I googled my trail name 

Back in 2009 on the Pacific Crest Trail, I hiked some miles with Bill “Skywalker” Walker who ended up writing a book about his experience:

I first saw Skywalker at Kennedy Meadows when he stepped into trail angel Tom’s internet trailer hunched over. He was indubitably the tallest man I’d ever seen at almost 7 feet. I refrained from commenting on that fact; he was well aware as evinced by his self-deprecating height-humor.

It wasn’t until Etna, California that we became acquainted and where he so generously bought me dinner; a dinner interrupted every 10 minutes by people wanting to know how tall he is. His wit was impressive having dealt with this very same question his whole life.

What is it like to be a person who stands out all the time, everywhere? Who has to special order tents, shoes, pants, sleeping bags… Who everyone expects to cover miles effortlessly! Welp, he doesn’t tell you in this book, instead the focus is on hikers he meets along the way.

What is it like to come across yourself as a character in someone else’s book?  You flip through all the pages until you see your name Not a Chance and your heart races and then you read she had a look like she’d been hurt by her male peers… And then you’re like ………(thinking)……..what does he mean?…..puzzlement…..madness…..

And then

But I thought I looked like Punky Brewster!

PCT 2009 Kennedy Meadows





17 thoughts on “I googled my trail name 

  1. This book is on audio too and I listened to it a few years back and had remembered that story when I came across your blog and seeing you on-trail last year on my SoBo section hike. He had quite the drawl reading the book I recall.



  2. In Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl she talks about dudes in the TV industry she calls “sunshine stealers”. They don’t have enough sunshine and awesomeness and flair of their own so they try to piggyback on yours/bring you down a couple notches so that they can feel strong (b/c their fucked-up sense of masculinity is based on the women around them being weaker/less awesome than they are). Luckily with time these people just sort of disappear into the sediment of the internet. (Not that that keeps me, in my darker moments, from googling them back into existence.) Your writing is awesome and brave, yr the read deal my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is a male trait to have a myopic view of themselves and their gender as it relates to the world. For a lot of these guys a strong, smart woman is an unknown. They would never allow anyone like that in their lives. They would never admit it, but that is a very real threat to their fragile image of themselves. Minimizing the accomplishment and success of the “weaker sex” keeps them in their place. The quickest way to do this is to play the sex card. In what they consider sensitive and perceptive they proceed to evaluate and subtlety criticize. These weak men will never realize what they are missing. They will never understand, as a man, that considering women your equal elevates both.


  4. Seriously, from this guy? I only met him briefly in Idyllwild and still managed to walk away with a earful of his dramaz (torrid townie romance, say what?) Punky Brewster over patriarchal bullshit any day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Maybe he’s dyslexic cause he got it wrong. “She had a look like she could take her male peers, chew em up like trail snacks, and leave them dazed and bewildered in her dust trail, scratching their heads about why it could be that this particular female peer caused their fragile egos so much butthurt.” I am sure that is what he meant to say.


  6. I don’t think your look says that, but, in all fairness, I do think your trail name does, assuming your trail name is “Not a Chance.” I don’t think he meant any harm in sharing his perception.

    Truthfully, if someone said that about me, I’d be puzzled and I’d wonder why they thought that… but they wouldn’t be wrong… I HAVE been hurt by male peers.

    Also, full disclosure, I listened to Walker’s audiobook about the Appalachian Trail, so perhaps my willingness to give him the benefit of the doubt rather than knock him is because I had a mostly favorable impression of him from that book.


    1. I take things literally. And also, I was mentally/physically abused as a child. You don’t hear my story. I’m not exactly sure what he meant, but he sure has a lot to say about female hikers in his book, not always favorable.


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