Ready for a little more jargon from the trail? Here are three more terms and ideas from the Appalachian Trail: stick snakes, ultra-light, and ground control. When you think you know the definitions, please read on………….
Stick Snakes are those pesky sticks that jump up and bite you on the leg when you step on them. Having done a lot of hiking in my Chaco sandals, stick snakes can be quite dangerous and painful. I step on the stick with one foot which then sends its fangs right into my other foot.
Ultra-light is a style of hiking that focuses on using the lightest gear possible. An ultra-light carrying weight needs to be less than 30 lbs. Some ultra-light hikers remove all the labels on their gear and cut off the handle on their toothbrush to save ½ an ounce. The demand for low weight often takes the place of comfort and convenience.
Ground Control is another critical piece of any thru-hike experience. Most hikers need some sort of support back home while they are on the trail for a few months (or maybe even half a year). This small group handles the ‘real world’ concerns like paying the bills, mowing the grass, answering the phone calls, and caring for the pets, as well as mailing the hiker packages of food and supplies along the way. My incredibly supportive wife, Cathy, will be my primary ground control while many friends and family will be uplifting me in prayer.