What are the most popular trail names?

My fiancée Little Spoon crunches numbers for breakfast.  Some of you may know this; others may be horrified that this proclivity exists in any human being.  In either event, I have his post-trail curiosity to thank for creating this amazing word cloud.

Some of you may have wondered, as we did, what the frequency was of different trail names over the years.  Here is your opportunity to nerd out.

We took all of the trail names that the ATC has reported (right back to ‘Dusty’ in 1959) and ran them through a word frequency finder.  After removing articles (of, the, a), here is the top hundred most frequent words used in a trail name, with larger size denoting larger frequency.*


Click on the picture for a larger version, or just click here for the original.  Word Cloud courtesy of www.tagul.com

An interesting thing to consider is that the ATC posts thru-hiker’s names every time they complete the trail, so although repeats are rare, they do factor into the final product (hence why ‘Jack’ makes an appearance, partly because Baltimore Jack has hiked the trail multiple times).

Really, this is probably more of a grotesque study of two thru-hiker’s inability to readjust to normal society.  Two non-disfigured twenty-something individuals who choose to spend their free nights at home, playing with frequency charts.  Please look away and do not judge us.  We are only the shells of human beings.

*Fun option before you thru-hike!  Close your eyes, point with both fingers, and combine those words.  That’s your trail name!  Congratulations, MooseButter!

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