On the Appalachian Trail there is a tradition that a new hiker gets a nickname that represents something about him or her. The nickname is given to each hiker by another AT hiker. For the remainder of the time they are on the AT, hikers sign trail logs and introduce themselves to other hikers using their “trail names.”

The class of FMA-X has continued this tradition during our time spent on the AT. The trail names given to this year’s class are Mountain Mover, Blues Traveler, Turtle, Backbone Wedgy, Maverick, Speed Bump, Card Trick, and Hacker. Naturally there is a story behind each name.

One student’s harmonica, heard during breaks and even sometimes while hiking on the trail, makes everyone smile. This is Blues Traveler. One student likes to move a little slowly sometimes. He is Turtle. On the March expedition one student decided to collect rocks from each camp. At the end of the expedition he had five good-sized and heavy rocks in his backpack – one even smashed his billycan. His trail name is Mountain Mover. Speedbump was given her name one morning, after she slept outside and rolled into the middle of the trail. While climbing the traverse up to Saunders Shelter, another student complained that he had a wedgy halfway up his backbone, so he became known as Backbone Wedgy. A student who carries around a deck of cards and is known for showing off a card trick that no one can figure out is called Card Trick. Cutting her thumb deeply with a sharp knife earned another hiker the name Hacker. And finally, Maverick is so named because sometimes while he is here, he is also “gone.”

The trail names are unique to each student and reflect a memorable piece of our expedition experiences together.

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