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.

The riverside hiking is pleasant, and there's good bird-watching in this park in Fresno California. However the road to the park is signed Audobon, misspelling the name of the great naturalist and birder extraordinaire John James Audubon.
The riverside hiking is pleasant, and there’s good bird-watching in this park in Fresno California. However the road to the park is signed Audobon, misspelling the name of the great naturalist and birder extraordinaire John James Audubon.

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.

Hike on.

John McKinney

The hiking trail named for winery founder and politician Brooks Firestone was incorrectly signed "Brook's." After more than 10 years, the apostrophe was removed from Brooks.
The hiking trail named for winery founder and politician Brooks Firestone was incorrectly signed “Brook’s.” After more than 10 years, the apostrophe was removed from Brooks.
Sulphur Mountain Road Recreation Trail offers hikers great views of the Ojai Valley no matter how it's spelled.
Sulphur Mountain Road Recreation Trail offers hikers great views of the Ojai Valley no matter how it’s spelled.