Trail Vocabulary Part 1

by sedona maniak

Here are some trail terms for folks who haven't been exposed to this particular jargon: 

Zero Day: (realized that I didn't explain this in the last post)  day with no miles, a rest day.  Adding "zero" helps you feel like a damned loser for needing a break 

Yogi: to beg for items (usually food) by appearing pitiful and/or dropping unsubtle hints about the difficulties of trail life.  Importantly, yogi-ing does not include actually asking for anything.  Example: Chuck and Dave, passing the bbq, converse loudly about how great the burgers smell after 7 days of ramen on the trail. 

Hiker box: location for dumping or acquiring backpack items.  If you overpack, you dump excess here.  If you need something, you might magically find it here.   

Cache: I'm sure the definition is known-a store or stockpile of items, such as water and beer.  Not well known, however, is the pronunciation.  It does not rhyme with sashay, but is instead pronounced like "cash." 

Ultralight or super ultralight: nutty enough to cut sleeping pads to pieces, tags off of clothing, go months without hot food, and not carry any emergency supplies just to make a pack lighter 

Base weight: weight of all pack items except for food and water; "loaded weight" includes the perishables 

Camping dry: setting up camp between water sources, rather than camping at one 

Trail angel: magnanimous soul who provides rides, food, massages, showers, space, and/or encouragement to hikers, generally for donations (though some refuse any compensation) 

Trail magic: much like a "miracle" in the Grateful Dead sense, "trail magic" often describes small contributions of goods and services provided to hikers simply as confidence builders, motivators or as congratulatory gifts.  A case of beer which appears at the bottom of a difficult mountain descent would be an example of this.