View Full Version : Trail name or not?

01-06-2010, 22:20
I was recently re-reading Long Distance Hiking lessons form the Appalachian Trail by Roland Mueser and was looking at the section where he showed some info on Trail Names and that got me wondering about those that are on WB?

This book was done in 1998. From his info of the surveys he got back 92% of hikers that responded between 1988 and 1998 92% used a trail name. 1983 -1987 82%. 1978 - 1982 45%. 1977 - 1973 30%. And before 1973 almost no one used trail names.

What I was wondering were a few things; How many people use trail names? How Many of these trail names were give on the trail? How many were given in another outdoor setting? How many were self given or given by others? How many introduce themselves in trail situations by their trail names?

I would also be interested in what story is behind your name if there is one.

01-06-2010, 22:31
I was given the name by friends while on a multi day canoe trip up in upstate NY. After several smoky and sweaty days I went to take a dip in the lake. As I was heading to the lake a friend called my name and snapped a pic of me in mid stride like the famous Big Foot pictures. There I was in all my glory saved in digital quality which was quickly sent around to friends. I have been Sasquatch ever since in these settings.

01-06-2010, 22:48
A trail maintainer gave me my trail name because he saw me hanging out over the edge, taking pictures sraight down, at Hawk Rock over looking Dunncanon. It seems to fit with alot of things about me and several of my friends agree so I kept it


Spirit Walker
01-07-2010, 00:32
I gave myself my trailname because I wanted my hike to be more than just fresh air and exercise - I wanted it to be a spiritual journey. It reminded me of why I was out there, when I got caught up in the day to day logistics of the hike.

I use the name now mostly online. When we went out to the CDT the first time, using trailnames felt slightly ridiculous. There was no culture of trail names and few people along the trail had any clue about the existence of the CDT, much less that there was a community of trail users who took silly pseudonyms while hiking. When you have 2000 hikers starting each year, trail names provide individuality. You're more than just Mike #4 or Megan #6 - you have a (hopefully) unique name that describes only you. (Though there is a lot of repetition on trail names as well - each year has at least one Yogi, Pilgrim, and/or Bald Eagle). On a trail with less than a dozen hikers each year (at that time) using a trail name didn't make sense. On the PCT there were a lot of former AT hikers who used trail names, so we did use ours sometimes, but it felt false because it wasn't necessary. It was, however, a way of saying that we were part of the community - or at least that we understood the mores. So when we hike on the AT we'll use trail names. When we go back to the PCT we'll sign our trail names and our real names in the registers, but when we introduce ourselves it will probably be by our real names.

01-07-2010, 00:43
Since my trail name isn't anything like "Monkey Dung" or "10 Legs," I feel comfortable using it with hikers and non-hikers regardless of trail, because I can introduce myself to people and it seems just barely possible that someone might have named their child that.

01-08-2010, 11:32
At the moment that I am writing this response, the poll indicates:

A) 17 people have responded: "I use a Trail Name"

B) 12 people have responded: "I was given the name by others"

C) 9 people have responded: "I came up with the name for myself"

Am I missing something, or shouldn't the combined total of items "B" and "C" be equal to the total number of people who state that they use a trail name (Item "A")? :-?

Must be that "new math". :D

Red Hat
01-08-2010, 11:46
well some folks may have been given a trail name that they don't use...

01-08-2010, 12:22
Not all people vote in all categories.

01-08-2010, 12:55
My name was originally my CB name because I was tall and skinny. (Still tall but not as skinny) In 1990 I started using WalkingStick then added the 75 a few years later because that is the year when I attempted a thru. Unfortunately that ended near Damascus with a dislocated ankle. Trail names in the 70's were not common.

01-08-2010, 13:03
I've been thinking a lot about what my trailname should be. I guess it goes against the spirit of the thing to just re-hash old nicknames I had in high school.

I'm not going to use my whiteblaze username, because it is too long and people might shorten it into something um, unpleasant.:rolleyes:

01-08-2010, 14:32
When the time comes that I'm given a trail name I like, I'll use it in the right environments. In the meantime I introduce myself with my real name.

01-08-2010, 14:48
I have a school nickname, could that be a trail name/

Gray Blazer
01-09-2010, 21:01
It's dissapointing to many, but, I'm named for my truck. I'm just glad it's not pink!

http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/files/6/2/1/7/July2007072.jpg (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showimage.php?i=17979&original=1&c=member&imageuser=6217)

01-09-2010, 21:26
I think my mother and father did okay by me and they didn't give me a trail name.

01-09-2010, 22:15
wife gave me mine after a 10 day section hike. got in the car and the first words out of her mouth. your grubbyjohn then she made me ride in the trunk.............

01-10-2010, 00:16
People have been calling me chief for damn near 30 years. I was chief engineer on ships, get it? My friends picked up on it and never gave it up. So I used it on the trail.

01-10-2010, 00:50
I've always had a fascination with gear. I was originally named Gadget by my old hiking friend Jim (he can't hike due to physical problems now) - because I had to buy and try every new gadget on the market - back in the 1990s on the Long Trail. A couple of days later we met a young woman whose trail name was Gadget, so my name had to change. I tinkered with my gadgets constantly so we mutually decided that I should be Tinker (and I have been ever since). Before that I just went by my legal name.

01-10-2010, 01:08
I wonder how many 'Gadget's there are --- that's my trail too, from 2008 on the PCT. There were actually two of us, as I found out when I saw his picture in the P.O. in Big Bear city; he ultimately changed his name, and then at some point left the trail.

It seems like some names crop up again and again --- multiple "Jelly Bean"s, "Wizard"s, "Greybeard"s, ...

I expect in the context of any given trail and year it's not a big problem, however.

01-10-2010, 10:10
At the moment that I am writing this response, the poll indicates:

A) 17 people have responded: "I use a Trail Name"

B) 12 people have responded: "I was given the name by others"

C) 9 people have responded: "I came up with the name for myself"

Am I missing something, or shouldn't the combined total of items "B" and "C" be equal to the total number of people who state that they use a trail name (Item "A")? :-?

Must be that "new math". :DUm....no. People who were given a trail name by others may not use that or any trail name. So no B+C do not have to equal A. Amazing how something people read can be interpreted in so many different ways.

01-10-2010, 12:02
I normally go by Graywolf, givin to me from friends as a play on my real name and the fact I like wolves..Well, anything in the outdoors..

When I bought a native american flute to take on my section hike, my family told me I should go by "Windwalker". So on the trail, that will be my trail name from then on..I have a journal on Trailjournals.com under that name...


01-10-2010, 14:03
My new trail name is: ....... Name me!;)

01-10-2010, 14:05
My new trail name is: ....... Name me!;)

and before someone beats me to it: N.bacile :eek:

Smoky in TN
01-12-2010, 14:09
Back in '99, on Springer, I met a couple of hikers who were finishing a week long section. I was preaching on the grandeur of the Smokies.
They said "you like 'em so much, your name should be Smoky". So I have used it since then, anytime I'm out hiking.

01-12-2010, 14:30
My knee named me.