Saturday, June 9, 2012

Names on the Trail

Greetings from Kennedy Meadows! We have made it 702 miles and are leaving tomorrow for the High Sierras. Many people consider the next 250 miles of the trail to be the most spectacular section of the entire PCT. In just a few short days, Oasis and I will be celebrating her birthday. I hope to incorporate some German games into the day's festivities and have bought a giant muffin that I will coat in Nutella that should work as a great birthday cake replacement. I am still hunting for some birthday candles, but I have a feeling that the trail will provide.
I thought I would devote this blog to the topic of trail names.
Yesterday evening I attended a brief and totally informal naming ceremony. On the Pacific Crest Trail you identify more with your trail name than the name given to you at birth. Many people have interesting stories about how they received their "Trail Names". A very quiet woman from England received her trail name "Destroyer" when her husband found her inside their tent raging an epic battle against a slew of ants. My friend Spud, thinks fondly of potatoes and received his name after devoting many hours of thought and discussion to potatoes. I gave Oasis her trail name due to her tendencies to carry ridiculous amounts of water. For example, if Oasis decides she will need six liters of water on the trail, I'll cut that in  half and bring three. My own trail name, I received after more than one person noticed by appreciation/obsession with Honey. I will admit that I have been caught more than once spooning honey into my mouth, or just squeezing it right out of the bottle onto my tongue. I put honey on everything and in everything. For example, I see no problem putting a healthy serving of honey on a cheese and salami sandwich! Yumm....
Normally, one never chooses a name for themselves. A name must be given to you. While you are able to reject a name that someone tries to give you, its a good idea to accept a name before you end up being stuck with something like "Sex Panther" (yes, there is someone on the trail that unfortunately could not escape this fate). There are so many people with so many different names. There is U-Haul, Wampus Cat and Zen...Quest, Fallrisk and The Darkness...Cookie, Weebee, Just Retired, Just Joe, Scarecrow, Preacher, Sunset and Sunrise, Mr. Wizard, Peanut, Scrambled Legs, Wasabi, Ohenro, Reverend Beaver, Birthday Girl, Wooly, Nips, Heels, Wildflower, Dropzone, Busted Magic, Not a Chance, The Croation Sensation, Not-so-bad, Doc, Sam Wise, and so many more!
What I am learning is that the Pacific Crest Trail is more than just a long hike. I like to consider it a mass migration of similar minded people who enjoy being outside, but also love connecting with each-other in town. The trail name is a way to alter your identity for a few months and to distinguish a thru-hiker from a non-thru hiker. If someone introduces themselves as "Bob"...I would definitely assume that they are not hiking from Mexico to Canada. But, if someone told me their name was "Yardsale", I would probably assume they were hiking all the way.
While I do love my real name, I find it refreshing and exciting that most people out here think of me only as Honeybear....loving honey and doing good for others. The trail is a community and I do believe that trail names have a way of bringing people together. I leave you with a question...What name do you think you might be given on such an endeavor? Would you be given a name based on something you do, or something you are?
I enjoy reading your comments. I will try to post again in about 2.5 weeks when we make it to Tuolumne Meadows.
Much love (and honey),
The Honeybear


  1. Hello Lena! I mean HoneyBear! I LOVE reading about your adventure. You are such a wonderful writer. Makes it much easier to live vicariously through you so thanks. I would love to send you a care package some time so please post when the next best place would be if you know. I hope the next leg (or legs) are good to you. Since you seem to love poetry, I thought of Robert Frost's Nothing Gold Can Stay. Although it is a bittersweet poem, I like being reminded of the fleeting wonders of the natural world when I read it. Catch them while you can!
    Love, Holly
    Ps. I love your name question - I'm thinking something to do with would be a pretty critical part of any hike I ever did!

  2. Honeybear--

    Next time you read this you'll have made it through the High Sierra, and what an incredible stretch that will be. Hopefully you'll see the trail once and a while. Great reading your updates and knowing this year's group is at it and having a blast. Was there any talk by the way of floating the Kern river in KM?
    Enjoy the radical new scenery, and keep living the dream.


  3. Lena aka Honeybear,

    I will be thinking of you as you head to Tuolomne Meadows. I have many fond memories of that area when I would back country camp there in my 20s. We came across a refreshing and exhilarating granite "water slide." It was a blast!

    I purchased the book "Wild" about one woman's experience on the PCT. I'm taking it on our vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I'll be thinking of you!

    Be well, Carrie Frazier