Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Hello, I'm Doctor EarthTone and this is Dr EarthTone's Fun With Trailnames.
When I first entered the hiker culture years ago, one of my favorite things to encounter was the use of Trailnames. It was a way to leave the "real" world behind and take on a new persona.
Trailnames aren't always "names" in our common usage, but sometimes they are colors or animals or sounds or short phrases denoting a description or occurrence from the trail. They are fun to play with and play with them is what I do.
I have worn many trail names over the last five years or so. On my first Section Hike, I was Jefe. Spanish for boss or chief. This I brought from my time as a Chief Petty Officer on a Coast Guard Cutter during my sea duty days. My guys would call me this as a relaxed form of address.
This morphed into El Jefe, which seemed to be more easily understood when I introduced myself on the trail. Around this time I got the idea to use multiple Trailnames. Changing them at will, whenever I felt the need. I also started stringing all my Trailnames together into one long seldom used "official" Trailname.
Each addition to my collection of trail names had a situation or event that created it. My list began to grow as I spent more time on the trails. Some names would come during a trip and last the duration of the trip. Fading away after the walking was done. Others became a part of my "long name".
So after El Jefe was once more lengthened into El Jefe Maestro to reflect my final pay grade, I added another which is the one I usually wear for now and that is EarthTone.
This name came to me as I was out on the trail, laying in my green hammock, wearing my black shirt and tan pants. I was looking at my grey pack and cammo boonie hat and seeing nothing but earth tones around me. The name EarthTone came to me and when I tried it on, it felt good.
I get a lot of comments out on the trail about being a Steelers fan, due to the large tattoo on my leg that says Steelers Forever. So, add StillerFan (which is how we pronounce it in the Burgh) to the list.
One time I posted a picture of myself and someone from one of the many hiking groups I belong too mentioned that I looked like Obi Wan Kenobi and she started calling me that and I would refer to her as Padawan. So, another name was added.
During a thru hike of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, I had the misfortune of walking about a half mile the wrong way after a water gathering stop. Luckily, that trail has mile posts and I realized my fuck up when I came upon mile post 50 for the second time. It was surreal, but I earned the name WrongWay for the rest of that trip.
As of now, my long trail name stands as:
El Jefe Maestro Obi-Wan, the wrong way, earth toned Stiller fan.
I also like the challenge of helping other hikers find their Trailnames.