Day 13. After some deliberation, I think I’ve finally come to accept a trail name. If you recall, I was given a possible name back on day 4, but I was not sure if it fit. Spoiler alert, it didn’t.
But first, a quick break down of today’s hike. Last night was .. yes, you guessed it … COLD! I slept well, but getting up was really hard. I stayed in my quilts as long as possible but finally submitted to morning around 8am. After a quick breakfast (and much needed hot coffee), we hit the trail to summit two of North Carolina’s famous Balds. A bald is exactly what you think it is, a mountain summit with no trees on the top.
First was Silah Bald, which was nice but underwhelming. Steve (now going by Nubs) and Julia attempted to sled down the snow packed hill with their butt pads. It didn’t work but was a fun adventure. Some other friends tried that once in Glacier Park years ago too, and ended just as poorly. Though also just as funny.
Next was Wayah Bald. This was significantly more beautiful. Atop Wayah Mountain is a lookout tower and view of the mountain landscape that rivaled Blood Mountain back at Neel Gap. We took a plethora of pictures (see above), and after a long break eventually made our way to Wayah Shelter a half mile down the trail.
Side note, around lunch time we met a crew of elementary school kids on a field trip from Alabama with their teacher and principal. They were very nice and (oddly) offered us each a beer to go with our lunches. I’m still a little confused why they had a cooler of beer, but did not refuse the kind trail magic. Makes me wonder what our teachers did on field trips back in the day…
Ok, so my trail name.
Back on day 4, Fun Facts tossed out the name “Oriole” because of how all my gear is orange and black, and because I sing while hiking (constantly). It was a cute idea, and was a nice throw back to my high school mascot, but failed for a couple reasons. One, it didn’t feel right. It was so early on and not really based on much at the time, so felt a bit forced. But two, and much worse … no one had any idea what an Oriole was. Seriously. “Did you say Oreo? Ariel from the Little Mermaid? L’Oréal??” Even after explaining, “no it’s Oriole, like the bird” … people STILL didn’t know what that was. Apparently no one on the AT community has ever been to Baltimore.
So I dropped it. Then a couple days ago a more appropriate name was realized. As the Tramily is well aware of by now, I tend to get lost a lot. I walked the wrong way out of our first night’s shelter for a few hundred feet, I overshot another shelter by half a mile, and found myself accidentally on a blue blaze trail more than once. I’m preoccupied by scanning the forest for animals or the trail for loose rocks. Also, we still do a lot of singing but for a few days it was a stretch of Disney songs (the 36 that Huevos had on his phone). So combining all that with the orange/black theme, the new name given was “Nemo”. An orange and black Disney character that gets lost. It fit great. Plus the whole surname familiarity thing was nice.
One problem though, apparently there is some big wig in the AT community already called Nemo. I really didn’t care, but it was made clear to me that if I want to continue involvement with this trail community in the future, it would behoove me to rethink using that name. If I write a book, expand my blog, open a hostel, etc. I don’t like giving up the name for such a silly reason, but fine. So we went back to discuss.
Then Nubs had an idea. Nemo has a nickname in the movie as well, a name given to him by new friends on his journey to get home. Sounds a lot like a trail name, right? Right. So that settles it. My trail name will be Nemo’s trail name … Sharkbait.
Here’s the best part. I told them if that is going to be my name, then any time it is mentioned, they need to respond with “hoo ha ha!” like in the movie. All agreed, and now I have a trail name that is clever, relative, and fun. So I guess from now on, I’ll be introducing myself to new people as Sharkbait.
Hoo ha ha!
- Start Mile: 110.0
- Start Time: 09:40
- End Mile: 120.2
- End Time: 16:50
- Miles Hiked: 10.2
- Miles to Go: 2070.7
- Lodging: Wayah Bald Shelter