How I Got My Trail Name
Obtaining a”Trail Name” on the AT is kind of a big deal. Trail names are one of the oldest and most cherished traditions on the Appalachian Trail. A trail name, is a nickname/handle you can acquire, to help keep your anonymity. The only catch is, it must be given to you by another thru-hiker. For this reason, many folks end up with trail names like booger, stink foot, and Bengay! Therefor, People with “cool” trail names, are often subject to interrogation. The following article is about how I obtained the trail name “Vermont”. (This article made possible by all the POSERS that copied off the movie “Zombie Land” and NAMED THEMSELVES after states.)
My First AT Camping Trip
I was very young at the time. It may have been my freshmen year in high school. I was living in Londonderry, Vermont. One day, I was invited to go camping with my friends Dave, Eric, Mike, and their uncle Jeff. We ended up camping by the rope/suspension bridge right next to where the trail meets the road in Rutland, VT. Three other friends also tagged along… Joe, Jerry, and Chris.
This was our click. The six of us (and a few more) were practically inseparable. Jeff (Mike, Eric, and Dave’s uncle) was like a father figure to all us boys. He gave us shelter when we ran away from home, he fed us when we were hungry, he gave us a safe place to “Party”, and kicked us out when we were bad.
Most of our trip was fairly normal run of the mill, “Weekend Warrior” type stuff. Throughout our shenanigans, we barely took notice of all the thru-hikers wandering by our camp, until the final night. We were just about to turn in. The beer was down to the last 12 pack, which uncle Jeff being an alcoholic at the time, claimed for himself. As I looked around, a campfire in the distance caught my eye, and then music started to drift in. After some debate, my friends Chris and Jerry went over to get a closer look. They were gone for awhile. Like… I was virtually asleep when they returned.
“Jordan get up! You gotta come meet these guys they are pretty awesome!” Jerry said.
All of us ended up going over to hang with the hikers while uncle Jeff snored the night away! I remember being weirded out by how nice they were… and happy to spend time with us. I couldn’t believe these three guys and a girl, had just walked all the way from Georgia! Anyway, we had a great time together. We all took turns playing guitar and singing along. They told us amazing stories about trail life and all the different traditions. Then, just as we were saying our goodbyes, the one hiker yelled, “WAIT! Trail names! We have to give you guys trail names!” This my friends was the 1st Time I received the trail name “Vermont.”
The next morning was not so pleasant. Did I mention we drank all Jeff’s beer? He had a glorious temper tantrum… one we still look back at and laugh about to this day.
The Other Multiple Times I Was Dubbed “Vermont”
I have been called, “Vermont” by many thru-hikers on many separate occasions. This is because 1) I am from Vermont and tell lots of stories from my childhood. 2) Hikers I run into are normally heading that way. So naturally, they want to hear stories of what lies ahead.
” Hey, Vermont! Tell us stories of the homeland! Have you ever seen a Jackalope? Is it as rocky as they say? What will it be like? Are there lots of moose? ”
It’s funny how they make Vermont sound like a majestic far away land. (Like Oz!) However, after hiking for months on end… I’m sure people cant help but wonder if it’s still going to be there by the time they arrive. I myself haven’t been home in quite a few years. I can’t wait to get there and tell all my friends I walked like 1800 miles just to see them lol!
So there you have it folks… These are the reasons I have adopted the trail name Vermont. In case you are wondering, I am not opposed to the possibility of obtaining a new one on my 2017 NOBO hike! So very excited! Cant wait to see you all out on the trail!
Jordan AKA “Vermont”
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