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  • Writer's pictureBlaine Hoppenrath

La Tramilia

Updated: Jul 22, 2019

La Tramilia, also known as the trail family, has morphed over the past two months. The trail family consists of people that I am hiking with. I didn't know them before the trail and we have all met along the way. They are people that I love, admire, trust, and most of all care deeply about. Without these people I would never had summited Whitney or over Forester. I would be relatively lonely and without the endless laughter. For better (mostly) and sometimes for worse (it sucks to say goodbye sometimes) La Tramilia has grown and changed over the past few months. No matter what, they will be the heart and soul of the trail.

The Current Fam:

Markia aka R2

I met R2 the day before I started the trail at Scout and Frodo's. I could tell by watching her interact with others that she wasn't intimidating and was someone that I could talk to (it was a very taxing day for this introvert). While there were a few weeks where we didn't hike together, I still consider us hiking together from the start. She is the most confident hiker that I have met. She doesn't every question her skills and talents and always is aware of how the group is doing to make sure that we all get to camp safely. And I should mention that she can outhike pretty much anyone. She can move, and it constantly motivates me to become a better hiker.

Carson aka Anita

Anita is the goofiest kid in the group. Okay, I get that he's not a kid but he is happy-go-lucky and is never in that bad of a mood. Anita and Big Gulps are hiking together and merged with our group somewhere around Tehatchapi. Anita has a knack for getting the best videos (like a video of me glissading but in reverse) and making great drinks for the group when the hotel happens to have a wet bar in the room.

Kenny aka Big Gulps, HOAR, Dwayne "Helmet on a Rock" Johnson, Names

Oh, Big Gulps. I honestly dont know what I would do without this kid. From our early morning Girl Talks while waiting for everyone to start hiking to his Bob Ross impersonations, this guy is the best. I love talking to him about his travels, his goals, and pretty much his thoughts on anything. He's the guy that after I've had a bad day offers to share his tent (becuase I HATE setting up my tent) and then proceed to keep everyone up at camp becuase we are laughing so hard (and then wake everyone up the next morning for the same reason).

Neil aka Diamond

Diamond started the same day as R2 and me. I remeber meeting him somewhere around Mt. Laguna where he was hiking with Fresh Potato. When Fresh Potato had to take some time off due to an injury, Diamond joined the group. This guy will do a lot for his family, including hike in six jars of peanut butter because the group was running low on food and needed the extra calories to make it to the next resupply. But don't let that kindness fool you, he will hustle someone (me) into losing a bet and then carrying a pound of peanut butter for him in the longest strech of trail.

I wouldn't have made it without these guys. We have taken care of each other and formed a special bond that I will always hold close to my heart. I really don't know if we will all make it to Canada on the same day, but this time in the Sierras has been some of the happiest I have been in a while. When the miles are tough, the group gets tougher. We joke and laugh and push each other to be better. The trail has provided me with these people and I have no idea what I would do without them. No Idea.

But I'd be remised if I didn't talk about some of the family that I am not currently hiking with. Becuase I miss them dearly and love the moments in town when I get to be in their presence.

Nat aka Bart

I had hiked almost every day with Bart everyday from Campo to Bishop. This woman is amazing. We bonded over our engineering degrees (she found out that she passed her PE exam on trail) and life dreams after trail. She is funny and happy and smart and I loved camping with her. At 5'2" she probably has taken more steps than anyone else on the trail, but she holds her own. She looks out for her friends and made my 30th birthday one of the best on record. The card that she got for me almost made me cry. She's is an incredible human being, but never ask her to make a tuna wrap (it won't end well).

Matt aka Party Tart

Party Tart is hilarious. This Phily guy has the soul of a SoCal surfer. Bart and him are hiking the trail together after quiting thier jobs in DC and hitting the trail. An engineer as well, the dude is smart. Him and Bart also started the same day as me and I met them at Scout and Frodo's as well. I can always count on him for a good one liner and a good laugh. It sucked leaving him and Bart in Bishop, but I know that we are all crushing it in the Sierra's.

Chase aka Spounge

Spounge was the second person that I met on my journey when I met him at the baggage claim at San Diego International Airport. He came from Pagosa Springs and instantly connected over a love of Big Bend National Park. He is a PhD in ethnomusicology (there are A LOT of smart people out on trail) and listening to him talk about that and his other loves (fishing and whisky) is fascenating. He is also my person that I can debate the Democratic Primary candidates with (he is all on the Mayor Pete train, while I am still torn between Harris, Booker, Mayor Pete). Like most of the other people that I have met along the way he is just a great person. But unlike most people, he hold the record for most unatractive pictures taken of me.

Zach aka Cousin Eddy

Cousin Eddy left the Navy and hit the trail and started the same day as me. We ran into him quite a bit over the first couple hundred miles, but he offically joined the family when he stayed at our AirBnB in Wrightwood. With his women's track suit and racoon hat he hit the town in that outfit and never looked back. He is straightfoward but so much fun to talk to about his passion for helping Vetrans like himself find the outdoors once they leave the service.

Kyle aka Stats.

When I woke up at Casa de Luna I wasnt sure how many miles I was going to get in. I didn't want to leave right away and didn't want to do too many miles. Stats solved that problem when he organized 21 hikers in Hawaiian shirts to go to Six Flags. He also has a very fine racewalking technique that he showed off in Tehatchapi. But a string of bad luck (stomach flu, shin spints, and bees stings) led him off trail for a while. He is back and we will hopefully see him again around Orgeon.

No matter if I am hiking with them now, or have hiked with them at some point the people have made this trail more than I ever could have imagined.

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