Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Origin of "Llama Walker"

In October I had the good fortune to meet up with two experienced long distance hikers, Hippie Long Stockings and Wandering Hippie. No, those are not their real names, but names given to them during the course of their 7000 miles of hiking. Their real names are Kellie and Teresa, respectively. Although, my experience with them tells me that they identify with their trail names more than their birth names. Both have done the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail, so you can imagine how they feel about trail life and hiking; they live for it! I went to the Sierras in October to hike sections of the John Muir Trail as a consolation for not being able to hike the entire trail as I had planned to do with Tom Willard. My first night out, I camped just below Bishop Pass, where it snowed 4". It was still snowing in the morning and I had no recourse but to pack up and get down from the high country till the weather broke. As I was going down I noticed from the tracks in the snow that there were two other crazy people out in that weather. And, when I got down to the trail head I met them, two wild and free spirited women! They didn't have a vehicle because they were hiking the whole John Muir Trail, so there car was at the end of the trail, one hundred miles away. I wound up driving them all the way to Mammoth Lakes where their car was parked to start the hike. We wound up spending nearly a week together. First, we went to Death Valley just to get out of the weather. We then came back to the Sierras and hiked 45 miles in the Sierras together before going our separate ways. I asked the Hippies if they could give me a trail name by the end of our time together. They said that it had to come naturally, so if something came to mind, they would tell me. Well, after a few days of hiking together they named me "Llama Walker". Of course, it had everything to do with my conversation with them about my ownership and experience with llamas. At first, I didn't take to the name, but soon it stuck in my mind and now I can't see any other possible name! When I first got in to llamas, I never thought of myself as being so identified with them, but almost everyone who knows me wants to talk about my llamas when they learn that I own them and use them for packing. So, if you see me on the trail some day, just call me, "Llama Walker". Thank you, Hippie Longstockings and Wandering Hippie!


Hippie Long Stockings said...

Oh those crazy hippies! We too enjoyed our time with you Llama Walker. Next year I think I got a small group wanting to hike the entire JMT together. You want in??

Joe Staub said...

You got it, Hippie! Count me in. It'll be a blast. When were you thinking of doing it?