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Talk Like a Local: Hiker Slang 101

Talk Like a Local — By Alexi Ueltzen on October 21, 2009 at 8:28 am
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In today’s economic climate, more and more people are turning to the great outdoors to get their travel fix. There’s a lot to be said for hiking and backpacking; not only is it great exercise, but it’s affordable, fairly easy to organize and local. However, there already exists a devoted community of outdoor enthusiasts and if you’ve only recently joined their ranks, chances are you’re occasionally confused by their conversations you overhear on the trail, in the gearshop or around the campfire.

Read on for our incredibly useful list of hiking slang.

Trailgating: To follow a fellow hiker at an uncomfortably close distance.

To cheese-grater: To slide down a rock face while scraping ones legs, arms and face. Don’t worry; these abrasions, in time, turn into scars that impress fellow outdoorsmen.

Scree: the accumulation of broken rock at the bottom of a hill or mountain. Also known as talus. The term scree comes from the Old Norse term for landslide, skriða.

Cross-country: To hike where there is no trail. See also: annoying Park Rangers.

Chaparral: Scrubby brush that flourishes in Alpine conditions.The enemy of the cross-country hiker.

Platypus: No, not the beaver-duck hybrid we all know and love. It’s a water-delivery system that uses a bag rather than a rigid container to hold liquid. See one here.

Endo: To fall, impressively. A contraction of “end over end.” See also: a** over teakettle.

Wicking: Fabric’s ability to absorb, and then evaporate, the sweat generated during your hike. Wicking is a good thing.

Moleskin: Blister protection. If suede and a bandaid had a baby, this would be it.

Have a term we left off the list? Leave a comment and let us know.

[Photo: asafantman/Creative Commons]

Tags: blister, chaparral, endo, hiking, Moleskin, outdoors, platypus, slang, trail, wicking

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