This story was not told to me by a hiker like most of my others, but rather was witnessed by myself firsthand. This encounter occurred very close to my home woods of Ohio, way up North in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Cuyahoga Valley is a smaller park, one of the few parks in the East Coast area (comparatively), and doesn’t get near as much love as it should. This being said, it’s somewhat of a private heaven for those of us who take the trip into the valley, escaping the more populous of parks.
To lay some basis for this tale, I will describe its characters. Due to the nature of the sites at the Valley, having two to three people per group can be optimal. I had ached for a return to the forest, as it had been a fair amount of time since my last excursion. So, after some convincing, I managed to call up an old friend of the area and convince him to take the hike with me. He wasn’t a camper at all; 90% of what he carried that weekend was gear borrowed from me.
I was excited to take him on the trip with me. For those less experienced in the world of the outdoors, a big tradition and rite of passage for any novice outdoorsman to earn a “trail name,” a unique nickname given by other, more experienced hikers, usually in reference to an event at a camp out or something like that. My trail name is Spades, due to some card game fun on one of my first long hikes. The reason I am explaining all of this is because I had decided to take it upon myself to find an appropriate trailname for my friend. I had assumed it would be something silly, like a friend of mine who’s name was Ramen-bomben, following his creation of an instant ramen – potato – spam creation.