When I was younger I dreamed of one day hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. As I have aged my appreciation for clean sheets and need for a good mattress have made me reconsider that dream. I do still enjoy reading the blogs of PCT hikers. I have done more hiking than in years past and plan to continue that going forward. I expect that my age will and the level physical impact from these adventures will ensure that my aspirations remain appropriately meager.
I always enjoyed the rhythm that one grew into after a few days on the trail. The simplicity of the routine and the Zen-like peace that comes from becoming more and more efficient have always intrigued me. This applies both to my personal routines and equipment as well as my interaction with my hiking companion(s). The constant experiment and refinement results in a quiet satisfaction.
One of the many oddities of long distance hikers is they assume a trail name. Trail names allow a certain anonymity as well as being more memorable than saying, “My name is Justin or Laurel.” Who can forget names like Twinkletoes, Four Eyes, Pancake or Pied Piper?
We aren’t going far enough to justify real trail names, but in the spirit of calling this my OBDT* for 2020 we’re going for it. (*OBDT = One big dumb thing = A nickname for an event that middle aged men sign up for and then use fear and panic to motivate them to train for it. No more than one per year, typically in the summer.)
My son has had the nickname Tarzan for a long time and that works for this application. For myself, I wanted to acknowledge not just my age but my experience, which hearkens back to a skills almost unknown in 2020. I learned with paper maps and compasses. They don’t require batteries. I’m not going so far back that we are talking sealskin and oiled canvas, but the skillset I have is rare among hikers today. So after some consideration for calling myself O.G., I declare, “Call me Analog.”