Whosloafy? (part 1, for my offtrail friends)

Trip Start Feb 14, 2008
Trip End Sep 15, 2008

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, February 11, 2008

If you're on this blog, you probably know me. But if you know me from off the trail, you might not know what this Loafy thing is all about.

There's a tradition on the Appalachian Trail that people have "trail names" - an alternate name that they go by on the trail. Just for fun, or maybe to express an alter ego or something. It's a tradition, right? Usually on the trail, people introduce themselves by their trail names, and sign the registers with their trail names.

Another tradition about trail names is that your name must be given to you. You're not supposed to invent the name yourself, but this happens, and I wouldn't criticize it. Your trail name is a part of your image - it's what you want to project, so why wouldn't you want some control over it?

But me, my trail name was given to me, in March 1998, by Lisa, just before a camping trip to Big Basin Redwoods State Park - near Santa Cruz, CA. People actually call me that. Well, mostly Lisa. But the point is that it's a totally organic and earned trail name.

Exactly how I earned it, and exactly what it means, maybe I'll tell you that later. For now, I'll just say that it's not because I'm lazy.

The last time I was on the AT, for a section hike in TN, I was using the trail name Pa Cat, which was also a name given to me. But I found that nearly everyone heard "polecat". And besides, I'm not a father, or even a father figure, so I decided to retire that name.

I'm also reminded that I once had the trailname "Hefty Schmeiz". In high school, I went on a spring break camping trip with a bunch of friends, one of whom had the hilarious habit of saying "Schmeiz!" whenever something went wrong. He became known as Papa Schmeiz, and we just went with the smurfs theme. There was Poet Schmeiz, and Schmeizette, and since we all came from a magnet school there was a lot of competition for Brainy Schmeiz, but not a lot of competition for Hefty Schmeiz. I was on the soccer team, and had pretty decent musculature for a brainiac, so I became Hefty. Or perhaps it was the Hefty Bag I was using as a pack cover, I'm not sure, but I think I'll stick with the first story.
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