What are words you associate with hiking?

By that I mean words that describe the feelings (mostly good, I hope) that hiking bring you.

Rewarding. Relaxing. Adventure.

Words for hikers from Charles Dickens posted along the trail to Marble Falls in Sequoia National Park.
Words for hikers from Charles Dickens posted along the trail to Marble Falls in Sequoia National Park.
These are a few of about two-dozen words I’ve heard hikers mention over and over again to describe what hiking means to them.

I love “hiker words” and, if you do too, please take a look at the dictionary I compiled, “Hiking from A to Z: A Dictionary of Words and Terms Used by Hikers.” This pocket-sized book has hundreds of definitions of words from alpine to zip-line. You’ll find an extended definition of hiking itself, definitions of 36 different kinds of trails, and definitions of colorful words such as touron (a combination of tourist and moron).

My hiker dictionary is pretty darn practical though. You won’t find words that describe the “inner” hiker. No one who knows me would describe me as a sensitive New Age kind of guy; nevertheless, the more I hike and the older I get the more I want to understand why people hike so that I can motivate more of them to hit the trail.

Escape. Healing. Connection.

Literally, I want to find the words that move them.

Freedom. Spirituality. Sharing.

My gathering of “Words Associated with Hiking” has not been systematic at all. The words come from participants in hike leader trainings I’ve conducted, from hikers on day-long and week-long tours that I’ve led, and the many hikers I’ve met over the years on and off the trail. In other words, this gathering of hiker words is just one hiker’s perspective.

Peaceful. Wonder. Calm. Endurance. Happy. Healthy. Perseverance. Solitude. Humbling. Exhilarating. Camaraderie. Surprising. Revitalization.

You may have an entirely different set of words to describe the hiking experience. Awesome!

Awesome. Another good word associated with hiking.

Hike On.

John McKinney
The Trailmaster