About: My Trail Name

Gravity, gotten a hold on me

Trail names are a tradition on long distance hiking trails. They give you a chance to adopt your own persona that is removed from your everyday identity in your non-hiking world.

Part of this tradition is to have your trail name given to you by others, but this is not a hard rule that all must follow.

I like tradition as much as the next person, but I needed to be practical when it came to a trail name. For one reason, I didn't want a name pinned on me that I didn't like.

Secondly, I intended to build this website and create other social media around it, and doing that with a trail name would be more personal.

So I decided to skip tradition and pick my own.

In my professional work as a web developer I have sometimes done freelance work under the name Starting Gravity. That name comes from a term used in the making of beer. It's a measurement taken before fermentation begins. After fermentation is complete, a second measurement is taken. With the two gravity readings it is possible to calculate the alcohol content of the beer.

I am a home brewer, so that name seemed like an easy choice. Still, I had some reluctance at first to use it.

That reluctance changed a couple years ago on a frosty December morning in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As I was walking down the trail I failed to see a large sheet of ice. Slipping on it, I came down flat on my face.

After picking myself up and continuing a short distance I met another hiker, who was headed in my same direction. We chatted awhile about hiking and the Appalachian Trail. I mentioned to him that I was thinking of adopting "Gravity" as my trail name, but I wasn't sure if it was good fit.

I explained about the beer reference and also mentioned the spill I had just before we met. I told him that falling down on the trail was something I did with some regularity. I couldn't explain why, other than I just seemed to be gravity challenged.

Less than five minutes later we came to a stream crossing. As I attempted to rock hop across the stream I took a spectacular back-flip into the water. I was unhurt, but getting soaked in near-freezing temperatures was not the best thing I could have done in that moment.

Nonetheless, we both agreed there were clear indications here that Gravity was the correct name for me.

Slow it down, big city
There's a fat cat there sitting pretty
Watch me break out in a cold sweat
Jump back in, you ain't seen nothing yet

You shake it up, you dance too fast
Make it real, make it last
If every man can dream then he can defy

G R A V I T Y, gravity, the big G
Gravity, G R A V I T Y, say it
Gravity, gotten a hold on me

From “Gravity” by Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.