In the following months I’ll tread a few tall stories and short along the way mostly of day to day impedimenta. I may but, most likely not explain the terms I use, please bookmark this entry. Some slang is humorous and self- descriptive, others well less then savory around a table of finery. Mostly the terms, like traditions, pull a community together.
Some of the folks I lifted this glossary from chose to put these in a semblance of order of category, I’m not doing that. These are directly lifted from a variety of sources. This list of resources is not inclusive of everyone I gathered from.
“Plagiarism is stealing from one person… Research is stealing from many.”
I’ll give as much credit as I can as the original glossary on WhiteBlaze.net was not available at the initial writing.
At this point, bookmarking this entry is highly advised as it get's wordy.
2000 Miler: a person who has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, either by thru-hiking or section hiking. Also called an end-to-ender
Airline: a trail that runs more or less straight regardless of how steep the terrain is. As if you drew a line through the air, rather than use switchbacks or contouring to get from point a to point b.
A.L.D.H.A.: the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association began in 1983 as an off-trail family of fellow hikers who have all shared similar experiences, hopes and dreams on the Appalachian Trail and other long trails. ALDHA sponsors the Gathering each October and member volunteers compiles The Thru-hikers’ Companion for the ATC. Membership in this nonprofit group is open to all. www.aldha.org
Alcohol Stove: a stove that runs on denatured alcohol or HEAT (gas-Line antifreeze & water remover). I use finger burner, as often I’ve burnt a finger lighting it or reaching for my pot. Since the flame is blue, it’s often not seen in bright day light.
Alpine Zone: the area consisting of all the land above tree line in New England. The alpine zone is best defined by its plant life. Conifers such as spruce and balsam grow as Krumholz near the tree line, giving way to tundra-type lichens, moss, and shrubs above.
A.M.C.: the Appalachian Mountain Club, maintaining the AT in the White Mountains of New Hampshire to Grafton Notch in Maine.
AMC Huts: in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, in heavy use areas and above treeline, the AMC provides buildings called Huts for backpackers to stay overnight. Aka Hut or Huts.
Apron: transition area on a switchback. Going up a switchback, it's where you stop, look at the new direction up and groan. Going downhill, it's where you crash if you're out of control.
Arête: a steep ridge; pointy.
Armoring: covering on a trail surface; rock, brick, stone, concrete, or other material.
AT: the Appalachian Trail.
A.T.C.: the Appalachian Trail Conservancy The Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC) is a volunteer-based, private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, management, and promotion of the Appalachian Trail as a primitive setting for outdoor recreation (on foot) and for learning. ATC is both a confederation of Trail-maintaining clubs and an individual-membership organization. www.appalachiantrail.org
A.T. Guide: is the full-trail handbook for the Appalachian Trail. In this guide are landmarks, mileages, elevations and town information is provide for the entire AT. http://www.theatguide.com/
Appalachian Trailways News (ATN): is the monthly news magazine of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Aqua Blazer: a hiker that canoes, kayaks or swims the Shenandoah River around Shenandoah National Park instead of taking the AT through the Shen'doahs. Because of the direction of the river, this can only be done north.
Avery, Myron Avery 1931-1952: the first 2000 miler and the man credited with building the Appalachian Trail. Chair of the ATC from 1931 until his death in 1952.
AYCE: All You Can Eat’ Restaurants which provide all you can eat buffets and are very popular with thru-hikers.
AYH: is the abbreviation for American Youth Hostels.
Backcountry: area where there are no maintained roads or permanent buildings—just primitive roads and trails.
Backslope: trail construction term. Describes the cut bank along the uphill side of the trail, extending upslope from the tread (the part of the trail you walk on).
Bald: a relatively low elevation mountain surrounded by forest yet devoid of trees on the crown. Typically covered with meadows; balds can offer great views and are a good place to find wild berries, they also attract much wildlife. Balds are located is the southern Appalachians.
Base: primary excavated bed of a trail upon which the tread, or walking surface lies.
Base Course: layer material placed on a trailbed to support surfacing. Trail construction term.
Baseball Bat Shelter (Floors): an old style of shelter construction in Maine where the floor would be constructed out of parallel logs each with diameters not much greater than that of a baseball bat.
Base Weight:This is the weight of a hiker’s backpack and clothing (often including everything worn) but not including food and water. It is generally assumed that the lighter the base weight, the more enjoyable the journey, but this may not always be the case. (For a related term, see ‘Skin-Out Weight’ below).
Baxter: Baxter State Park, where Mount Katahdin is located. It is also the AT’s northern terminus on Baxter Peak.
Bear Bag: The bag used by hikers to hang their food out of reach of bears and other critters, see ‘Food Bag.’
Bear Box: A box to keep your foodstuff safely stowed away from beasts. Not to be confused with a ‘bounce box’ or a ‘bear canister’
Bear Cable: A permanent cable rigged high between two trees specifically for hanging bear bags.
Bear Canister: a portable container used to secure food from bears
Bench: a long step, or tier, on the side of a hill. You climb until you reach the bench, then you walk across it, then climb until you reach the next bench.
BFR: large rock you have to expel quite a bit of effort to climb over. Alternatively, cavers and climbers use this expression to describe a rock they don't want falling on their heads.
Biner: abbreviation for carabiner (see also) clip with closure for attaching to ropes.
Black-Blazer: someone -- usually a disgruntled townie -- who paints over or otherwise removes trail markers to prevent hikers from finding the trail.
Blaze: Mark on a tree, rock, sign, etc. indicating the trail route.
Black flies: there are about 40 species of these tiny biting insects. They breed in running water and flourish in late May and June in Maine. A major trail nemesis.
BMT: the Benton MacKaye Trail also starts at Springer Mountain and goes north to Davenport Gap.
Bivouac: to sleep outdoors without a tent or proper gear, usually done only in emergency situations. However, alpine climbers may do planned bivouacs on long and difficult routes, carrying gear known as a bivouac sack.
Bivy Sack: is a lightweight and waterproof bag that covers a sleeping bag. A simple, but sometimes cramped shelter.
Blazes: are painted, 2-inch by 6-inch, vertical white rectangles that are placed at eye height on trees and other objects, in both directions, to mark the official route of the Trail. Side trails are marked with blue blazes. You see horizontal, diagonal, arrows, and other blazes along the Trail.
Blaze orange: this is a very bright, visible in low light, hue of orange. The best color to wear during hunting season.
Bliss Index: a scale that attempts to place a hiker’s state of blissfulness into numerical form; a score of ten is absolute bliss, while a score of one borders on boredom or misery
Blowdown: is a tree that has fallen across the trail.
Blue blaze: spur trails off the AT to bad-weather routes, views, shelters, water sources etc. They are often marked by AT style blazes painted Blue.
Blue blazer: is a long-distance hiker who substitutes a section of blue-blazed trail for a white-blazed section between two points on the Trail.
Boardwalk: planking built on pilings in areas of wet soil or water to provide dry hiking.
Bog bridge: narrow wooden walkway placed to protect sensitive wetlands.
Bollard: round post barrier, often metal, usually 4' high, to prevent vehicles from entering a trail.
Bounce box or bucket: a mail-drop type box or 5-gallon bucket containing seldom used necessities that is ‘bounced’ ahead to a town where you think you might need the contents.
Brown blazing: is taking a detour off the trail to take a dump.
Buffer zone: these are areas important to, but not part of, the Appalachian Trail.
Bushwhack: to hike where there is no marked trail.
Cache (pronounced cash): usually an unnatural water or food source provided by trail angels; (see: ‘trail angel’).
Cairn: a manmade pile of rocks erected as a trail marker. They are mostly seen above timberline. Cairns should be close enough to see the next one in heavy fog, and high enough to see above fallen snow. They are also called a ‘duck’.
Camel up or Tank up: to drink your fill of water at the source until you are filled up, then hike on.
Canister Stove: the type of small backpacking stove that uses metal cans of fuel. This type is required on other trails.
Canopy: upper layer of leaves in a forest, covering the ground below.
Caretaker: is the person who maintains and collects fees at certain shelters and campsites.
Cat Hole: this is a small hole dug by a hiker to deposit human waste.
Cirque: is a half-open steep-sided hollow at the head of a valley or on a mountainside, formed by glacial erosion. The bowl of Tuckerman Ravine is a cirque.
Class: usually referred to in terms of technical climbing, for example, "The splatter route is definitely a 5.13" Here's what it all means: Class 1 is a simple mountain that can be climbed wearing a pair of sneakers -- little more than a nature loop. Class 2 includes minor handholds, more or less to steady yourself as you clamber up the mountain. Class 3 includes some vertical climbing, and perhaps use of a rope. Class 4 is any climb that requires use of a belay, in which another climber is required to remain stationary to take up slack and arrest the fall of the active climber. Class 5 is any climb that requires ropes to be attached to fixed objects, such as a tree or piton. The attachment is not to aid in ascent, but rather to protect in the event of a fall. Class 5 is the one with the most "variables." A Class 5.0 has two handholds and two footholds. Class 5.4 is missing a hold. Class 5.8 has a hold available for one hand and one foot only. Class 5.12 has no visible holds. Class 5.13 is a surface with no holds and is under an overhang. Class 5 is often further broken up, such as 5.13a, but this arcana is really in the climber's arena...not ours. Class 6 is any climb that requires artificial assistance to be carried out, whether it be ropes dropped from above or other mechanical aids.
Col and Sag: are typically dips in the ridge without a road, while gap and notch are typically larger dips that have a road going through. Sag is a typically southern term, as is gap, while col and notch are typically northern terms. Water gap is a gap with a river.
Companion: the ALDHA Thru-hikers’ Companion is an AT guidebook compiled by AHLDA volunteers for the ATC.
Corridor: the Appalachian Trail is a long and narrow Park, sometimes less than 100 feet wide.
Cove: is a Southern Appalachian word meaning a high, flat valley surrounded by mountains.
Couloir: a gully on a mountainside. Could be a gully in the ground, or in snow.
Corridor: the Appalachian Trail is a long and narrow Park, sometimes less than 100 feet wide. The Area set aside for the AT to pass within is called the Trail Corridor.
Cowboy camping: is sleeping under the stars, without a tent.
Cowboy coffee: is a coffee, made the old-fashioned way.
Croo: are the crew of caretakers who at the Appalachian Mountain Club Huts. For the most part, the summer Croo will be college students.
Cryptosporidium: a waterborne pathogen, Cryptosporidium is a parasite commonly found in lakes and rivers, especially when the water is contaminated with sewage and animal wastes. Aka Crypto.
Crux: the hardest part or "key" to a climb.
Data Book: published for over 30 years by the ATC the Data Book is a consolidation of the most basic guidebook information into a lightweight table of distances between major Appalachian Trail shelters, road-crossings, and features–divided according to the guidebook volumes and updated each December to account for Trail relocations, new (or removed) shelters, and other changes.
Deadfall: is a trail maintainer’s term for fallen dead trees across the trail.
Death March: unusually long, not very interesting hike. Term often applied when forced to take a dull trail to reach the one you really want to be on.
DEET: is a powerful insect repellant.
DOC: is the Dartmouth Outing Club, which maintains about 70 miles of AT in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Double blaze: two blazes, one above the other as an indication of an imminent turn or intersection in the trail. Offset double blazes, called Garveys, indicate the direction of the turn by the offset of the top blaze.
Dodge ways: are V-shaped stiles through fences, used where the Trail passes through livestock enclosures.
Drift Box: (see: ‘bounce box’. They are synonymous).
Dry Camp: a waterless camping spot.
Duct Tape: a wide, heavy duty and multipurpose tape used by hikers for everything from covering blisters to repairing gear.
Dude blazing: altering one’s hiking speed so as to keep pace with an attractive male, in an attempt to eventually have sex with that individual.
Ego blazing: hiking the trail according to a rigid itinerary because a Trail Legend told you that’s what you’re supposed to do.
Endangered Services Campaign: ALDHA’s response to preserving the positive relationship between hikers and service providers
End-to-ender: is an alternative term for 2,000-Miler.
Fall line: the fall line is the most direct route downhill from any particular point. The Appalachian Trail runs the fall line in much of New England.
False Lead: it looks like the trail, smells like the trail, and for a while it seems like you're on the trail...but you actually followed the false lead off the true trail.
Fast Pack/Fast Packing: is a term for carrying less gear and hiking more miles per day.
FenLow: flat, marshy land or a bog
Flip-flop: a term used to signify a hiker that starts hiking in one direction then at some point decides to jump ahead and hike back in the opposite direction. Some hikers on the AT will start hiking northbound from Springer Mt. and usually at Harpers Ferry they may decide to go to Katahdin and hike back down to Harpers Ferry, thus completing their thru-hike. This is a good way for someone to still get their hike completed if they are behind and their time is limited due to the oncoming winter.
Food Bag: a bag a hiker carries in their pack specifically for storing their food. It is typically suspended from a tree at night so bears and varmints don’t get into the food. It is also called a Bear Bag.
Footprint: a ground sheet for a tarp or tent and of course, a mark left behind by a foot.
Forty-sixer: peakbagger slogging up the 46 highest peaks in New York's Adirondacks. One of the better-known peakbagging milestones.
Freehiking: hiking off of established trails. Unlike "bushwacking" which is usually done as a short-cut, freehiking intentionally seeks a complete hike experience free of artificial boundaries. Some speedhikers are also freehikers.
FSO ‘From Skin Out:’ when considering the weight of gear, it’s important to remember that your total gear weight ‘from the skin out’ is as important a total as what your pack weighs.
GAME or GAMEr: is a hike or hiker going from Georgia to Maine.
Gap: a southern term for a low spot along a ridgeline, called a col in the northern states.
Gathering: the ALDHA Gathering, held every October.
Garvey, Ed Garvey 1914-1999: a celebrated friend of the AT, conservationist, thru-hiker, author of 1971s “Appalachian Hiker”. It is an adventure story, which offered practical advice for AT hikers, and is widely credited with popularizing backpacking and the Appalachian Trail. A ‘Garvey’ is also a double blaze where the top blaze is offset to indicate the direction of a turn in the Trail.
Gear head: is a hiker whose focus is backpacking and outdoors gear.
Gear Acquirement Syndrome (GAS): the need for new hiking toys.
Gearly Afflicted: as a camping enthusiast who knows no boundaries when it comes to owning new equipment.
Getting off: the polite way to say someone is quitting their thru-hike, the implication being he may get back on.
Giardia: is also called giardiasis, is an infection of the lower intestines cause by the amoebic cyst, Symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloating, loss of appetite and vomiting. Also know as, a backpacker’s worst nightmare.
GORP: is an acronym for good ole raisins & peanuts, or some other variation thereof.
Ghost-Blazing: the art of following a section of trail that is no longer used. When a trail is "re-routed," usually the old blazes are blackened out.
Glonk: a clueless idiot who doesn't realize that uphill hikers have the right of way on a trail, and just bulldozes down.
Gray Water (Dirty dishwater): Some campsites will have designated spots to dump your gray water. Some designated spots are provided with a strainer so that food particles can be removed from the gray water and packed out.
Green blazing: smoking marijuana while hiking.
Ground Control Hiker: is a support person who handles the ‘real world’ concerns like bills and pets, and mails a hiker packages along the trail.
Gunks: abbreviation for the Shawangunk ridgeline in New York State, located between the Catskills and the Hudson River. The Gunks are generally recognized as the center of rock climbing in the eastern U.S.
Half Bench: type of trail where half of it is excavated out of the slope and the outside of the trail tread contains the excavated material. Trail looks as if it were chipped out of the side of the hill, which is what it is.
Handbook: the Thru-hiker's Handbook is an AT guidebook compiled by Dan Bruce.
Happy Camper: one who loves what they are doing.
Harpers Ferry: the ATC’s National Headquarters and Information Center is located in Harpers Ferry WV, about 1000 AT miles north of Springer Mountain. A short blue blazed trail leads to HQ, where AT hikers traditionally sign the register and have their photo taken.
Headlamp: is a small flashlight attached to a band or strap and worn on the head.
HEAT: liquid used during the winter in automotive gas tanks, it is used as a substitution for denatured alcohol.
Hicker: is a person who is still trying to figure out the whole hiker/gear thing while on the trail.
Hiker Box: is a cabinet or box at hostels where hikers donate unwanted food for the hikers coming behind them.
Hiker hunger: a phrase referencing the intense appetites thru-hikers develop while on the trail
Hiker Midnight: any time after sunset as late as 9pm.
Hiker Trash: a good-humored, self-effacing name many hikers call themselves
Hiking in Appalachia: 1. Hiking the Appalachian Trail, or in the surrounding area. 2. having an extra-marital affair.
Hammock: a sleeping system that combines a tarp and sleeping bag or quilt, and is hung between two trees.
Hostel: an establishment along the trail that has bunks, showers, shuttles, and sometimes cooking and mail drops, for AT hikers
Hundred-Mile Wilderness, the: a town-less 100-mile section of the Appalachian Trail running between Abol Bridge just south of Baxter State Park and Monson, Maine. Generally considered one of the wildest sections of the trail.
Hydration System: is another method of carrying and drinking water. It consists of a plastic bladder, hose, and mouth piece/valve that allows hands free drinking
HYOH: hike your own hike, and not imitate someone else’s. Do your own thing.
Hypothermia: potentially fatal condition caused by insufficient heat and a drop in the body’s core temperature.
Janglies: refers to carabiners, pitons, etc. that dangle from a climber and clank around during a climb. A term I use to describe anything that is not secured to one’s pack.
Iceberg: icebergs are large rocks planted in the ground at an overused campsite to discourage any more tenting.
International Appalachian Trail: the IAT runs north and east from Maine’s Katahdin to the Gaspé Peninsula in New Brunswick, and across to Newfoundland.
Katahdin: the AT’s northern terminus is at Baxter Peak on Maine’s Katahdin. Katahdin is a Penobscot Indian word meaning Greatest Mountain.
Knob: a prominent rounded hill or mountain.
Krumholtz: the stunted and gnarled trees found near treeline, especially in the White Mountains.
Lean-to: is another word for a three-sided open shelter, used primarily in New England.
Leki: is a hiking staff that resembles a ski pole, a common name for all poles made by the other brands.
LEO: an acronym for “law enforcement officer.”
Long-distance hiker: is anyone who is hiking more than a few weeks, and who usually has to resupply at least once their hike; often used interchangeably with the term thru-hiker. At Baxter State Park, a LDH is someone who has hiked in from 100 or more miles south.
LNT: means ‘Leave No Trace’, a philosophy and skill used to pass as lightly as possible when backpacking.
Lyme disease: a debilitating illness carried by small ticks.
Long Trail: Vermont’s 273 mile, Long Trail runs from the Massachusetts to Canadian border, the AT follow the southern section of the LT for 105 miles.
MacGyver:named after an old TV show where the hero would construct useful devices out of common materials. To hikers it means to build or repair gear with imagination.
MacKaye: Benton MacKaye (rhymes with high, not hay) is the man who in 1921 proposed an Appalachian Trail as the connecting thread of a ‘project in regional planning.” MacKaye envisioned a trail along the ridge crests of the Appalachian Mountain chain from New England to the Deep South, connecting farms, work camps, and study camps that would be populated by eastern urbanites needing a break from the tensions of industrialization.
Mail Drop: mail drops are a method of re-supply while hiking. A mail drop is usually made ahead of time, before the hike starts, and a person not hiking (usually a spouse or relative, but it can be a friend) mails the package according to a pre-arranged schedule so that it arrives on time for the hiker to receive it at the post office.
MATC (Maine Appalachian Trail Club): this is the trail-maintaining club responsible for trail maintenance from Grafton Notch, Maine to Baxter Peak.
Maintainer: is a volunteer who participates in the organized Trail-maintenance programs of the ATC and its member clubs.
MEGA or ME-GA: is a hike or hiker going from Maine to Georgia.
Misery Index: a scale that attempts to place a hiker’s state of suffering and misery into numerical form; a score of ten is absolute misery, while a score of one borders on blissfulness.
Mount Katahdin: is located in Maine. The summit is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Mountain Money: is toilet paper.
Mouse hanger: a cord and can contraption used to discourage mice from entering a pack or food bag when hung in a shelter.
MUDS: mindless up and downs. Where the trail goes up and back down for no reason other than the amusement of whomever laid out the trail. Very aggravating. Usually occurs when some control freak at a local trail council is realigning a major trail, and wishes to put his or her mark on the route, or is trying to increase the amount of mileage under their control. Aka PUDS
Nalgene: eefers to water bottle.
National scenic trail: is the official designation for a trail protected by the National Scenic Trails System Act of 1968.
Nero: is almost a Zero, in other words, a very short mileage day.
NOBO: northbound thru-hiker, also a GAMEr (Georgia > Maine)
NOC: the Nantahala Outdoor Center. A lot of folks make the mistake of referring to Wesser, NC as “NOC.”
NPS: is the abbreviation for National Park Service.
Pack-out: Also known as "carry-out." The practice of leaving nothing -- and that does mean nothing -- behind on a backpacking trip. Require ziploc bags, PVC tubes with caps, etc.
Pink blazing: term used when a male or female is following there partner on the trail. Also used for one who is seeking relationship(s) on the trail.
Platinum blazing: spending high amounts of cash while hiking. An equivalent mainstream phrase is “living the high life.”
Pot Cozy: a foam or cloth wrap to keep a cooking pot warm while it finishes cooking.
Posthole: is hiking in deep snow without snowshoes or skis, leaving large holes in the trail. Postholing is considered bad form and makes subsequent snowshoeing or skiing unpleasant and hazardous.
Post-Hole Digger (PhD): is a hiker who enjoys post holing.
Power hiker: is a hiker who habitually chooses to cover very long distances each day, often hiking late into the evening.
Privy: is a trailside outhouse for solid human waste.
Prescribed burns: intentional fires conducted by forestry services to clear underbrush and eliminate some of the fuel for potentially larger unintentional fires. These used to be called "controlled burns" but since they seldom are, the name was changed.
PUDS: is shorthand for “pointless ups and downs”, referring to the less interesting sections of mountains thru-hikers encounter from time to time; several PUDS in a row are MUDS, which is shorthand for “mindless ups and downs”.
Pulaski: is a half axe and half adze hand tool, the Pulaski is a multipurpose trail building and maintaining tool.
Puncheon (also called a bog bridge): is a wooden walkway built to provide a stable, hardened tread-way across bogs, mud flats, and marshy areas.
Purist: is a thru-hiker who does not deviate from the official trail route and refuses to slack pack.
Rainbow-Blazer: term used by "thru-hikers" to describe people who hook together all sorts of routes to complete a trail including hitch-hiking.
Red blazing: hiking while bleeding due to an injury.
Register: a logbook normally found at a trail shelter. The original intent was for hikers to sign in so a searcher needing to find a lost hiker could tell where they last were, now it’s the main method for thru-hikers to communicate with each other.
Relo: a section of trail recently relocated.
Repeat Offender: a person who has hiked the same long distance trail more than once.
Ridge Runner: a person hired to patrol a certain section of trail to educate hikers, enforce regulations, monitor trail and campsite use, and sometimes perform trail maintenance or construction duties.
Rime ice: white super-cooled water droplets that stick to surfaces and freeze into the direction of the wind.
Ruck: a ruck is technically an informal gathering, but in recent years, informal gatherings have become scheduled events at various places along the trail. I use this term to describe my backpack and is short for rucksack.
Scramble: has a couple of meanings in hiking circles. Generally, to climb in a hurried, helter-skelter fashion, having to use your hands. If it's a climb you probably could do without your hands, but you feel compelled to use them, it likely classifies as a scramble. Scramble also refers to a group of climbers going up a slope using all sorts of routes, sort of a "get up however you can since there's no trail here and we'll meet at a certain point."
Scree: The sort of stuff found on a talus slope...loose rocks, scrabbly, hard to get good footing on. Picky people, sticklers for detail will claim that scree is smaller than talus. All we know is that it's tough to walk on.
Section hiker: Is a person who is attempting to become a 2,000-Miler by doing a series of section hikes over time.
Shaffer: Earl Shaffer 1918-2002 “The Crazy One,” the first person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Poet, WW2 veteran, author of ‘Walking With Spring,’ and ‘The Appalachian Trail, Calling Me Back To The Hills,’ and three time thru-hiker, northbound in 1948, southbound in 1965, and northbound again at age 79, 50 years after his first hike. http://www.earlshaffer.com/
Shelter: a three sided wooden or stone building, spaced out a half-day’s hike apart, near a water source, and with a privy. The AT has many kinds of shelters, from barns to cabins.
Shelter Rat: usually refers to thru-hikers, shelter rat is anyone who camps exclusively in trail shelters.
Shuttle: is a ride from town to trailhead, usually for a fee.
Side Trail: a trail leading off of the main trail either to a water source, place of camp (such as a shelter or a campsite), a view, monument, to town, or around a difficult part of the trail. Side trails off the AT are blazed blue.
Sil-Nylon: a paper-thin water resistant nylon commonly used amongst thru-hikers.
Skunked: failing to get a car to stop when hitch hiking into towns.
Slabbing or contouring: refers to going around a mountain on a moderately graded footpath, as opposed to going straight up and over the mountain.
Slackpacking: is a hiking term originating in 1980, by O.D. Coyote to describe an unhurried and non-goal-oriented manner of long-distance hiking (i.e., slack: “not taut or tense, loose”). In recent years has been used to refer simply to thru-hiking without a backpack.
SOBO: southbound thru-hiker, also a MEGA (Maine –> Georgia)
Social Trails: unofficial shortcuts that connect individual sites to each other, restrooms, etc. at campgrounds.
Soloing: whether hiking, backpacking or climbing, soloing is going alone. When climbing, soloing vaguely means doing any climb by yourself where injury would result in the event of a fall.
Southbounder: a hiker who is hiking the AT from Maine to Georgia. A small minority of hikers actually hike this direction, primarily because of black flies.
Speedhiking: intentionally running the length of a hiking trail to establish and compete against your personal best time and sometimes to compete against times established by others.
Spruce Trap: when snow is deep enough that it covers the top of a spruce tree, beware. Since there will be voids in the snow pack, you can fall into those voids and get caught. When you appear to be above timberline, but you know that the trees are 8 feet high at this place in summer, then beware. Since you can’t see where the trail is, you cannot stay on it, and you cannot avoid the spruce traps.
Springer Mountain: Is located in Georgia the summit is the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Springer fever: is the almost uncontrollable urge to be back on the Trail that hits thru-hikers of past years each spring.
Spork: an eating utensil, which serves as both a spoon and a fork; It is a spoon with small fork-like tines protruding from it.
Stash Hunting: original term for "geocaching." Now may be used for someone looking for someone else’s stuff.
Stealth Camp/Stealth Camping: a campsite hidden from view and the trail, where the goal is to go unnoticed. Stealth campers leave no trace of their existence.
Stile: steps constructed over a fence to allow people, but not livestock, to pass.
Swag: this is the lowest connecting point between two ridges in the South.
Sweep: last hiker in a group by design. Person follows all others, ensuring that no one falls behind or is left needing assistance.
Switchback: is a method of building a trail, which forms a zigzag of trails up a mountain. The strategy is to prevent erosion and to make the climb easier.
Tarp: is a basic shelter with no floor and usually no door.
Ten essentials: Short lists of 10 or 12 items thought necessary by day hikers in their pack. One example of such a list: Map, Compass, Water and a way to purify it, Extra food, Rain gear/extra clothing, Fire starter and matches, First aid kit, Army Knife/multipurpose tool, flashlight with extra batteries/bulbs, sun screen/sun glasses.
Tent Pad/Platform: at some camping sites, tenting is restricted to built up earthen ‘pads’ or wooden ‘platforms’ to ease impact on the area.
Thru-hikers: traditionally a person who is attempting to become a 2,000-Miler in a single, continuous journey leaving from one terminus of the Trail, and backpacking to the other terminus.
Ticks: they are small, parasitic insects that can carry Lyme disease and other illnesses.
Tin can or Pepsi can stove: another name for an alcohol stove.
Tourist: more or less the same as the regular definition, but with the added meaning of someone who blasts into a scenic area, stays at a resort property and plays lots of golf. When they do hike, they head for the busiest trail wearing the latest gear and blabbing into a cell phone. Carries a topo map on a nature loop. If they have kids, they usually throw rocks off the summit while mom or dad is oblivious. Generally expects the local populace to bow and cater to their needs since they are spending lots of cash.
Townie: someone who lives near, and perhaps lurks about, a popular trail. Some townies help thru-hikers; others go out of their way to hassle hikers. In either case, the expression "get a life" comes to mind.
Tour Hiker: a person who pretends to be hiking the entire AT, as a thru-hiker, but instead skips sections and usually looks for ways to spend more time lounging in towns and less time hiking the AT; usually scoffs at the traditions of thru-hiking and thinks that the phrase “hike your own hike” is an excuse for just about anything.
Trail Angel: is someone who provides unexpected help or food to a hiker.
Trail Squatter: a townie or other person who regularly camps in the same spot, usually the best spot, on a trail. Arrives early in the day and stakes a claim while the rest of the world is busy hiking. Then when you are setting up camp, the Trail Squatter stops by to nose around in your activities.
Trail Daze: hiker variation of Trail Days, the annual town festival in Damascus, Virginia, which brings hundreds of current and former thru-hikers into town.
Trailhead: is where the trail leaves a road crossing or parking lot.
Trail Magic: is unexpected, but welcome, help or food.
Trail Name: a nickname adopted by or given to a hiker.
Trail Runners: is a lightweight sneaker style hiking shoes.
Tramper: slackpacker or hiker dedicated enough to plod along stoically regardless of weather conditions. Not surprisingly, this term is popular in New England.
Traverse: to climb a slope diagonally rather than a more direct approach. In climbing lingo, it sometimes means going almost horizontally across a face, to obtain a better route up.
Treadway: the trail beneath a hiker’s boots, constructed for that purpose.
Treeline: is the point of elevation on a mountain above which the climate will no longer support tree growth.
T-Rex Syndrome: after using your legs for this amount of time in such a capacity your arms start to show atrophy. We call this the T-Rex Syndrome. Itty-Bitty arms!
Thru-hiking: this is the process of attempting to become a 2,000-Miler in a single, continuous journey.
Trail Virgin: is a first time thru-hiker.
Trekker: these are people who enjoy the travel and journey to remote "base camps," and do so with no intention of climbing the mountain or otherwise reaching the ultimate goal. Mt. Everest base camp is a popular destination for trekkers.
Triple Crown: to hike the three major National Scenic Trails—the Pacific Crest, the Continental Divide, and the Appalachian.
Triple Crowner: is someone who has hiked the three major National Scenic Trails.
Turnpike: in hiker's lingo, a trail used by a lot of folks that goes quite directly from one place to another. In trail construction lingo, it is a trail built up above wet, boggy areas by placing stone and/or dirt over fabric with logs or rocks holding the whole shebang in place.
Ultra light: style of gear or hiking that focuses on using the lightest gear possible.
USFS: this is the abbreviation for United States Forest Service.
Verglas: thin, often clear coating of ice on rock.
Vitamin I: this is the nickname for Ibuprofen; an over the counter anti-inflammatory drug that many hikers use while backpacking.
Volunteer: is a person who works for the ATC, one of the local A.T. clubs, or other organizations without pay, usually a maintainer, but not necessarily so.
Walk-up: a high altitude summit that requires no climbing skills to reach the top; a "class 2.0" at most. Mt. Rainier is one of the best known "walk-ups." This term is often used derisively by accomplished climbers to describe the mountains the rest of us are hopefully able to climb.
Waterbar: this is a log or rock barrier, which diverts water off the Trail to prevent erosion.
The Whites: these are the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Whiteblazer: a term from the Appalachian Trail to describe a person hiking pure (see purist), that is, hiking past every white blaze – which are the standard trail markers on the AT. In addition, it what members of WhiteBlaze.net are called.
Widowmaker: these limbs or whole trees have partially fallen but may remain, hung up overhead and pose a danger to a person below. The hammocker’s menace.
Wilderness Area: an official designation for public lands set for the preservation of nature.
Work for stay: some hostels, the AMC Huts in the Whites, and a few other places along the AT allow some hikers to work instead of paying the fee for lodging.
Yellow blazes: term used to denote the yellow centerline that is painted on a highway
Yellow blazer: someone who hitchhikes around sections of trail by following yellow blazes.
Yogi: to yogi is to finagle or inveigle tourists and soap-scented day hikers into offering you food or other assistance, without actually asking. It is an art form unto its own, with innumerable methods of enactment. Implying you need help is not asking for help!
YMMV “Your Mileage May Vary”: is hiker jargon for ‘this worked for me, but your results/opinions might not be the same.’
Yo-yo: is an attempt to thru-hike a long trail, turn around, and immediately commence on a thru-hike in the opposite direction.
Z Rest: a closed cell sleeping pad that folds into a rectangular block, rather than rolling up.
Zero day: is a day in which no miles are hiked, usually because the hiker is stopping in a town to resupply and/or rest.
Well that’s all the terms. How many have actually read all pages?