It occurs to me that some readers may not understand the title of this Blog: "Adventures of a Bad Ass." To avoid the impression that I actually believe I am a bad ass, I will tell the story of my trail name.
In 2001, I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and collected data for my dissertation at the same time (and yes, I've only got one damn article published from it!). I had taken the trail name "Turtle" as a symbol of my desire to be persistent, to be connected to the earth, etc. Then, after about two months of hiking (400 some odd miles), I injured my piriformis -- a big muscle in my rear -- and had to leave the trail for a month and a half of physical therapy. Yes, on my rump. What made it so bad was that the piriformis muscle, because it was injured, banged away on my sciatic nerve, making it impossible for me to sit, stand, lie down, or simply BE without pain.
Just before my completely self-sacrificing, wonderful, and ever-lovin' spouse showed up in Damascus, Virginia, to collect my sad self and take me to a hospital where I could get good drugs and some rest, a couple of hiking friends (Chris and Triple Slim) stopped by the drug store, bought a little stuffed donkey, and brought it to me in a paper bag. They said, "Your trail name used to be Turtle. Now it's (drum roll, please) Bad Ass Turtle."
That donkey is now sitting on my desk, as a reminder for me to be who I truly am. Not just a bad ass, but Bad Ass Turtle.