You may have heard of a guy hiking the PCT in a series of wedding gowns.
Unfortunately, I won't be nearly as fashionable on the JMT. But I will be colorful. After some trial and error I have settled on the following outfit:
Most thru-hikers of long trails get bestowed with trail names. You don't really have that on the JMT; you aren't spending months of your life on this trail. But it did start me thinking about some of my former outdoors nicknames.
Panther Babe: Named by the guys who drove dozers into the flaming swamp. I worked at a wildlife refuge set up to provide habitat for endangered Florida panthers. If the guys thought I looked cute in fire clothes and a hard hat, who was I to argue?
Darted Monkey: One day Mike and I were running down the highway on our PT time. My knee hurt but I stubbornly continued, refusing to let Mike get ahead. Mike looked at me and laughed. "You're running like a darted monkey!" he said. This nickname stuck for a long time.
Queen Mama Dork: I don't know, I guess the other wilderness rangers thought I was a dork. I think they were the dorks.
Target: Pronounced the french way, because a tree almost fell on me as I was mopping up a wildfire. The crew peered over the hill, eyes wide. Luckily I had survived, but we all got hazard pay, unheard of in mop-up for us.
Wilderness Witch: I'm pretty sure that this was said in affection but could refer to my adherence to Leave No Trace, including packing out orange peels.
I don't have an outdoors nickname anymore. You get those from working with a crew, the same crew that will do things like put mousetraps in camp slippers, vaseline on locker handles, and even smuggle a small alligator into the passenger seat of a Ford pick-up. We called our crewmates names like Bungalow Bill, Weebles, PuffyPoo and Trail Beast. Behind the teasing was a real affection that we couldn't quite show.
That's why trail names appeal to me. Hiking a long trail is like being on a crew of sorts, a loose-knit family of hikers all bound for the same destination. I don't know that I will ever hike a long trail for five months: days and weeks of hiking 20 miles a day doesn't really appeal to me. But in my colorful clothes, I can taste a small part of a big thing.
Have you ever had an outdoors nickname? What was it?