The "AT" Symbol
I remember when someone first asked me, "Are you a SOBO?" I was instantly offended. "Excuse me? Who do you think you are?!" I thought.

I got defensive, but it was a completely harmless question. They were simply wondering if I was hiking the Appalachian Trail south bound from Maine to Georgia, and I was. If I had instead hiked the Appalachian Trail north bound (from Georgia to Maine), then I would have been a NOBO.

Obviously, there is a potential for conflict when one isn't familiar with the trail lingo. So, I wanted to explain myself with a short list of terms that I have been using throughout this blog. Hopefully this will prevent both the misuse and misunderstanding of these words and make the world a safer place:

Pink Blazing.
2000 Miler = A person who has hiked the entire distance between termini of the A.T., either by thru-hiking, or section hiking.
Appalachian Trail (AT) = A footpath connecting Maine to Georgia.
AT Thru-Hiker = Traditionally, it is a person who is attempting to hike the entire length of the AT in a single, continuous journey leaving from one terminus of the Trail, and backpacking to the other terminus.
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.

A collection of SOBOs
Blazes = For the AT, they are painted, 2-inch by 6-inch (officially), vertical white rectangles that are placed at eye height (not my eye level, but higher) on trees and other objects, in both directions, to mark the official route of the Trail.
Blue Blazer = A hiker that hikes blue blazed (side) trails in order to skip more difficult parts of the AT.
Day-hiker = A hiker that is only out for either the day, or for a few days with no need to resupply.

Flip Flopper = A person who hikes from a terminus to some midpoint on the AT (flips) and then jumps (flops) to the other terminus (by plane, car, train, etc) and hikes back to that same midpoint. Or, a person who hikes from some midpoint to a terminus and then returns to that same midpoint and hikes to the other terminus. If this confuses you, use hand motions.  It helps, really. Either way they complete the entire length of the trail. Also called a NOSO or a SONO. A flip flopper is a thru-hiker, but a thru-hiker is not necessarily a flip flopper.
Hiker Hostel = A hostel, refuge run out of someone's home or by the community designated for travelers on the AT. 
Hiking in Appalachia = 1. Hiking the Appalachian Trail, or in the surrounding area. 2. having an extra-marital affair.

A white blaze designating the AT
Nero = Almost a "zero"...near a zero...nero. This is different for every hiker. I considered anything under 10 miles a nero because it was only a half day's worth of hiking.
NOBO = A hiker that is north bound, or hiking north.
Pink Blazer = A male hiker seeking female hiker(s).
Privy = Also called an outhouse.
Register = A log book where hikers can journal and communicate with hikers behind them.  Usually there is a register at every shelter, at some summits, and most hostels. 
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.
Section-Hiker = A person who is attempting to hike the entirety of the AT and is doing it one section at a time over a period of time.

Trail Magic: This is a water cash.

Slackpack = To thru hiking without a pack. Also called "Freedom Packing." This is usually accomplished with the help of a Trail Angel.
SOBO = A hiker that is south bound, or hiking south.
Trail Angel = A person who does something nice for a hiker.
Trail Name = A name given to a hiker on the trail, which is typically a reflection of an embarrassing occurrence on the trail, a personality trait or some other aspect. A nickname, of sorts.
Trail Magic =  Anything nice you do for a hiker, such as a free shower or food.

Enjoying Trail Magic on a Zero.
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!
Yellow Blazer = A hiker that hitch-hikes or takes the road instead of the trail. They are called "yellow blazers" because the yellow line down the center of a road resembles that of a yellow blaze.
Yo-Yo = A person that begins hiking on the AT, reaches a terminus and then turns around a begins hiking the other direction until the other terminus is reached. At that point, they turn around and hike in the opposite direction on and so forth.
Zero = A day where a hiker decides to not to hike any miles. A "zero" mile day. "I'm going to zero at the next town."

For more slang and trail terms, I found this great post on White Blaze: AT Slang and Terms. Definitely check it out if you're curious. There are some really good ones.

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