Hiker Trail Names

Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail

Long-distance hikers usually have trail names. No one knows how this started, but thru-hikers, those who aim to hike an entire trail in one go, always go by a trail name. On the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) I met Kiwi, Pac-man, Grizzly, Spiderman, Yoyo, etc. My trail name was/is Hamlet (some of my ancestors are from Scandinavia, and my wife says I think too much).

Thru-hikers are friendly and helpful, but they make up a culture of anonymity. In six months of thru-hiking the A.T., I met and hiked with hundreds of people and never knew their real names. Even today, eight years later, I only recall them by their trail names. In this picture, that’s me, Hamlet, on the right, Songbird is in the middle, and her husband, Deja vu, is on the left.

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