I keep getting asked about trail names so thought I would post this for everyone’s benefit. We have a tradition here at Freedom and it has to do with names. Once you have hiked with us and we get to know you, are given a special trail name. Why you ask?, well most hikers feel their trail name makes a statement about them that their given name never could. Often you see several heads turn to John or Mark, but not that many to “Treehugger”, “Lostandfound”, “Forestcat” .  A trail name is also a new beginning and a new identity to the person you really are. You could be a plumber a carpenter or a lawyer but to your fellow hikers you are the “Forestcat” for your tree climbing abilities or “Lonewolf” as you keep wandering off on your own away from the pack.

How one gets a specific trail name?, well this  varies, from your personality (Apeman), a physical trait (Grunter) to a funny incident (Ripper), a strength, a weakness, a memorable event on a trail, the kind of gear you carry (Kitchensink). Of course, some seasoned hikers join with their own trail names, and other legendary hikers are well known by just their Trail names. Regardless of what your Trail names is, if you are just getting into hiking it will soon become second nature to you. You may get your name in the first week or after a 100 miles of hiking with us. Don’t underestimate the power of trail names as conversation starters, lets face it, most people don’t come hiking to talk about their jobs, problems, relationship issues, they hike to forget their problems and recharge.

At freedom we have have a fun way of exploring mother nature with renewed perspective,  identity, adventure, and respect. We call this science ‘Essenceology’.

[Essence-e–oh-lo-jee] noun*

1.A study of the sublime effects of nature on the essence of the soul whilst on a  hike.

2.The science of hiking.

3.the effects, conditions and exchange of metaphorical processes in a Hike.

3.A deviation from the path of an unhealthy urban existence, to natures salvation and healing.

*I confess it’s not in a dictionary, but hey, it ought to be.

E.Tolle believes that there’s a definite relationship between your inner state of consciousness, and how you experience your external realities through your state of consciousness or unconsciousness. “The more conscious you are of your surroundings the lesser you notice a  conflict in situations around you”. He tells us that when you look at an object for example a flower, for a very brief moment you see just a form that the universe has created,  as opposed to what your mind has labelled it to be. In this “gap of thought” lies the key to your acceptance of the universe as it is. This gap can be extended if one is aware of it. So when you see a fellow hiker you don’t label him or her with Ah! that’s John or Tracy instead you open the door to a beautiful spiritual journey without your knowledge, in nurturing this new found fellow creation, and with time you identify a fellow hikers true personality.

No doubt the true meanings of our names have many great hidden inner meanings, but alas these meanings have more often than not been lost over time. Until we gain access to those secrets, let’s make the most of our Trail names and  the unique opportunities they offer us to search our souls, discover and experience our relationship with nature, and give us that  sense of escape that we need to experience to bring back inner peace to our lives. Trust me, if you don’t have a trail name as yet, you will certainly want one once you get started.

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