When I hiked the AT, I had no idea who might enter my life. I had read about trail families, fondly referred to as tramilies. When I saw Spirit in a shelter in The Smokies, I immediately knew I wanted to talk to her. Unfortunately, that first evening, Spirit was wrapped snug as a bug asleep by the time I had settled down in the cold damp shelter. I figured I could catch a word in the morning, but when I awoke, she was long gone. It was another day of cold, wet rain. With head down, I headed to Clingman’s Dome. Cold and wet, I met Tinkerbell and we decided to hitchhike to Gatlinburg. The next morning, I opened the door to do my laundry which was across the hall and there, before my eyes sat Spirit.
Spirit, would become part of my tramily and a life long friend. Next would come Whatever Works, Lambo, High Top and Momo, 10 Bear, Little Bear, Saint Nick, and Lindsay Taylor Jackson. Being in a tramily has the same dynamics as a real family. That is life. There are ups, downs and distance.
As I headed out on the PCT, I wasn’t looking for a tramily. I was coming out to morn the recent death of my father, who was an avid outdoorsman. The first day on trail, the people that passed me weren’t very friendly. Barely acknowledging me as I said hello. That was fine with me. As I set up my tent that night though, two young men camped near me and were very polite. We shared a few laughs before the rain chased us into our tents for the night.
Somewhere around the end of day four, Kyle entered my husband Tom’s and my life. Tom had hiked out to met me at Mount Laguna. I had passed this man who was catching his breath. We exchanged greetings and as I mentioned Tom to him, Tom appeared on trail. Kyle asked if he could join us, as his wife was waiting for him at Mount Laguna. We said yes, and he fell in step behind us.
Kyle and I have been hiking together ever since. Tom and Kyle’s wife Amy and dog Betty have been helping us both move north up the trail. Some nights we camp on trail, but slackpacking has become our favorite mode of travel.
For now, we travel together. In the future we will part on the trail when I am done with my section hike and he continues with his thru. One thing I know, we will all remain friends long past the trail.
“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore.