Trail Lingo

During their long treks, distance hikers have developed a unique shared vocabulary. Here are some of the terms we have learned from reading about the PCT:

  • Thru hiker – Somebody who hikes a long-distance trail from end to end.
  • Section hiker – Somebody who hikes portions of a long-distance trail, in separate pieces at different times, which eventually add up to the full trail length.
  • Trail name – A name given to you by the trail community. Each name is unique and often reflects an aspect of your personality or a memorable event on the trail. Some examples: Rockin, Wired, and Chinchilla. Once you receive a trail name, you assume that name, and that name only, for the duration of the hike, and for future hikes.

Food: Mail or Buy?

When we tell people about our PCT hike, they often ask how we will handle the food aspect of the trip. Fortunately, we won’t have to carry 5 months of food all at once. Instead we will replenish our food supplies periodically, either by buying food from grocery stores near the trail, or shipping ourselves packages to post offices convenient to the trail. Both options have pros and cons.

Invisible Gear!

What is the lightest, cheapest hiking gear? No gear at all! A life with less stuff is a life with more room for beautiful thoughts and experiences. In that spirit, here is a list of gear we don’t plan to bring on our hike:

  • Camp shoes/sandals: no need, as we’ll spend most of our time hiking, not in camp.
  • Bowls and plates: we’ll eat straight from our pot.
  • Cooking utensils and silverware: bring only a spoon.