Understanding Trailhead Talk

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The John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail join together in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

The John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail join together in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Before you hit the trail, become familiar with these hiking terms.

Backcountry vs. Frontcountry Campsite 

A backcountry campsite requires you to get there on foot. A frontcountry site enables you to camp near your car.

Cairn:

This is a pile of stones, marking a route or landmark.

Headlamp 

An incredibly handy device, it's a
light attached to an elastic band that you wear on your head to see in the dark.

Privy

It’s a discrete word for outhouse or bathroom.

Switchbacks:

Switchbacks make a Z-shaped trail up a hill. Hiking them is easier than going straight up or down a steep hill.

Trailhead: 

Often marked by a sign, it's the start of a trail.

Crag 

It's a steep rock face. In Yosemite, you'll see climbers at the base of crags preparing to ascend them.

Water Pump 

These are often found at campgrounds, supplying potable water.