I got to the Maine border August 1st. I'd seen a few south bounders before this. It was always good to ask another long distance hiker who has been over the trail section I'm heading into if they have any tips.
One guy who made the most difference had come through the White Mountains. I met him at the frat house in Hanover, New Hampshire. He told me he had more food after finishing the Whites than when he started because he ate at the huts. Every day, after the guests were fed, he'd eat leftovers for a buck.
Well, that sounded really good to me.
Resupplying before the Whites, I took four days of food, not too heavy, and planned on capitalizing on that perk.
Sure enough, it was just as he said. One really decent morning, my friend and I ate blueberry pancakes, syrup, and steaming hot coffee, all we wanted for a buck a piece. The crew was mopping the place, stark naked except for aprons, and just asked if we'd mind eating outside so they could finish their jobs.
No problem, we chimed. Excellent!
We did a work for stay at the Hut of the Clouds, sleeping on the tables after the guests were fed. Our jobs had been to wash dishes. Worked.
South bounders can give you a heads up on the town you're approaching, avoid the certain restaurant cause they give small portions or don't let you bring your pack inside. They can warn you about shelters over run with local thugs.
By the same token, if they ask you for tips, you can give them good information. Some hikers are too nosey, too bossy, or just give a bad vibe. I'm not saying I'd talk to everyone I met.
But if the situation is good, it can really be a benefit.
One thing I always hated was meeting hikers who had an over competitive chip on the shoulder, comparing miles, weights, and expensive gear. My favorite quote "In the end you find no one wins, and the race was only with yourself ."