Hikers have "trail names"?

I just heard that on tv. That’s weird. Really weird.
mangeorge (Weird)

Absolutely. Especially on long-haul routes like the Appalachian, Great Divide and Pacific Coast Trail. It’s part of the culture, along with the Trail Angels.

But how does a hiker get a trail name? I hike a lot but don’t get to do the long haul trails, except in very short stretches. Are hikers given their names by others on the trail, or do they adopt a name?

In Ask the guy who’s hiking the Appalachian Trail, furt mentioned trail names but I don’t think he covered how trail names came to be associated with a hiker. I don’t think Bryson covered it either.

that’s interesting… are they like white people Indian names? Like “Walks like Badger” or “Cries like Willow”

Or are they like trucker handles?

I’ve heard there are trail hermits (my term, I don’t know a real one). People who live on a trail, not long in one place, but stay a while then move on. Year round.

Yeah, it’s so weird when like-minded people find a place to communicate and use pseudonyms to identify each other. Kinda like … um … CB radio! That’s it!

I don’t know how they get the names, but it seems like Stinky Foot, Monkey Butt, Blisters and Corny all might be common.

  • Shibb “Smells Like You Need a Shower” Oleth

OK, I *knew *this probably refered to something else, but my first thought was “Hookers who work hiking trails? Damn, America is the Promised Land!”

That’s a little different. On a CB radio you can stay anonymous of you want, in person not so much.

What’s an example of a ‘trail name’?

I learned this years ago I went on a day hike in New Mexico with friends who were recreational hikers. My nickname was Princess because I joked about breaking a nail when we were moving a newly felled branch from a jeep track.
That day is one of my happy place memories.

I’ve only daydreamed about through-hiking–which includes reading lots of journals, so I’m not sure about the origin of the practice. As far as how you aquires one, the explanation I like best is that it’s “Kind of a Zen thing”. You can pick your own, but it’s just as likely that your hiking companions or someone along the way will come up with something that fits you.

I think a trail angel might be someone who’ll carry this 65 yr/old out-of-shape fat guy along the trail on a litter.
Kinda like a hooker, huh? :slight_smile:

Examples of trail names for my friends who’ve hiked the AT: Chomp, Hot Cheese, Bird Bath, Sun Beam, Neighbor Dave, Wild Oats, Half Elvis, Bilge Rat, Brown Bag, Peanut, Chickety, BoneLady, StinkyFeet, CruddyToes. Plus lots of hiking friends who’ve just adopted trail names for registers such as Leaf, Tramper Al, Una Dogger, Dr Wu, SherpK, Poison Ivy, GetawayGirl.

There are as many ways to get trail names as there are ways to get user names on a message board. Some are imposed by the group, some are self-generated, some modify over time.

I hit 65 in January. Maybe my username should modify over time to “oldmangeorge” :stuck_out_tongue:
I think I’ll ask the mods.

When my camp did the (five day) Appalachian Trail, we picked up trail names along the way. I was The Great DG, short for Determination Girl.

One poor guy got named Tortilla, because he had a bad nosebleed and the only thing he had nearby to stop up the bleeding was a tortilla… :eek:

Nobody will ever beat “Alexander Supertramp.” Too bad he died in the wild, though.

I’ve hiked for years and I’ve never heard of this. It sounds like a silly thing.

Sounds kind of like Girl Scout camp, where all the leaders and many of the kids had camp names. I was Little Toad, and proud of it!

If you think it’s so silly, why don’t you marry it?

It’s certainly the standard for the AT, PCT, and CDT, and the majority for any other long distance trail. Essentially everyone who has completed the AT in the past 10 years has had a trail name. The trail community is built around the idea of a separate world on the AT, and a new name is part of it.

This has worked it’s way into the general hiking community, but strongly influenced by the many online hiking forums. If you’re not active in them you may have not seen it.