“I’m gonna call you Cloudwalker because when you walk, it looks just like you’re walking on a cloud.”
Long-distance hikers have a long-standing tradition of naming each other. Everyone who walks long enough and far enough gets a name. The rules are simple: You can be named anything, and anyone can name you except yourself. There is only one qualifier: Both rules may be broken.
Trail names are a sign of community, of acceptance. It is the hiking community saying, “You belong to us. You are one of us.” It is a way of life on the trail; most of us couldn’t even call each other by our given names, and wouldn’t anyways, even if we knew.
I got my name while walking with an old-time, Louisiana hiker named Onestep who was, like me, carrying a pack much heavier than the average hiker yet somehow, both of us were managing to make good mileage. When hiking, I have a naturally light step and at the time, I was identifiable by my blue shirt and huge blue external frame backpack. After hiking and conversing for a time, he said, “I’m gonna call you Cloudwalker because when you walk, it looks just like you’re walking on a cloud.” Thus, I came to be known as Cloudwalker.
But a name is powerful, and this name tells more about me than simply denoting my trail identity. When traveling, especially on the trail, we are subject to all the vicissitudes of nature. Temperature extremes, hunger and thirst, bad weather, blistered feet all assault us at every turn. How can we overcome these trials? By keeping our minds open, accepting our circumstances, and learning to deal with them in a spirit of humility and acceptance, I am able to walk over them, as though I were “walking on a cloud.”
This website is dedicated to sharing my adventures on the trail and my travels throughout the world. Here, you can expect to find stories of the places I go to, the people I meet, and a few of the adventures I have had while on trail.