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OK gang - this is the third or fourth reference to trail names in the last
couple days. So now it's my turn to say something about the subject.
Strictly personal opinion - a trail name is an alternate persona. Anyone
can take one. Trail names aren't reserved to thruhikers, and in fact,
thruhikers often confer trail names on section or day hikers. They're
sometimes not complimentary!
I even ran into this in Haiti - the Haitians have "secret" names for "les
blondes" that are based on personality or behavioral characteristics. One
guy was known as "Tete de fer". As I said - not always complimentary.
A trail name doesn't have to earned or deserved - but it should to fit
who you are. If it doesn't, you may end up fitting your trail name.
I've seen that happen.
I think a trail name is something that should be carefully thought out
because you can end up being stuck with it for a long time - like the rest
of your life. I took Bald Eagle as a CB handle a long time before I went
out on the Trail, so when I thruhiked it just kinda transferred. And it
fit me. Now I'm Bald Eagle to a lot of people and it would be hard, if
not impossible to change that. I just recently told someone that if I
were picking a trail name now, it might be different. But that isn't
really an option for me now.
And it doesn't have to be unique, although it's nice if you can manage that.
There's at least one Strider on the Trail every year - and usually at least
two Bald Eagles.
Anyway, don't get all uptight about it, but do be careful about what you
want to be called by the people you'll care about in the future.
Bald Eagle, AT-92