Cat Hole A small hole dug by a hiker for the deposit of human waste.
Cove is a Southern Appalachian word meaning a high, flat valley surrounded by mountains. Cades Cove in the Smokies is the one most people know about.
Cowboy camping is where one camps without any shelter - just spread one's pad and bag out under the stars and putting one's faith in their opinion about the weather staying dry.
Fall line: The fall line is the most direct route downhill from any particular point
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.
GORP goold ole raisins & peanuts, or some other variation thereof.
Gray Water (Dirty dishwater.) Some campsites will have designated spots to dump your gray water. Such designated spots may be provided with a strainer so that you can remove your food particles from the gray water and pack those out.
Handbook The Thru-hiker's Handbook is an AT guidebook compiled by Dan Bruce.
Hammock A sleeping system that combines a tent and sleeping bag, hung between two trees.
Hostel An establishment along the trail that has bunks, showers, and sometimes cooking and maildrops, for AT hikers.
Hydration System An 'improvement' on drinking out of a bottle, 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.
Hypothermia Potentially fatal condition caused by insufficient heat and a drop in the body's core temperature. Classic symptoms are call the 'umbles', as the victim stumbles, grumbles, mumbles, and fumbles with confused thoughts.
Knob A prominent rounded hill or mountain. A southern term.
Krumholtz Literally "crippled wood", 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 a brand of hiking staff resembling a ski pole, common name for all poles made by the other brands.
Lyme Disease A debilitating illness carried by small ticks.
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 ridgecrests 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.
Mouse hanger The cord with can contraption used to discourage mice from entering a pack when hung in a shelter.
NoBo Northbound thru-hiker, also a GAMEr (Georgia > Maine).
Philosopher's Guide The original guide for thru-hiking the AT, first a few sheets of info passed around in hiking circles, later a book published by the ATC.
Privy a trailside outhouse for solid waste. You souldn't pee in the privy.
PUDS is thru-hiker 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".
Relo A section of trail recently relocated.
Ridge Runner A person paid by a trail-maintaining club or governmental organization to hike back and forth along a certain section of trail to educate hikers, enforce regulations, monitor trail and campsite use, and sometimes perform trail maintenance or construction duties. Such persons are most often found in high-use areas of the trail.
Shuttle A ride from town to trailhead, usually for a fee.
Skunked Failing to get a car to stop when hitch hiking.
Slabbing is a hiking term that 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 coined in 1980 to describe an unhurried and non-goal-oriented manner of long-distance hiking (i.e., slack: "not taut or tense, loose"), but in recent years has been used to refer simply to thru-hiking without a backpack.
Stile Steps constructed over a fence to allow people, but not livestock, to pass.
Tarp a simple tent with no floor or door.
Trailhead Where the trail leaves a road crossing or parking lot.
Trail Magic Unexpected, but welcome, help or food.
Trail Name A nickname adopted by or given to a hiker.
Trail Runners Light weight sneaker style hiking shoes.
Treadway The trail beneath a hiker's boots, constructed for that purpose.
Treeline The point of elevation on a mountain above whice the climate will no longer support tree growth.
USFS is the abbreviation for United States Forest Service.
Wilderness Area An official designation for public lands set aside to be protected from humans.
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.
Yogi-ing is the good-natured art of "letting" food be offered cheerfully by strangers without actually asking them directly (If you ask, it's begging!).
Yo-yo-ing is the act of completing one A.T. thru-hike, then immediately turning around to begin another in the opposite direction.