Week 7 on the Appalachian Trail & Tramily Matters
Hello Friends! We keep on keeping on! This week we had a boost of enthusiasm as All Day’s brother came to hike with us for the week. We three made a nice little tramily.
Enjoy the journal, some thoughts on tramilies and photos at the bottom.
Campsite by the creek. Mile 563.9
This morning we woke without an alarm and it felt really snuggly in our tent with her quilt. We got up and got our day going. I hit the trail around 8 AM. We passed the 1/4 GA-ME point!!!! Wowza!!! That felt so good.
It’s really lovely to be in Virginia, but today certainly had its challenging ups and downs across the train. We went through some beautiful fields and saw some cows we had to climb over several fence structures that are like ladders made of wood designed to keep the cows in their pastures. We had lunch at a really nice pavilion with some pine trees and cooled off quite a bit in the shade.
One of our water sources was crystal clear today just beautiful water. We came to the place where we had to forward the creek which was about knee-deep because the bridge had gotten washed out two years ago. It was fun to cross in our sandals. The water felt good on our feet. After we set up our tent, we decided to enjoy the two beers that Paul packed out and stood in the creek.
All Day’s brother, Luke joined us today and we gave him the trail name Last Minute. He accepted it! He is Last Minute because that is how he likes to plan things. In fact, he was waiting on some items for his weeklong backpacking trip with us to arrive the day before he was scheduled to fly out.
We awoke to Birdsong and owls. The trail took us uphill for several miles, and there was a pond at the top that was spring fed.
The terrain was rather rocky.
There was a shelter that has a door like a cabin, which was very nice.
We were ready for lunch, but pushed on so that we could meet Luke close to his arrival point.
We were so happy to see that Luke was able to get in exactly as he planned and came to meet us heading southbound. We are so excited to hike with him.
We showed him the rhododendron and the mountain Laurel like we were showing off new furniture to a visitor at our home.
Relaxing in our tent, listening to the gentle rain and the birds song it’s so good to be here.
Mile 594 – Helvey’s Mill Shelter camping area
It was a nice leisurely morning in the previous night had a gentle, rain fall, and owl sounds.
The day was beautiful the temperature was quite comfortable for hiking. We had lots of ups and downs today in Virginia. We had our break a really lovely Creek nice bridge across it and some large flat rocks that we were able to relax on.
Our hike took us over an interstate and on a paved road and then we were able to take another up that was reminiscent of our time in Georgia.
Water was sparse over the course of the day so we had to plan to spend the night at the shelter, and we are fortunate that Bill, who owns the land adjacent to the trail, brought plenty of water for all of the hikers.
This was the first time we had really gathered around a fire with anyone that was fun. And we met an astronomer, and they are rare.
We had a fun evening meal visiting with everyone who was camping in the area. There was good cell service here so everyone seemed to rest in their tents talking to loved ones afterward.
My foot is feeling much better and didn’t cause any sharp pains today which was exciting. Squatting to pee is still hard on the knees.
Campsite for three up on a hill.
We slept in a bit and had a leisurely morning being the last to leave camp. Another beautiful day in Virginia and the terrain was kind as well. Water was scarce so we had to make good water plans as we went.
All Day helped Last Minute get his pack adjusted so it feels more comfortable.
It felt great to make it to the 600 mile mark today!
We are having a great time hanging out with Last Minute and hiking with him makes our adventure seem a bit more leisurely. That leisurely feeling is very timely.
Even with our slower pace we are still on track. Our average over the past 45 days is 13.45! We have also devised a plan for the next several days that will continue to keep us on that course.
Since our resupply at the store was on Wednesday, we are pretty low on food and looking forward to getting a little bit extra at Trents Grocery tomorrow and then getting our resupply box at Woods Hole hostel on Wednesday
Best day yet on the Appalachian Trail! A few miles down the road and found the suspension bridge across which was some trail magic. They had some hot food and lots of snacks, and other items that hikers would enjoy .
We took the .5 walk down the road to Trent’s Grocery where we enjoyed some hot food and we got a little resupply. Not to mention some milkshakes. Paul had a pint of vanilla ice cream. Luke seemed impressed that he could eat it all. We packed out a six pack of beer. Paul carried it.
Afterwords, we headed down a blue blaze to a waterfall with a beautiful pool where we are able to swim in our undies.
After drying out in the warm sun, the perfect time of day for a swim we headed down the very flat path that took us almost all the way to our campsite.
We just have to climb quite a bit to get to the ridge and after we set up our tents, we took our dinner and enjoyed a beer down to the Lookout .1 mile away . What a beautiful view of mountains in the valley below it was a lovely rock outcropping.
Woods Hole Hostel
We woke to a beautiful sunrise. It was cooler outside, so we wore our pants as we began to hike.
We made it to Woods Hole hostel nice and early. I was able to have a fresh cup of coffee and we enjoyed all of the amenities including snacks, showers, laundry that took forever and even some resupply. The Hostel is a really lovely little farm and they grow lots of greens That they incorporate into their meals.
We charged our electronics. And relaxed. We also got a resupply box and feel pretty good about our upcoming meals. we saw familiar faces and enjoyed interactions.
There was also yoga in the afternoon, and then I really delicious vegetarian dinner.
This was the best food we’ve had the whole time. There was rice and a bean corn pepper, tomato concoction that we put over the rice and ate kind of like a taco salad with cheese. It was the lettuces, apples, carrots, homemade dressings, bread, and butter. we were all so happy with our meals .
After dinner, Paul and Luke played cornhole with another group of people. The bean bags have been homemade, and they were blue, blazes, and white blazes.
Finally, Luke’s laundry was done. We could go up to our tents and get ready for bed. Lots of good relaxing today.
Mile 644.2 Rice Field Shelter camp area.
We woke this morning at Woods Hole hostel and enjoyed some coffee and porch time.
They brought out some hot bread, butter, apple butter, and strawberry jam. We left camp about 8:15.
We found a few really nice lookouts, and also the most beautiful, rhododendron tunnels, complete with mountain laurel of pink and azaleas of bright orange. Walking the ridge with these flowers, was like being in a botanical garden.
Then it was time to walk down the hill we saw lots of millipedes more than any other time, and some of them were gathered into little piles, and so we figured that those were Millipede orgies. When it’s time it’s time.
The downhill tires us out pretty much and we were able to take a nice break at the parking lot before finding some street walking and then up again.
Water sources have been dry and we were fortunate to find some trail magic of water jugs by the roadside.
Dry water sources ended up taking us further than we really wanted to go today which led to an 18.7 mile day. This is the longest day we’ve had in quite some time.
As we made our way up the ascent, the rain started, and then things cooled off. We were very happy to find the pipe spring in good condition just a short ways from camp. We were able to set our tents up and have dinner together and Luke’s tent, which is a lot of fun. We also enjoyed our beers.
Luke is a real champ. His backpack currently weighs around 40 pounds and he is still in good spirits hiking so far with it maybe tomorrow will have a more relaxing day.
All day, and I came to the trail together as a husband and wife. We have an existing commitment to one another and our desire to hike. The trail includes being considerate of each other’s needs as we hike neither of us would ever question that.
Many people come to the trail on their own. Some people come with hiking partner, as did we. We’ve met people whose hiking partner changed their mind and left the trail early on. Even when you want to be alone out here, the a T is not a solitary trail.
Over the course of our 670+ miles we’ve seen a variety of tramilies. A tramily, is a group of people who form an intentional trail family on the trail. This could be over the course of their Appalachian Trail adventure, or for various parts of it.
The trail seems to connect people anyway and for people traveling at the same pace, or finding commonality it isn’t unusual for them to continue to hike together.
What does the commitment of a tramily mean? It means attention and companionship, from someone else striving for a similar goal as you. Are developing a relationship with someone you may have never met before.
It could mean a feeling of competition that encourages you to strive to meet your goal. It could mean that you feel held back or operate a little slower because maintaining that relationship is a real driving force.
We’ve met Tramilies who won’t acknowledge other hikers easily. Other tramilies have seemed very open and friendly.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have a weeklong experience of having a tramily and my brother-in-law, Last Minute was the perfect person to accompany All Day and I on our journey.
The fact that we’ve known him for quite some time it’s helpful and he has been happy to go along with our plans, knowing that he was just here for a certain period of time. He’s been able to carry his 40 pound plus backpack up and down all of the hills without any complaints.
Having him here has injected our experience with enthusiasm. The past week has felt like a real camping vacation. There has been much laughter and fun. The three of us strode together down the path with conversation, and it seemed brighter than it had for some time.
For All Day and myself the trail has become a full-time job with extended hours. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the benefits aside from the end goal another perspective has enhanced ours.
Just as any relationship takes work, I imagine that it must be hard to maintain a tramily over the course of a through hike.
People may be cast off, get left behind or maybe they decide they want their pace to be different. Dramas likely unfold that make it difficult to maintain a positive relationship on the trail.
Now that we are going to be empty-nesters, I can say that the reverberation of our tramily time will no doubt encourage a greater sense of lightheartedness over there remainder of our journey.
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