I have shared a couple of times about trail names – they are kind of like nicknames – thru-hikers are either christened by hikers or are self-declared as they introduce themselves around the campfire. Jennifer Pharr Davis is Odyssa. A couple of local hikers who have hiked the A.T. are Andy (Captain Blue) Niekamp and Yvonne who goes by Princess Doah (I think because of her love for the Shenandoah Valley). Jeff Alt, author of A Walk for Sunshine, is Wrong Foot because he hiked the first several days with his boot liners switched into the wrong shoes. A couple of blogs ago I mentioned Sarah, whose trail name in Ent and Steve who travels by HifiGuy. I love trail names – they seem to be a good fit into the other worldliness of the trail.
Several people have asked about my trail name. I, for sure, want to enter the trail with a name picked out. If I wait to be named by the thru-hiking community, I feel confident that my name would end up to be something embarrassing like Faceplant or Old-Timer or Privyman. So ….I thought about Dr.D. It’s easy for the students at my school to remember and it works well for my blog. I like the way “Dr. D. on the A.T.” rolls off the tongue, but I think it sounds a little too arrogant for the trail. Other thru-hikers might think I am a physician and seek me out for solutions to cuts, broken bones, swamp rot on their feet, and intestinal discomfort. I might be able to offer advice, provide a band-aid and charge a fee until they find out that I have an Ed.D. and not an MD.
I had considered Rough & Ready or Roughdraft with a play of words on my last name. Both seem like a mouthful and would probably just get shortened to Rough. Having had my last name mispronounced all my life, I would not like living with that for 120-150 days. For those who do not know me personally, my last name is pronounced like the bough of a tree or like a dog’s bow-wow with an “r.” My first name is David, so I thought about Rough,D. It will make no sense if I spell it that way, so I think I will spell it, pronounce it and become “Rowdy” on the trail. This is such an oxymoron because I am so conservative, such an introvert, and the complete opposite of my idea of rowdiness. Synonyms for the adjective are unruly, disorderly, riotous, undisciplined, disruptive, out of control, and wild. Used as a noun it means a troublemaker, hooligan, thug, and hoodlum. It doesn’t seem to match my personality but on the other hand it would make a good book title, “Being Rowdy on the Appalachian Trail.”
It’s not too late for suggestions, so give me a shout out if you have a good idea.