Moony: A Trail Name Origin Story

On Trail Names

One of the many fun and quirky parts of being in the thru-hiker community is trail names. A trail name is a nickname that sticks because of a defining characteristic or backstory. Some of these nicknames will stick for the rest of the trail, or even for other thru-hikes, and some names will evolve over the course of this hike. The rule is your trail name will find you whether it is at mile 1 or mile 1000.

I have hiked with a whole cast of characters from Shark Bait to Head Start to Island Time to Rocket – each with their own origin story. And now… I have a trail name of my own!

Origin Story

“Anyone have a visual on the moon yet?” I asked as 12 of us hiked in sync, our headlamps illuminating the ground in front of us. We started our morning at 2:30 AM to hike the snowy stretch of trail leading to Fuller Ridge before it got slushy in the sun. Hiking under a sky full over stars was a treat – and made the early wake-up call even more worth it.

“She’s hereeee!” I said as we rounded a bend about an hour later. “Everyone! Say hi to the moon!” We all paused to take in the glowy crescent as MJ shouted, “Moony! Rachel – your trail name should be Moony!”

The group laughed and chimed in agreeing that the name fit. I had pointed out the moon to each of them with an awestruck look in my eyes at some point since starting the PCT.

The predawn glow and moon just before fuller ridge on May 14, 2023.

We reached the top of the climb before Fuller Ridge just as the sun started to rise above the horizon. I looked around trying to take it all in – the mountains, the sunrise, the crescent moon, the line of headlamps behind me. I laughed to myself feeling grateful for all the decisions that lead me to this exact moment on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Allow me to Reintroduce Myself


1. dreamy and unaware of one’s surroundings, for example because one is in love.
2. of or relating to the moon.

I feel lucky for the opportunity to be “moony” each day, blocking out the real world for a bit as I remain awestruck over each mountain, wildflower, and stream that I pass as I walk north.


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Comments 1

  • Kathleen L Sable : May 24th

    I love sharing your blog and knowing that people are following you, watching out for you, and admiring your courage. I love that you love the outdoors, and it brings you peace. I love that you love the moon.
    Be safe, sweet girl.


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