In a world in which correct spelling matters less and less every day, should we hikers care if we spot more and more misspellings on trail signs?
I’m sure I’m way more picky than most hikers about spelling. In the city, when half the time I’m wishing I was out on the trail, I can’t help finding misspellings and examples of poor grammar on storefronts, billboards and bus benches. And restaurant menus–don’t get me started. When I help my son, a high school sophomore with his homework, I find misspellings in his English, World History and Marine Biology handouts.
Hiking and spelling are an odd pair indeed. On the trail it seems to me that these days I’m encountering more and more misspellings in park brochures, at trailhead displays and on trail signs. Either that or on my own life journey I’m traveling from middle age to becoming a grumpy old guy and getting more impatient with something as admittedly inconsequential as bad spelling.
I do love “hiker words,” which is why I created a hiker’s dictionary: “Hiking from A to Z: A Dictionary of Words and Terms for Hikers.” And truly my goal in compiling this dictionary for hikers is to encourage hikers to know and use words particular to hiking, not to study how to spell them.
Here are few examples of trail signs that caught my eye on recent hikes. Enjoy.