable by their dress (like 
thru-hikers) -- in fact, the dress served to identify them as members of this 
group. The most noticeable item was a clock, used for weather protection and 
sleeping. They also carried a hiking stick, a mess kit, and a shell as an 
emblem of their journey (Do AT hikers still carry pebbles from Springer to 

Seems like not much has changed in 1000 years! 

Karen Berger
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* From the AT-L |  Need help? http://www.backcountry.net/faq.html  *