There are a lot of ways to identify us on the trail. One is by the name you know us by, another is by the AT tag number we are given when we start. (It’s a bright orange rectangular tag stamped “AT thru-hiker” and a number matching the number of people signed in when you registered at the start.) My number is 1330.
The third and best way to identify someone is with their trail name. Names are usually given to you when something unusual or funny happens, although not always. Not everybody we now know has a trail name yet, but some do. Let me tell you about how Peppermint received his name.
Remember how mice are a problem at camp and in shelters? Well, Toby had a mouse problem back in Denver, so a family member gave him peppermint oil to put around as a deterrent. He decided to bring it on the AT. The very first night he was sleeping away in his tent on an otherwise lovely night, when he heard a mouse chewing very close by.
The sound brought him awake quickly as he realized it was his backpack just outside the tent which was being chewed. He had left some snack in a pocket. He hurriedly opened his tent, grabbed his pack and pulled it in with him. A few minutes later he heard the mouse again, so he switched on his headlamp and looked around. When he opened his pack he saw the mouse already inside it, which completely wigged him out. I don’t remember how he rid the tent of the mouse, but afterwards he put peppermint oil everywhere in the tent and in his backpack.
The next day many people commented on how much he smelled like peppermint, and… now Toby is Peppermint. Ironically, he since learned bears are attracted to the smell.https://fromdreamtolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/img_0900.mov
So, that’s how we know each other on the AT. Karen chose Easy Bake for me, because I insisted on bringing silicone muffin cups to steam bake muffins on the trail. I realized I had accepted the name when somebody along the trail said “Are you Easy Bake?” as I walked into camp and I said yes. Easy Bake it is. Every night at camp somebody asks abut it and when they see the little muffin cups in my cook kit, they all agree it’s the right name.
Now, if only I could find some muffin mix and live up to my name. A muffin sounds pretty good right now.