What’s in a Trail Name? – New identities

Waterfall on Hounds Run, McIntyre Wild Area, Ralston, Pa.
Waterfall on Hounds Run, McIntyre Wild Area along Rock Run Road.

Ralston, Pa. – The sun dipped low in the sky. The road ice was warming, and the softening crystalline snow gave tenuous grip to our tires.

Slow and steady down the mountain now. These S-turns that abruptly end long steep straightaways of slush and ice would be deadly if a car careened off the brink in a 45 mph runaway. It would launch the car through the nude trees to the creek 200 feet below. Even the side canyon is 100 feet nearly straight down.

Rock walls with some climbing just off the Ellenton Grade on the top of Sullivan Mtn. (approx. 2,050 feet), Loyalsock State Forest.
Rock walls with some climbing just off the Ellenton Grade on the top of Sullivan Mtn. (approx. 2,050 feet), Loyalsock State Forest.

This is Sullivan Mountain in March. You’re tired from a day of lugging a 20-pound rope in your backpack and it feels like you walked a 20-mile day. Especially, if you count the cliffs you’ve climbed and rappelled from, the fast-tracking ahead to set up a camera for walk-through video shots, and the occasional backtrack because you went nearly a mile past one destination.

[Video coming soon]

Once you’re on black top roads again, it becomes a blur for about an hour. You’re brain and body are decompressing all the data. Some of it will be painful in the days to come as your body heals. You deal with it.

Josh Stadler, hiking buddy and extra hand in video production, takes in the view from our second cliff along the Old Loggers Path.
Josh Stadler, hiking buddy, trail name inventor, and extra hand in video production, takes in the view from our second cliff along the Old Loggers Path.

And then you’re in a parking lot of a restaurant — Bullfrog Brewery is a lively, place, great beer and food.

Your friend looks at you and says, “I don’t know about this ‘Gray Beard’ name you’ve been going by.”

“You mean Black Beard?”

“Yeah, that. I still don’t remember saying it.”

“OK. I’m pretty sure you did.”

“Well, I think I got a new name for you.”

“OK. [laughter] What is it, man?”

“It’s Shutter. Because you’re always stopping to take photos. Like a camera. You’re Shutter.”

“I like it. OK. [smiles] But I’m still carrying the pirate flag.

“Oh, of course. Definitely.”

Beautiful day for hiking and rock climbing in Loyalsock State Forest. This is looking roughly northwest to some windmills in the distance.
Beautiful day for hiking and rock climbing in Loyalsock State Forest. This is looking roughly northwest to some windmills in the distance.

So, there you have it. My buddy Josh decided I needed a new name. I like it. And he’s right, it actually does slow my pace, too. But it’s more fitting. And apparently this is the first time he actually suggested a name.

I guess I may have misunderstood what he said a couple of years ago. That happens from time to time. People can stand right next to each other, witness the same thing, and yet offer different versions of the story.

I’ll defer to my friend on what he said and meant. So Shutter it is.

Has a nice ring to it. Say cheese! CLICK.

More to come soon about our rock climbing trip in the Loyalsock State Forest.

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