As unintentionally coined by South Carolina Govenor Mark Sanford, who in June 2009 disappeared for a few days to Argentina to visit his mistress, while his staff was left with the task of covering up his affair by alleging the Govenor was taking time off to hike the Appalachian Trail.
"Hitting the Appalachian Trail" is a phrase that can be used to describe a politician having an affair. Much like, "Sorry, honey, I was working late at the office." This phrase may achieve the popularity of other politico lingo, such as using the suffix "-gate" when discussing a political scandal.
"Despite the fact that former President Clinton hit the Appalachian Trail a few times during his presidency, many still remember him as a successful president."
"Many Democratic lawmakers are disappointed that numerous Republicans have been caught hitting the Appalachian trail in the past few years, yet still insist upon being the party of morality and conservatism."