For those of you who don't know, trail names are a tradition on the Appalachian Trail and many long distance hiking trails. You can choose your trail name or even better It can be given to you on the trail. The risk of getting a trail name given to you is that it could be for something embarrassing like "Snot Rocket" or 'Monkey Butt".
Initially I was hesitant about them. In the 5 years we have been hiking the Appalachian Trail, I have changed my thinking. Hiking the trail and the trail community is very special and is something worthy of going outside my comfort zone to participate in.
Sassafras got her trail name last year when we were hiking the first half of the A.T. in Georgia. One of the First big climbs is Sassafras Mountain. All of the new thru hikers we were with were talking about how hard they heard the climb was. All morning she was asking when we were going to get to Sassafras Mountain and how "Sassy" was it going to be. In the afternoon we were taking a water break and one of the Thru hikers we had been hiking with, Rainbow Dash walked up. Sassafras asked her is she knew when we were going get to climb Sassafras Mountain. Rainbow Dash informed her she had hiked over it an hour ago. Having started hiking at such a young age on the A.T. in Maine and New Hampshire, she had a different idea of what a "tough climb" was. It also happened that Rainbow Dash knew a lot about the flora of the area and told us we were sitting right next to a sassafras bush. She went on to tell us all about the plant, the three types of leaves and the uses for the different parts of the plant. As she walked away she said "Well I guess you have a trail name now "Sassafras". and that how she got her name.
I guess I got my trail name the first year we started hiking the A.T. when she was 8 years old. Sassafras always wants to be in front and I am always pulling up the rear. A few of the hikers we met said I looked like the Caboose. Sassafras has always like to read the shelter registers and write about her hikes. The first time she wrote my trail name she spelled it "Kaboose" and that the way its been spelled ever since. Until this year when I was asked what my trail name was, I would say I did not have one. As I realized all the wonderful things that the trail has to give, I opened up a little and now can say I am very proud to be the Kaboose on the Sassafras Express.