Saturday, January 18, 2014

Trail Name cunundrum

It was just about 11 years ago, on my second day on the Appalachian Trail, when I first got my trail name. I was hiking along with some guy I met in Amicalola Falls two days earlier. His trail name was Slow Poke (Later renamed to Doggie Bag), and he hiked the trail several years before, and came back for another go.

We were leap frogging each other on that second day, in freezing temperatures, when suddenly he said to me "Amtrak. That's a good trail name for 'ya". That day, when I got to Hawk Mountain Shelter (I only hiked about 5 miles that cold cold day), I started introducing myself as Amtrak, and it stuck for the whole trail. For around 5 months of my life, I responded almost solely to the name "Amtrak", and would turn immediately if anybody called me by that name. Thinking about it now - it's strange.

Ever since, I have only used my trail name in online forums regarding hiking. Over the years, I think I mostly "gotten over" that name, and now it's just a fond memory from my good old thru-hiking days.

Which brings us to now. Should I stick to my old trail name? Should I just land in San Diego, and introduce myself to the trail angels as "Amtrak", and ride that name for the following 5+ months again? Or should I pick a new name? Something better? Something I find more fitting? Or maybe just let the trail itself name me again, and hope it will be something I can relate to?

I really don't have answers to these questions. Well, one more thing to think about for the next 2-3 months.