Friday, May 27, 2022

The All-Important Hiker Tramily

Have you ever heard the word “Tramily”? We know, of course, our regular family, but to a hiker, Tramily means the hiker family, and a unique and special family at that.

After walking thousands of miles of trails, I am happy to say that the experiences have knitted me with many wonderful hikers that have become a “tramily”. We share our love of the great outdoors, meeting in ways we knew would never be possible if not for the trails we hike. Many times, we are out on a trail and suddenly a fellow hiker starts to show up each day. We see them at the shelter area at night or while

gathering water or at a trail intersection or in a trail town resupplying. Recently on my Pinhoti Trail hike this past spring, I had a chance to fall into company with a young hiker, Ruby. She far outdistanced me with speed and strength on the trail. But she hated hiking in rain. I usually walked in rain if I had a particular destination in mind, so we ended up seeing each other frequently. And with that, we developed a comradery that lasted off and on for a few weeks. Sadly, she eventually outpaced me and went her merry way on the Benton MacKaye Trail, but I’m thankful for the time we did spend and our many adventures. The hike on the Pinhoti also knitted me with a hiker friend I first met way back in 2007 on my first AT hike while in the Great Smoky Mountains, and because of that, we connected. I spent several days with her hiking, especially the boring road walks of the Pinhoti, and as a guest in her home.

I stay in touch with many of these great hikers through social media. But I also gather with hikers when I can to see each other face to face and share adventures over meals, workshops, and visits. This past winter, I headed for Florida for the annual Billy Goat Day 

which is actually a birthday celebration for an extraordinary hiker, Billy Goat. Now it has become a gathering for Florida Trail hikers. I see old and new faces, and we share food and conversation. After that, I was a guest speaker at the outdoor She Can Adventure Summit for women and again spent time kindling new and old friendships and sharing my love of the trails and tramily through speaking and my hiking adventure series of books.

Just recently there was the big hiker gathering in Damascus, Virginia each year called Trail Days, and again hikers by the hundreds come to see each other and have fun in the friendliest town along the Appalachian Trail.

Trails are much more than just a walk in the woods or putting on miles to reach a destination. It’s also an opportunity to meet hikers and develop everlasting friendships, making the tramily a growing part of our lives and the hiking experience.

I look forward to hearing of your tramily experience – feel free to share in a comment to the blog or use this Contact form! And If I have met you on the trail or a gathering, let me know where and when as I count you as part of the Tramily.

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