A Tramily Changes the Mood of a Hike

I lay in my tent, in a beautiful field, somewhere past Erwin, Tenn. I felt like absolute garbage. The day before it had snowed and I only made it four miles out of Erwin, to the next shelter. Mileage wasn’t shaping up very well. I had only gone seven miles and I needed to put down five more if I was going to catch my trail partner, Dorothy.

But I couldn’t.

I couldn’t go any farther. My body felt sickly and my cough was tearing me apart. For the first time, I set camp up completely alone. Not only was I feeling bad physically, but I felt bad for not catching my trail partner. Dorothy is a beast. She knows where she’s going to be and when she’s going to get there. She’s on schedule and knows what she’s about. However, I realized that this wasn’t how I needed to hike my hike. We had previously talked about splitting up, just in case, but I didn’t think it would happen so soon. I love Dorothy and I began my journey with someone who I could count on and look up to, but I needed to chill and she needed to push on.

Over the next two days I was working hard to make up the miles I had missed out on. This also involved me bumping into a few people I had met toward the beginning — Mountain Cat and Leslie Knope. Next I would occasionally see Paul Bunion, as well as Sparky. Mountain Cat and Leslie Knope had been together since Georgia. Sparky would hike with them, too. Sparky had also hiked with a guy named Cobra, who was currently in the process of trying to catch up to them.

Roan Mountain and the three balds that come after Roan gave me a particularly hard day. Roan was frozen and the balds had high winds that actively pushed me around. I eventually got to Overmountain Shelter. As I walked up the stairs I see Mountain Cat and Leslie Knope. “Hey! Come over here!” Knope said, and patted the ground beside her.

It was super sweet and I was pretty excited about not being alone for the night. These two girls are hilarious and made me laugh so I was put to ease about a lot of the things I was stressing about.

I had heard of trail family but never understood what that meant.

Mountain Cat invited me to spend time with her, her family, and the trail family at a cabin that her mom rented. (Thank you Mama Mountain Cat, GaGoo, and Pap!)

We watched movies, drank beer, ate like kings, warmed up in a hot tub, and all around had a bonding experience. The group slack-packed for a day and then took three zeroes (lol). I guess you could call us lazy hikers. I had a blast and loved getting to know these folks.

(Trail fam plus Mountain Cat’s fam)

We got back to the trail and I really felt good about these folks. While my pace is slow and easy, they tend to stop and smell the roses a lot so I don’t worry too much about catching up to them. I’ve come to realize that to me, it isn’t about where and when I end, it’s about my day-to-day experience. This group makes the day to day so much more fun. I had become pretty negative about the trail until I found these guys.

Also, shout-out to one of my other trail sisters, Lindsey Brown, who came and followed us around for a few days. Feel free to check out her Instagram: @Lindstakesphotos

Every day is something new and fun. While I know that everything can change quickly, I feel very lucky to have found a tramily like them. I’m thankful for my experiences and I will hold onto these memories for the rest of my life.

To follow along with the rest of my tramily, here are their instagrams:





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