APPALACHIAN TRAIL – TERMS, DEFINITIONS AND LINGO

2000 Miler – Either a thru-hiker or a section hiker who has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail.

A.T. – A frequently used abbreviation for the Appalachian Trail.

Bald – A mountain top with no trees.

Bearbag – A bag for storing food and anything that smells like food (ie. toothpaste, soap, deodorant, and scented sunscreen.) It is usually strung up in a tree or in some cases hung from a the small ropes that you occasionally find in trail shelters.

Blowdown – Any debris that lies across the trail (including trees, brush, etc.)

Blue-Blazing – Short cutting a section of the main trail by following a side trail or a series of side trails which are often marked with blue-blazes. Note: Under adverse trail conditions (extreme cold, lightening, snow, blowdowns, washouts, etc.) blue-blazing is common practice.

Day Hiker – A hiker out for the day that usually carries a small backpack or no pack at all.

Flip-Flopper – A thru-hiker that hikes part of the trail going south to Springer Mountain, (or north to Mount Katahdin) then returns to the starting point and hikes north to Mount Katahdin (or south to Springer Mountain). Often this happens when a northbounder or southbounder gets behind schedule and is trying to avoid bad weather on the trail.

NOBO (Northbounder) – A person hiking from South to North

SOBO (Southbounder) – A person hiking from North to South

Section Hiker – A hiker that attempts to hike the entire Appalachian Trail (or any major trail) in a series of connected hikes but not necessarily within a single calendar year.

Slackpacking – Hiking without your backpack. Typically, someone drops you off at one place in the morning and picks you up somewhere else later in the day. (Originally this term referred to someone hiking the trail in a causal, non-hurried manner. In recent times, however, the original translation has taken on new meaning.)

Thru-Hiker – A hiker that attempts to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one continuous hike within a single calendar year.

Trail Angel – A kind-hearted individual who performs a good deed (for example, gives a ride into town or back to the trail) for a hiker.

Trail Magic – Any act of goodwill bestowed upon a day, section or thru-hiker by a total stranger who seeks nothing in return.

Trail Name – A unique name that is bestowed on any section or thru-hiker. The trail name is usually awarded by other hikers and is often based upon some personal characteristic or quirk that has been observed.

Trail Register – Used by hikers to communicate along the trail. These are usually notebooks that are left in shelters or hostels where hikers write messages for each other and share news, stories, etc.

Weekend Hiker (or weekend warrior) – A hiker that is on the trail for 1-4 nights

Yellow-Blazing – Hitch-Hiking around a section of trail which is sometimes referred to as “catching a yellow” which means following the yellow lines that divide the lanes on a two-lane highway.

Yogi-ing – The art of getting others (often picnickers or day hikers) to offer food to you without actually asking for it (as in Yogi Bear the cartoon)

Zero Day – A no-hiking day sometimes referred to “taking a zero” or hiking no miles that day.


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