The origin of a lo hawk

I have had the tremendous privilege of traversing two of North America’s great long trails — Appalachian (GAME 2008) & Pacific Crest (MEXCAN 2005). For viewers unaware of the thru-hiker culture: most travelers use a trailname during their journey. Although it is customary to use the same trailname for multiple trips; I chose to designate each quest with its own appellation. During PCT ’05, I was known as ‘Mr Roboto’ (for my hiking style, not the STYX song). My AT name came about in a more fateful manner.

New Year’s Eve 2007 was the 20th anniversary of my marriage to wife, Sue. We spent our anniversary on the incredible Hawaiian Islands. On Maui, we hiked down into the crater of Haleakala volcano. At one point I was completely alone, deep in the crater, when a voice spoke to me. The voice instructed me to bring the ‘aloha spirit’ with me on my upcoming appalachian trek and I would have good luck and safe travels. I gave mahalo to the mountain spirit for this wonderful gift.

When I began my AT journey in April ’08, I greeted everyone I met on the trail with a heartfelt ALOHA! On the morning of the third day, I spied a shadow floating low over the treetops in the valley below me. It was at this moment that I realized the trail spirit had given me a new identity: ALOHA–HAWK= A LO HAWK.

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