Ashley LodatoBy Ashley Lodato

Darel and Dona Martin of Piggy D’s BBQ haven’t been in touch much lately, but they’ve been busy grillers this summer! Since April they have competed in 12 competitions and in general placed within the top 10 among the best barbecue cooks in the nation. They recently returned from Smokin’ in Mesquite, Nev., where they were grand champions among 54 of the top teams in the United States. (Google “Washington Couple Wins Mesquite” for more details.) After a shot at the $50,000 cash purse at a competition in Laughlin, Nev., later this season, they’ll finish up the year in Las Vegas at the Invitational World Food Championships.

I bet Teresa Skye was wishing for something hot off the Piggy D’s grill as she walked her way through the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon this summer. Yes, I’m pretty sure that somewhere along those 200 PCT miles (she had done the other 250 miles in previous years), as Teresa dug into yet another bag of trail mix or cooked up yet another cup of noodles, she thought about how good a finely grilled chicken sausage might taste.

It’s too late to treat Teresa to a mid-hike meal, but there are still plenty of through-hikers out there on the PCT, all of whom are hoping to hit the Canadian border before the snow flies, and some of whom might need your help. Mazama and Winthrop are the last towns these hikers will see before they finish and some of them need a night off or a resupply between Stehekin and the trail’s end.

Teresa and her partner, Dave Ward, are “trail angels”—fellow hikers who offer other hikers a ride, food, or a place to stay. They’ve had quite a few hikers spend the night at their house and Teresa reports that all have been polite, grateful, and quite fun.

So if you’re up at Rainy Pass or Harts Pass and you see a scruffy looking person with a pack needing a ride, don’t be afraid to help out. You don’t even have to feed them pork chops, but maybe if Piggy D’s wins it big in Laughlin, they’ll provide brats for all.

In other long-distance hiker news, Brian and Amy Sweet reached the terminus of the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail last week (which they did to “rest” after running a bakery in New Hampshire for a year), hitting Mount Katahdin, Maine, on a blustery day. The Sweets are now busy packing a U-Haul to move back to the Methow Valley, after two years away. There’s no place like home.