Evolution of a Trail Name

Burningtown Gap, NC

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Burningtown Gap, NC 35.222871, -83.562384 Burningtown Gap

Day: 23
Trail miles: 124.4

Part of the right of passage, or maybe a true induction into the Appalachian Trail Community, involves adopting a Trail Name. These names come about in many different ways though all will be influenced by the trail itself. Some choose their own name, some will have it chosen for them. It could be something that just sounds good, or maybe something that describes a character trait. Maybe an event or activity creates the name. There are really no rules other than personal willingness to take the name.

It took a while for the trail to name me, as I have mentioned in a few posts. I was starting to think of naming myself Teflon because nothing was really sticking. But just today the trail finally came through, with the help of a hiker called Solitude. Yesterday, after only doing a couple of miles I encountered Siler Bald, which immediately screamed out to the photographer in me. I set my pack down, took my camera out, and climbed the side trail to the treeless summit (hence the Bald). Solitude had the same idea. We both were so taken by the view on top that we lunched up there … if one can call three hours a lunch. Solitude even decided to change his plan of hiking another 12 miles to camp up there, and the only reason I did not was a lack of water. Today we crossed paths at the next Bald (Wayah), and Solitude said he had the perfect name for me.

He nailed it!

From now on I will be known on the trail as Picnic.

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