The Making of a Trail Name

Apparently a trail name is an AT tradition that is a must. If you don’t have one before you set out on your hike, one will be dubiously appointed while on the trail. This will likely be done by some random or not so random act or person. I’ve contemplated my trail name and thought I would like to choose mine rather than be appointed one. I’m afraid of what someone might come up with, and then I’m stuck with it.


So I thought about the names I’ve been given through the years. The Grinch for my love of green and my “indifference” when someone first meets me (in reality I’m just an introvert). But once someone gets to know me my heart grows (give me a chance and I’m a very open and giving person).

Or maybe it should be Serious Mom. A name given to me by my husband and adopted by my kids. They say I get tight-mouthed and take life too seriously.

Then there’s Drama Mama – also given to me by my husband and, of course, adopted by my kids. I really don’t know why they choose to call me this. My life isn’t full of drama. I suppose it’s because I’m dramatic in my expression. Such as a wince in my face as I struggle through something, a wide-eyed look, or a simple gasp of expression. I can only guess. I honestly don’t know. If I ask them, they just laugh.

My Choice

My choice? Drama Mama. It seemed most appropriate since I’m hiking with my son, Kyle, and I like the way it just rolls off the tongue. Hopefully I won’t live up to the perceived definition of my name and find my life actually is drama filled.

His Choice

Now it’s my son’s turn to choose a name. He says, “Marcia, (yes, my son calls me by my first name, but that’s another story) you can’t chose a name – you have to be given a name.” His choice? To wait. But remember what I said, if you don’t choose, it will be chosen.

A couple weeks ago before our preliminary shakedown of gear, I went to lunch with Kyle; Dakota, Kyle’s girlfriend; and Donna, my best kayaking buddy. As we were waiting on our meal, the topic of trail names came up. I explained the tradition behind it, and how I had chosen mine.

Kyle not having one wasn’t good enough for Dakota and Donna. Donna immediately started throwing names out. Dakota grabbed her phone and started searching the internet for a name. As they were busy choosing his name, I started talking about how it can be hard to hike with someone because you can get tired of each other. Donna said, “Well, if he gets to be a pain at camp, tell him to just go walk it off.” We all burst out laughing because that’s all we will have done is walk all day, every day.

No Choice

Dakota piped in and said, “I need to start using that line when we are at home and he’s in a mood. Oh, just go walk it off.” We all looked at each other, then looked at Kyle and started laughing hysterically and said that’s it! Kyle your trail name is Walkitoff. Now, we were all laughing. So look for us on the trail, Drama Mama and walkitoff.

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Comments 3

  • Steve : Jan 31st

    Great naming story, Walkitoff ….Perfect!

  • Jeff Shapiro : Jan 31st

    I look forward to following your blog on your amazing journey with “Walkitoff”?. I’ll be doing a section hike in April from Springer to winding stair gap. Good luck on your journey.

    • Marcia : Jan 31st

      Thanks Jeff. Enjoy your time on the trail, that’s a great time of the year.


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