Friday, October 9, 2009

All In A Name

My husband can't wait for the day I agree to hike Vermont's Long Trail with him. (Think miniature version of the Appalachian Trail. The two actually overlap for part of the journey.) It's generally a thirty day hike, rather than, oh, the six months it takes most AT hikers. The LT takes thru-hikers lengthwise down/up Vermont from the Massachusetts border to the Canadian, over the rivers, through the woods, and up and down mountains.

Part of me really wants to do this. To be at one with nature. To get away from life and all its pressures. But a bigger part of me is a wuss. I'm not all that athletic and carrying a heavy pack for thirty days up and down mountains seems rather daunting. And the nature part? Sure the scenery is stunning, but then there's the flies, the mosquitoes, and let's not forget the bears and moose.

And no showers. Or TV (you know how I am). Or microwave. Or featherbed.

But still. There's one thing that may just sway me: The trail names. I really want a trail name. Once you start a long hike, thru hikers often adopt new identities. So long, Bob. Now he's "Old Man". Bye, Susan; hello "Brown-eyed Girl." At trail registers you see how creative people can be. Birdman, Stitches, Honeybee, The Postman, Lightning, Sloth.

Usually names are assigned once a trek has started and stem from something happening on the trip. One woman on the AT was nicknamed "Librarian" because she carried so many books with her at the start of the journey. But I liked to be prepared. Just in case I ever lose my mind and hike the Long Trail.

I could be "Plotter." Or maybe, more appropriately, "Plodder." Or "Whiner." Or something with "little" in the name, because, well, if the name fits...

What would your trail name be? And would you ever do a month long (or longer) hike?


PS: That pic is me a couple of years ago at the start of a Mt. Mansfield day-hike. If I add up all the hikes I've done through VT that ran along the LT, I can practically say I hiked the LT. Practically.