When I first began reading about long-distance hiking, I filled my head with tales of the Appalachian Trail (AT). One of the aspects of thru-hiking the AT that really caught my fancy was the tradition of trail names. A trail name is a nickname hikers use instead of their real one. You can choose one yourself, but if you don’t choose one quickly enough, one can be bestowed upon you. For better or for worse.

Did hikers use trail names on the Ice Age Trail? Or was it too new, too “still-in-development” to warrant this? I didn’t know, but I quickly decided that if I ever thru-hiked the IAT, I was going to give myself a trail name. A really cool one.

Well, here I am 1.5 days out, and I haven’t had a minute to think of a trail name. Another problem? I’m not gifted with easily dreaming up catchy names Just ask the members of the former Sun Prairie Surprise, a relay team I led. And, yes, named. (In my defense, I was put on the spot and had to give a name within 60 seconds.)

To make matters more urgent, a few seconds ago I got an email from IAT helper extraordinaire, Sharon Dziengel. Sharon told me there are a handful of other thru-hikers out there right now, all hiking east to west, who I will meet as I head west to east. There’s a Mother Goose, a Papa Bear and a Hiking Dude. Also a Joseph, a Pat and a Kehly. 

I want to be with the former group come Saturday morning. I don’t want to be “Melanie” for the next month. So if any of you want to suggest a cool trail name, I’ll give it my full consideration. But I get the final say.

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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