View Full Version : re: choosing a trail name

12-23-2005, 20:48

I have read that most every AT thru hiker and many section hikers seem to have a trail name.. wanted or not. So looks like I need to come up with one or risk getting saddled with one I don't like.

How do I do this? Is it best to wait till I am on the trail this spring? Is there somewhere an index of previuosly used trail names to help avoid duplicating?

Are most trail names chosen by the hiker or given by others?


Lone Wolf
12-23-2005, 20:51
It's a non-issue. Pick your own or go with David.

12-23-2005, 20:53
two dogs fu***n', that is the best one i've ever heard. if i was gonna duplicate a trail name that would be it. what a way to introduce yourself.

12-23-2005, 21:13
I once knew a dog called Two people copulating
I knew a harelip dog, went by Mark
LW is right, don't matter and never did;)

12-23-2005, 21:30
I gotta dog named NERMAL..Nermal ain't Normal.

12-23-2005, 21:34
in 04 i figured trail names were like screen names, so i used my screen name...come to find out in 03 a girl thruhiked named burn...in 05 she thruhiked the pct hiking from time to time with a guy i started with at springer (Wildcat). She's the real hiker, i just build a mean fire at trail days.

think i'm gonna go for a walk tomorrow in the snow so i don't get too outta shape. sidez, i like to end the year hiking...06 should be a great year

12-23-2005, 23:07
when people ask, answer "just david". They will say "no, really, what is your trail name?" and you answer, "Just David". Just David is your trail name.

12-23-2005, 23:27

congrats.....you've just been named!


12-24-2005, 01:55
I think your trail name should be Mark. When anyone asks "Just Mark?", you can reply, "Yeah, Mark. But my real name is David." If they ask why, tell then some idiot on Whiteblaze suggested it. It probably wouldn't be the worst advice someone had taken from here!

12-24-2005, 02:25
What's your trailname? "Pardon me" What's your trailname? "Pardon me" Oh, never mind...

Just Jeff
12-24-2005, 02:28
If you get saddled with one you don't like, just don't answer to it. You don't have to let others define you, on trail or off.

little bear
12-24-2005, 02:35
I got my trail name 20 years ago when I was 5 by my father who hiked and enjoyed the outdoors, so when i started section hiking I used it. I know there is another guy out there with the same trail name(Little Bear) but it a cool name, and I have to keep it. If you don't get one before you start your hike don't worry someone will give you one.
Happy Hikes
Little Bear

12-24-2005, 02:58
I have read that most every AT thru hiker and many section hikers seem to have a trail name.. wanted or not. So looks like I need to come up with one or risk getting saddled with one I don't like...

Are most trail names chosen by the hiker or given by others?


You really can't get saddled with one you don't like. It's your decision to accept and use any trail name someone else suggests for you. If you choose a name before you get on the trail other hikers will accept it. Or you can wait and let a name choose you as you start the hike. When other hikers know you don't have a trail name they will be very helpful in suggesting a trail name.

I started my hike with my choice of Too Tall and kept it. I've since added my first name because a couple other hikers use that trail name. I also could have switched my trail name. I scooped up an inattentive mouse with my hand and, not knowing what else to do with it, tossed it down the hill in front of the shelter in the Smokies. Other hikers there suggested the name Mouse Bouncer but, even though I liked it, I stayed with Too Tall.

Too Tall Paul

squirrel bait
12-24-2005, 03:14
Non issue....it's not what they call you it's what you answer to.:welcome

12-24-2005, 08:51
mouse bouncer...nice

i handed out a few true to character trail names that weren't accepted.

leki-less was named wrong head cause he lost his leki's using his wrong head on day 1, and Xena was named stud finder on day 3 cause she invited all the guys into the shelter but passed on DeJa when she walked in in the rain.

and i wouldn't worry...folks throw out names all the time...dave and miranda just wouldn't take any number of great trail names...which is fine, but man some of the names just stand out, and they were great hikers

12-24-2005, 09:15
I don't have a trail name either. I have used one (mama zen) for a few years while caring for a shelter in Harriman park NY, but want one to "come" to me on the trail, plus I would rather not have a "female" sounding name just for safety sake.

12-24-2005, 09:31
mama zen, Red Dog 04 told the story of how a grand mother was at springer with her grand daughter and was very concerned about the beautiful young lady. The guys suggested a mean and nasty trail name so that no guys following would hunt her down. They named her dragon slayer. A real fun trail name for a wonderful young lady...good luck!

12-24-2005, 11:45
Most times you can tell a female hiker by her handwriting, regardless of trail name.
Everyone chooses their own trail name...or not to have one. Bottom line.

12-24-2005, 11:51
thanks everyone. My main concern was getting saddled with one I don't like. On the Long trail a couple years ago..I got saddled with Saturday. I will be something else on the AT.

And "just david" is not it.

Untill I come up with something good.. I hope to just be known by my real name.. David ..um...that is not Dave but David. It's bad enough to be saddled with a nick name I don't like out in society!

Nean..how can you tell a hiker is a woman just by her hand writing? Is it that they are so much neater (sp?)?

12-24-2005, 12:25
I use the callsign I had when in the Air Force. My boss and I came up with a motto for our Intelligence Watch Center - Semper gumby - Always flexible, because our tasking was constantly changing. He gave me the callsign and I used that for over 10 years.

Tin Man
12-24-2005, 13:02
David, While many say a trail name is a non-issue, I can see where one could be concerned and care like you apparently do. You really have two choices: a) you can be more or less traditional and allow the trail name to find you on the trail, or b) you can name yourself using some person, title or characteristic that you can identify with. If you want the trail to define you, be careful what you say and do until you have a name. You stated you don't want to be "Just David", so make sure you don't say that. Anything you say or do that is different than the ones you are with may become your name, so if you want to avoid being called "Eats Mice", don't eat any mice. If you want to name youself, just focus on something that is near and dear to you. If you collect Mustangs or Dinosaurs, "Stang" or "Raptor" might do. Whatever you do, don't spend any time worrying about it; it will come to you when you least expect it and it will be fine. If not, you can just be "No Name".

12-24-2005, 13:46
David- a good clue is when they dot the i w/ a circle or heart:) Women tend to have fuller, curvier, neater writing in general. You never noticed?

As pointed out in many ways, the only way you get saddled is if YOU choose to be. One request:) PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, DON'T CHOOSE NEAN!

12-24-2005, 13:51
The trail name you choose or are saddled with doesn't really matter, but unique handles seem to be a lot easier for me to remember for more than a few seconds. Keep it short, unique, and ideally representative (we don't need no more "Wolves" or "Bears" out there).

12-24-2005, 16:41
I thought of one before I left, but didn't use it. I thought of two during my first couple weeks the trail, and didn't use those either. I received at least 4 different suggestions, which didn't fit. After four weeks, I finally thought of Whistler [so obvious in hindsight], and I'm sticking with it.

However you get it--dubbed by a fellow hiker, or an epiphany, or just 'coz... you'll know it when you find it.

Good luck.

12-24-2005, 16:54
How about Wherewolf or Barescare? I've known folks who get named 6,7 times before they get one they like, keep, use, choose.;)

12-24-2005, 17:00
Just let it happen on the trail. Don't stress...

12-24-2005, 17:19
When the stars, planets, clouds etc. line up with your cosmic being, Grasshopper; then .... and only then, will you truely know just who the hell U R :banana :)

12-26-2005, 06:50
You ever read "into the wild" i believe alex "supertrame" said his name was just alex. hmm slight allusion yes but i'm not complaining, i think thats super diggity. **** whats my name,

12-31-2005, 11:50
I hiked the entire AT without one last year, just going by Bob. People try and hang names on you (often for stupid or silly reasons), but none fit right so I chose not to accept them. People regularly tried to name me "Just Bob", but I chose "Five-0" upon finishing, since I summitted Katahdin on my 50th birthday. Very few people I met on my hike will know me as that, except the ones I've stayed in touch with. In hindsight, I think you "fit in" better with trail culture having a trail name, and people will remember you more/easier with one. Quite a few I met named themselves, but there is an underlying social pressure that the proper way is for you to have a name bestowed upon you by a worthy trail veteran. How about "Granite", since you're from the Granite State? Or "Granite Dave"? "GD" for short (or other meaning...). In the end, what will matter is the hike you choose to hike, not your trail name. A year ago this time I was all consumed as you are by preparation and dealing with these same issues. It'll all work out...Just have fun! Bob

01-01-2006, 20:24

As for the concern about female trail names inducing possible danger for women on the trail, I'd like to say that nowhere in my whole life have I felt safer and more protected than on the AT. "Rollergirl," and ideas that followed about how I got that trail name, could have been possibly enticing for wrongdoers--but the people that are associated with the AT and the culture of thru-hikers, men and women alike, are of nuturing and protecting the experience.

Don't let an amazingly appropriate trailname pass you by out of fear for being discovered as a woman!! There are a multitude of strong women and men you'll meet along the way that will put any creeps in line if you get skeeved out!

01-01-2006, 21:40
All I can say Rollergirl is checkout my first response on backpacker.com when I posted in the "find a hiking partner forum" that I was a female looking for a hiking partner. It was some creep that responded first and that's why I am no longer on that site. Of course, I will admit it was my mistake to post the way I did being very new to the computer forum scene. It did teach me a big lesson though and that lesson is, that like it or not we women will be preyed upon by certain people and we never can know who's out there.

Sadly, not everyone on these sites are pure hearted "hiker" folk. I have received tons of filthy spam mail since putting my address up on these two forums (backpacker and whiteblaze). Somebody out there is up to no good!

I also don't want you to think that I think everyone out there on backpacker and whiteblaze are creeps. I assume that 99.9 % of us are just backpackers looking to get along, shoot the breeze and share info. I would like to think I have made some friends here and really look forward to seeing you all on the trail this spring. Are you hiking this spring?

I am very proud of being a woman and as a boy scout leader am very used to hanging with the guys but we women can never be too careful and I will do everything possible to avoid trouble for myself while out hiking alone. That will include not naming myself with a "female" sounding name.

Animal Man
01-01-2006, 22:30
I call my lil grandson, lil poop, wonder if he'll be signing the trail books on the AT by that name in 20 years. Well I sure so anyway

01-01-2006, 22:31
BW2006, if you post an email address on a page there are programs that can pick it up. It's not always people reading the forums that are bad and getting names.

whenever I post my email I always type hinestim(at)gmail(dot)com

People realize what i'm doing and that email address has gone pretty much spam free for a year.

I too need a trailname. I think I might name myself RedBeard. For obvious reasons. But if I shave it off....??? who will know me?!

01-02-2006, 01:18
This is off the topic, but geez, thanks for sharing with us an easy way around the spamming programs by using (at) and (dot com)! I too am tired of the number of spam emails (and filthy I might add) since joining various forums. As for not calling attention to myself as a female.... it's the same everywhere and it irritates me - running forums, SCUBA references, hiking trails, running attire & early morning runs, etc. The few "bad people" out there are the ones that make the news, but they also keep us on our toes to be careful.

01-02-2006, 10:14
I am still wondering, as David asked, if there
is indeed a registry or list of formerly used
trail names somewhere. :-?

01-02-2006, 10:45
Thanks for the info Timhines. have a great hike!!! Barbie

01-03-2006, 20:26
i got mine because of my late husky steve he was five and had to be put down due to lymphoma at age five. When they killed him they made me a paw print with clay and baked it. he looked like a wolf and was very protective of me. not to mention he was supposed to hike a few sections with me hence wolfpaw fer steveo. paw

Gray Blazer
01-04-2006, 11:40
I "borrowed" mine from an entry I saw in the log at Tray Mountain Shelter (another shelter famous for it's mice). I thought it was appropriate because my wife always tells me I'm going to get eaten by a bear. Five years ago, my stepson was going to do 700 miles on the trail and I was going to spot and supply him. He started at Clingman's Dome and headed North. For three days I started at Cosby Campground and hiked up to Cosby Knob looking for him. Actually, the 2nd and 3rd day I started at I-40 and went up to Cosby knob looking for him. On the 3rd day at Mt Cammerer I ran into a group of hikers. They told me they had seen him and given him the trail name "Pegleg" because he had hurt his knee.

01-09-2006, 21:13
let someone give you a name, those ones are always way better and more memorable, you also avoid repeating the same dumb trail names over and over...

I was Don King and I am damn proud of it.

01-09-2006, 23:42
Back along the middle of last summer 05, I came across a couple of trail names that got me doing a double take. Now, I have heard every trail name imaginable boating hikers across the Kennebec river, but "Hellboy" and "Beast" took the cake. Who were these hikers? (escaped convicts?) How did they get those trail names? (burning hostels down and walking on all fours?) When are they arriving to the Kennebec ferry? (river to base camp...anyone there?)... to my resupply store? ( remind self..lock all doors and windows,) and would they stay over at my hostel? (sleepless night for sure..) I was asking other hikers if they had ever heard of them and the times I searched their web site journals, there were never any entries. All of this anxiety was for naught as these were two of the nicest brothers on the trail. Hellboy renamed "Walkingman" and his 13 year old brother "Beast" were great hikers and I really enjoyed meeting them. Trailnames have a way a making light of yourself in the face of trail adversity. Behind the store counter with glasses on, I am a humble storekeeper arranging neat rows of lipton and ramen noodles. When I am on top of the mountain in a driving rain storm, soaked to the bone, devouring my last morsel of food as I extend my hiking stick towards the monster of all thunderhead clouds...I'm "Thunder Rebel"!. Just remember that laughter is the best medicine. Steve

Almost There
01-10-2006, 00:05
Lil' Poop...I would use it if my grandpa had given it to me, I think it's cool, and there is a cool story behind it. To me that is what it is all about, I started with a name for myself that my students had given me, "Professor", but after two days on the trail, sitting around a campfire my buddy started telling a story to everyone involved about how I'm always saying Almost There, we're almost there, and hence my name stuck. If the story is good and you can laugh about the memories when you think about it, it makes it worth while. Of course, Almost There is a long name, so I go by A.T. for the most part. Either way, I get to think about the memories when I hear my trail name knowing that a great buddy gave it to me on the trail. Actually I think about all who were there that night. That is why I advocate letting your name find you, you'll have the memory forever.

Of course, our names don't define us they simply represent us, and as Lone Wolf says if it really bothers you getting tagged with a name you don't want then don't use one, I for one think names like Squirrel Hurler, Brown Stain, and Privy, are endearing names each with their own stories, it is the story that is priceless!