From Trail Magic to Tramily
In my first 200 miles on the Appalachian Trail, I have been blown away by the kindness I’ve been shown. I knew going in that trail magic was a big part of what makes thru-hiking the AT special. I had no idea how quickly I would feel the impact.
As you may know from one of my previous posts, “Conquering the Approach Trail”, Miguel and I hit some obstacles during our first few days. We were so stoked to make it to Neel’s Gap and had intentions of finding a place to stay off-trail for the night. We did not plan ahead and as we sat inside Mountain Crossings, trying to get warm while we called around, we quickly found that nothing was available. We hadn’t considered that it was the Saturday of Valentine’s weekend.
At this point, smelly, tired, and in desperate need of town food, we knew we were going to have to hit the trail again and keep it moving. Little did we know that someone nearby overheard us and was ready to share some trail magic. A fellow 2021 thru-hiker named Dave (“Spotter”) overheard us calling around and had recognized Miguel from his YouTube channel about our journey. He was accompanied by the lovely Rayven and Rhonda. They all decided to invite us to come stay with them at the cabin they had rented in Blairsville for the evening!
This was our first real experience of trail magic. And it didn’t stop at a warm place to sleep in a comfy bed (which would have been more than enough). They took us to the local grocery store to do a full resupply and drove us to pick up pizza and beer. We showered at the cabin and washed all of our clothes. It really doesn’t get any better for a thru-hiker.
Spotter and the Gang
So the very morning Spotter, Rhonda, and Rayven drove us back to Neel’s Gap was the day he was heading up Springer Mountain to start his own thru-hike with his friends “Packman” and “Gadget”. We hoped they would eventually catch up to us, given our slower pace. Well sure enough, with said pace mixed with not one but two double zero’s, they caught up to us at the NOC! Miguel and I have only spent the last few days hiking with them and already know we want to spend the foreseeable future with them.
Road Trip to Paradise: A Trail Name Story
So initially, Miguel and I did not want to give each other our trail names. Not unless we were pretty far in and still had none. Well, at mile 152.9, after two days with our new group, we both got trail name suggestions and both accepted. Mine was well earned. As I may have mentioned, I am clumsy. That being said, I have tripped on more rocks, roots, branches, than I would care to admit. Our new group picked up on this quickly. Gadget says “in your travels, you have tripped a lot so I think we should call you “Road Trip”. I laughed, then quickly and graciously accepted.
In the same lunch break, the group also notices Miguel’s very blue and very tropical hat. That, paired with his St. Pete “no worries” attitude, they quickly offered up the trail name “Paradise.” So in short, we will now be collectively referred to as “Road Trip 2 Paradise”. We now feel more official than ever.
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