Bubbles, “Tramily” and Friends
The Bubble is Changing
I started this trek March 10th. It seemed in the beginning, as though I would constantly see the same faces. I enjoyed this for it gave me a sense of friendship. These hikers either passed me or I passed them. Whichever the situation, we would exchange a short conversation and a hello by using trail names. It Reminds me of my small hometown, where everyone knows each other’s names.
Bubbles on the AT are identified by groups of trekkers that hike at approximately the same speed. Within the bubbles “Tramily” (trail families) start to form. Unfortunately, these “tramilies” come and go. In my mind the bubbles pop and a new trail family starts all over.
Various factors cause these divisions. Sometimes it’s injuries, sicknesses, or zeros (rest day) taken at different times. And of course, often people decide to leave the trail. Many events can change a bubble.
I find the bubbles to be exciting, it’s an opportunity to meet knew people. The flip side of this for me is I know the bubble will soon “Pop”. At this point, I may not see that person again. This is sad for me, because caring for each other on the trail is so strong. I believe we have to watch out for each other and encourage each other. Conversations are needed for those of us that are “Extroverts” and of course laughing at just about anything.
The great thing about the AT is if I hike far enough, I will enter a knew bubble. Here the process will start all over again.
“Tramily” coming and going has opened my eyes to how precious my friends are off the trail. They are constant, they are not in bubbles. They are always there, and for this I am so grateful.
I have been beyond happy to have two friends drive to meet me on the trail. Not only did they drive 18 hours, they both brought all their gear and gave the white blazes a solid three days.
One night as we arrived at camp, their bags opened disclosing many surprises. Out came amazing food and a fry pan. I thought to myself, “Fry pan? I haven’t seen one of those for two months”. The aroma of red hotdogs, baked beans, and burgers filled the air. I really haven’t stopped laughing and smiling since they arrived.
Approaching 700 miles
Virginia is long, 550 miles to be exact. As I entered Virginia I thought to myself, “Sure do hope I like this state because I’m going to be here a long time”.
Rice field shelter in Virginia was my destination for this particular day. It was hot and the water was sparse. I had in a sense let my guard down, I thought it was going to be an easy hike. I was wrong. The day consisted of a 7 mile up, with some switchbacks thrown in to alleviate the leg pain. I just kept praying, “Jesus take the wheel” and one foot just kept moving in front of the other. Thank you Jesus!
As I finally heard a trickle, I was much relieved. It had been 10 miles since my last water source. When I am hot and water is non-existent, the sound of a trickle, trickle is like Christmas. It makes me do my happy dance!
After my water fill up, I did my final push to get to the top. The view was stunning, yet the space for tents was limited. I was extremely overwhelmed with joy when 5 day hikers let me set up beside them.
Once I did my usually end of the day chores, I was pleased to join them for supper. We all picked the perfect rock for our butts and devoured our gourmet noodles and cheese.
The laughing that took place is exactly what I needed. This group of 5 women were on their annual camping trip. In fact, their big trip last year was hiking in Colorado together. There is something special about a group of friends in the woods, laughing and eating together.
I could have stayed on my rock and visited for hours, yet my tent was calling me. I thanked them for letting me crash their party and crawled into my tent. I was able to doze off to sleep by the sound of them laughing, talking and more laughing. It was as beautiful as a nice little lullaby!
The word on the trail is that “it” (the trail) always gives ya what you need, I thanked God this great night!
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I really enjoy your posts! Your perspective is great, and I appreciate the wonderful details you share. I love that you’re clearly not 21 (like me) and yet you are out there doing it. Please know that my daughter and I are following your journey, sending up prayers for you and wishing you lots of sunshine and trail magic. Share your gear list if you get a chance!! — Fireball
Fireball & Laughing Loon,
I am also following this blog and encourage the Loon to write more often as well as continue to stay hydrated.
She is an inspiration to us all.
Happy Mother’s Day weekend to you both…
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