Photo by Rachel Boice

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My Trail Story featuring Nav

Nav and her pup, Arrow, found the best trail family ("tramily") while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Natalie McMillan      My Trail Story       06/07/2019

Natalie McMillan

My Trail Story

06/07/2019

Hi! I’m Nav (real name is Rachel), I’m 25, and I am currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail with my Sheltie pup, Arrow! I started the trail on March 17th, so I’ve officially been on trail for a little over two months!

I’m absolutely loving the trail, and something I wanted to share about is my trail family.

A girl holding her dog on the train tracks on the Appalachian Trail.

Photo by Rachel Boice

A group of hikers sitting on a hill on the Appalachian Trail.

Photo by Rachel Boice

Nothing beats the community of the trail… people are so accepting, supportive, and it feels like everyone is looking out for each other. For a while, I was with a couple people, but we didn’t really have a “tramily.” Right around the Grayson Highlands, we linked up with some really great people, and we have been having the BEST time!

It’s fun during the day. You always have people in front or behind you, and you have the opportunity to hike with different people throughout the day. Getting to camp is the best, though. It feels like a grand welcoming every time you get there, and you see all the familiar faces that make you smile. We’ve had so many fun times around the fire, making jokes, playing games and just chatting.

My favorite moment so far was when we all decided to hike to McAfee Knob for sunrise. The night before, we all crammed in a shelter so we could just get up and go, but unfortunately none of us slept. Our alarms went off at 4:15 a.m., so we quickly packed up and scrambled to the top. We all were tired and already sweating (thanks, Virginia humidity!!!), but when we got to the top, oh, my gosh, it was worth every bit. We all hung out, ate breakfast, took tons of pictures, and just had a great time that morning. I wish I could stay in that moment forever… the most beautiful place with my favorite people. There’s truly nothing like it!

A group of hiker sit on a rock looking at the sunrise.

Photo by Rachel Boice


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Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is one of the oldest National Scenic Trails in the US. Its path takes you from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine.

2200 mi (3540 km)       $59.99 full guide

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Pennsylvania, Appalachian Trail
Photo by Zoë Symon

Pennsylvania, Appalachian Trail
Photo by Zoë Symon

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is one of the oldest National Scenic Trails in the US. Its path takes you from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine.

2200 mi (3540 km)

$59.99 full guide

Learn more

Get our trail guide for this area!

About the Author

A woman wearing a denim jacket and a brown hat stands in a field of wildflowers.

Natalie McMillan

Natalie grew up hiking in Arizona where she fell in love with the outdoors. Her favorite hikes are to Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon and Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park, UT. She loves taking pictures of people, places, and nature, which might explain why she has almost 47,000 photos currently residing on her phone. She takes care of all things related to social media and marketing and recently moved to Denver, CO from Flagstaff, AZ. You may find her frolicking around the trails and mountains of Colorado, or exploring the new city she gets to call home.