As with any activity, hiking and trail running come with a lexicon of phrases that might confuse beginners. As such, this glossary of terminology aims to provide basic -- if not comical -- definitions to some words or phrases that might come up in planning a hike or a run.
A man-made stacking of rocks used to mark a trail route.
A small hole about six inches deep (and well away from water sources) that a hiker digs to bury their poop should 'nature call' while hiking in the wild. Think nature's litter box for humans.
The highpoint along a trail.
Another word for Snake. A 'noisy' Danger Stick is otherwise known as a Rattlesnake, a common sight on some Phoenix trails.
An abbreviation for Fastest Known Time. An FKT is a speed record for a trail or route. FKTs are typically applied only to notable trails and routes.
Walking or marching a great distance, especially through rural areas, for pleasure, exercise, military training, or similar.
The point at which two trails intersect with each other.
A trail that starts and ends at the same location. A loop can follow a single trail or multiple trails that link together at junctions to form a loop.
A trail that starts and ends at the same location. These trails follow a single route, or consist of a combination of multiple trails to an end point, and then return along the same route back to the beginning.
A trail that starts and ends in different locations.
Pseudo Summit (False Summit)
When you think you see the top of the mountain/hike only to realize it's not the top of the mountain and you still have even more mountain to climb.
A mass of small loose stones or rocky debris that cover a slope or side of a mountain, or accumulate at the base of cliffs.
Sometimes hiking the rocking desert terrain can require the use of hands and feet to climb up and over rocks and boulders. When a hike includes a full-body effort to continue on the route, it's more than likely a scramble.
A trail up a steep incline (hill, mountain) that does a zig-zag pattern as opposed to a straight path. Switchbacks are helpful, as it makes the ascent doable for a broader range of hikers. In addition, switchbacks help prevent from trail erosion.
Completing a long trail from beginning to end in a single continuous journey.
A person who provides an unexpected assistance (food, water, directions) to a hiker in need.
The place where the trail begins and/or ends. Most trailheads have a parking lot. Many offer singage and/or free maps with information about the trails and routes available.
A bag you carry your poop (and/or your dog's poop) in when you are forbidden to dig a cat hole.
Coordinates to a specific location -- usually based on latitude-longitude or UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) -- that you might enter into a GPS device.