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Top 10 Thru Hiker Terms

This Saturday, we are going to do something quick, something easy. We do not want to distract away from what today is, National Public Lands Day. Public Lands are what comprise so much of long distance trails and the outdoors in the United States. It is a major outlet that people can go out and experience the beauty of the outdoors. So we will go through (thru) 10 quick terms and then provide a link below, that you can spend the remainder of the time with!

Hiking Terms

  1. Thru Hiker - a person that completes a long distance trail within a calendar year (365 days technically) yet is mostly done in a continuous journey of a few months.

  2. NoBo, SoBo, EaBo, and WeBo - Northbound, Southbound, Eastbound, and Westbound. Refers to the direction the hiker is heading. Also can refer to the type of hiker they are. Ex: they are definitely a NoBo at heart, could mean someone that loves big groups and tramilies. Someone that is a SoBo at heart could mean one that loves the wilderness and the solitude, or close knit but fewer relationships on trail. Yet, the name does not define the hiker, all hikers can be all mixes of personalities!

  3. Nero, Zero and Hero - these terms refer to the amount of time spent in town or a resupply stop. Nero means that a few miles were done that day to get to the resupply point. Zero means that no hiking will be done this day! A Hero means you not only walked into a resupply point, but within that same day did more miles out of the town to get back into the wilderness! A true thru-hiking Hero. Not all heroes wear capes, unless they are made from Taco Bell wrappers, well then all thru-hiking heroes DO wear capes.

  4. AT, PCT, CDT.....etc! - The AT stands for the Appalachian Trail, the PCT stands for the Pacific Crest Trail, the CDT stands for the Continental Divide Trail. These are the Big 3 and most well known long distance trails in thru-hiking. Yet, if you hear someone refer to an acronym such as GDT, OCT, NTNST, or such they are usually referring to a trail system. Look for the context of the conversation, but 9 times out of 10 if a hiker is talking about "Oh but the IAT was so beautiful...." they will be usually referring to another trail system. Ask them about it! DISCLAIMER: Not all acronyms are trail systems, your welcome now you do not have to try and solve what trail system this refers to: NIIOMTPLABOPARMBETZHELBETRABSBOMONIMONKONOTDTEKHSTROMONT (the world's longest acronym and also not a trail!!!!!!!!!!) remember look for the context.

  5. "No Filter, No Problem" - usually will refer to a clean water source. Usually snow melt, or a spring where the possibilities of contracting a water born illness are very small. Also, always make sure to double check the hiker that made this observation and know their risk levels, because what might be "no filter, no problem" for some can quickly turn into "no filter, serious problem" for others.

  6. Resupply - no we do not carry 2,000+ miles of food on our back the entire way. Resupply stands for the town, post office, or general area that is the end of a section and usually the end of the hikers food. It means it is time for a stop to pick up more supplies, hence RE-SUPPLY.

  7. Trail Name - chances are if you ask us if we know Bryan we probably do not. Yet, if Bryan has a trail name like Zombie Legs... most likely we do know that person! A trail name is the "tag" or name that a hiker is referred to on the trail, or in really heartbreaking situations off as trail as well, because they miss trail so much. (Yes we are guilty, of signing our emails and introducing ourselves sometimes as our trail names too...)

  8. "Blazer" - pick any color and put the word blazer after it and you have a term for a hiker. EX: White Blazer refers to Appalachian Trail hikers, Brown Blazer refers to someone who is hiking miles to find the perfect spot for a #2, Yellow Blazer refers to someone who follows highway lines (quite a derogatory term to use in the hiking community, do not use lightly!!!!), Blue Blazer refers to someone who takes side trails, and then the Banana and Pink Blazer....yea you get the gist. So pick a color, add blazer, and you have your own term for a hiker in that has more on their mind than just miles. Other known blazer affiliations include but are not limited to: silk, ghost, turtle, green, candy, rock. Okay, we admit that it really is just any word that you want to put in front of Blazer and you can create a type of hiking being done at that moment.

  9. 'Schwack - shorthand for the term Bushwhack. If referred to in a sentence be prepared for a world of thick vegetation and potential cliffs. It means there is NO trail where you are going, you have to pick your way through the wilderness. If on a popular trail and you see someone coming towards you and their gear is ripped, they look disheveled, there is twigs/leaves/mud stuck everywhere, and they have a wild look in their eyes, that means they just went through a 'Schwack! There are also various levels of 'Schwack such as Thick, Thicc, and THICC with TWO C's, where you have to tell the other person that it is in fact spelled with two c's! WARNING: Do not take a 'Schwack lightly, user experience and soul retention may vary.

  10. Trail Angel - this refers to an angel placed on this Earth that brings only joy and happiness to the weary hiker. All jokes aside though, this term is a special term. It refers to a person or a group of people that not only open up their hearts to hikers but also sometimes their homes, a cold glass of water, a meal, any anything in between. Truly, amazing people that are purely out there to support a hiker along their journey and spread the kindness that is in all of us. THANK YOU TO ALL TRAIL ANGELS, PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE.

Okay, now that you have a quick glimpse into what it means to talk the talk, let us now walk the walk. It is National Public Lands Day, and that means these lands today, as well as everyday need our support. The best way to support this, is by educating ourselves around this. They are not a given. They are a gift. This gift can be taken away, without our support. So, please stop reading our post and go over to Patagonia, where they just released a documentary that will tell and show you how to support this love all of us share for the outdoors!

Linked Above, Linked Here: Public Trust Feature Film

Here is A Picture Link, CLICK IT:



Enjoy not only the fantastic film, but also thank you for being a part of this community.




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