Thursday, October 27, 2011

Glossary of AT terms - What is AT anyway?

I thought it might be fun to blog a little about the common phrases one hears in AT circles (AT as in Appalachian Trail). I am including an unofficial official glossary of the more frequent terms or phrases you'll hear said on the trail, in a hostel or shelter area, or even online in hiker forums.

2,000 Miler - one who has hiked the entire length of the AT , no matter how long it takes
AT - Appalachian Trail
ATC - Appalachian Trail Conservancy which oversees the entire AT and also serves to educate and inspire
Aqua Blazing - taking a water route via canoe instead of the trail (common in VA)
Blowdown - tree or other large debris that has fallen across the trail
Blue Blazing - taking side trails or walking the road other than hiking on the AT
Flip flop - a hiker that starts at Harper's Ferry and hikes to Katahdin, returns to Harper's Ferry and hikes to Springer. Can be done the opposite way also or at a different starting points.
Half Gallon Challenge - a trail tradition where you eat a half gallon of ice cream to mark the halfway point of your thru hike, usually occurs at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in PA.
Katahdin- the norther terminus of the AT
Lean-to - what New Englanders call shelters
Mail Drop - boxes of food and other goodies mailed to hikers at hostels, outfitters, and post offices.
Nearo Day - a hiker hikes only a few miles to get to a town and then takes the rest of the day off 
NOBO - northbound,that is, from Georgia to Maine 
Pink Blazing - some guys hike the trail looking for a girlfriend or wife
Section Hiker - hiking the AT is segments rather than the whole trail all at once. It can be one day or weekend or weeks. 
Slackpacking - hiking without carrying your full backpack 
SOBO - southbound, that is, from Maine to Georgia
Springer Mt - the southern terminus of the AT 
Taking a Zero - no hiking done that day 
Thru Hiker - one who hikes the entire AT in one year, either NOBO or SOBO 
Trail Angels - people who do unexpected acts of kindness on the trail such as offering rides, their home, food, etc. 
Trail Magic - unexpected, good things that happen to a hiker while they are hiking. I also like to call it Trail Blessings.
Trail Maintainer - those hardworking individuals of trail groups that help maintain the trail, build and maintain shelters, etc
Weekenders - those out for the weekend, ether hiking or backpacking
Yellow Blazing - taking other means of transportation other than hiking the AT - i.e. hitching a ride
Yogi-ing -  the ability to cause people to do things for you or give you things (like food) without you asking for it directly. 
Yoyo-ing - completing one thru hike, then turning right around and starting another

If you know of any terms I should include, let me know.

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