Trail Name

HikeItForward-Final-MediumI 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.

rough-draftI 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.

Rough Draft Photo:
Categories: Appalachian Trail, Captain Blue, Hiking, Jeff Alt, Jennifer Pharr Davis, Princess Doah, Shenandoah National Park, Thru-Hike, Trail, Trail Name | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Trail Name

  1. Ha! Even if you pick your trail name that is no guarantee that you won’t be dubbed something else should the right occasion arise! 😉 There is nothing like having a trail name that is earned. Embrace it!

    • I am open to this dubbing – but embracing Hungry Caterpillar or Stinky Feet or some name with profanity in it, might be rather difficult. I guess if I don’t like a name I could speed up or lag behind and see if a new group of hikers will dub me with a more agreeable title.

  2. JP

    In the spirit of the AT, I don’t think you are allowed to name yourself. You can pray that whoever names you is led by the Spirit in doing so, but beyond that, it’s out of your control. 🙂 I would suggest going without a trailname until something significant happens to you on the trail (and it will!). Then you will have a reminder of the event.

    • Exactly! 🙂

      • My favorite backpacking peeps: Low Rider-she did a hammock fail one night due to silly small trees, Google-she knows tons of crap from backpacking to dehydrating…anything you want to know, Little Caesar-she cooks and yeah, she marched in the ATC 75th parade in Harper’s Ferry carrying left over pizza from lunch in the box! Me? BoobOnARock and if we ever meet I will explain it to you ;)!

      • These are some great names. Thanks for sharing some real handles. It looks like you are planning some section hiking of the AT this spring/summer. I don’t know what the chances are of running into you but I’d love to hear your story.

      • 🙂 working on PA this summer with Google from GA!

    • Ouch! I did not realize that. Maybe my goal should be to think up great names for others.

  3. Princess Doah is so creative, and I already mentioned my appreciation for Ent on the other post, but as it is a Tolkien reference, I am supporting it again. My trail name is Nature Preserve, obviously, and the “Behind the Name” part of my blog explains it.
    Here are some name suggestions (nicer than Faceplant, though that was hilarious): GiftGuy (cuz it is for fund raising), AidMan (another financial idea), Faith Trekker, or J.T. (Jesus Time).
    I won’t be offended if you hate them, and I will keep brainstorming options!

    • I like your creative thinking!
      I also love the story of your trail name. It made total sense to me when you first said it. Sometimes siblings are the last to get it.

      • Oh yay! I am glad someone else understands the finer technicalities of the English language. It just takes a little imagination. Siblings…gotta love them. Narrow-minded ninnies. 😉

      • I only have one sister and she is so smart. She is older and I have always looked up to her (still do). But there have been lots of friends and colleagues over the years that have failed to understand or appreciate my strange sense of humor and my rather unique way of looking at life – ninnies for sure : )

  4. Nicole Scott

    “Nature Preserve” – I like that. Adorable story.

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