Ken Zinser

Nero days


I like the metaphor of hiking. I think it strikes a balance of ambition and compassion. Hiking may stir connotations of privilege, but it’s generally accessible and not thought of as an overly aggressive or destructive activity. It’s widely understood, something easy to visualize, and applicable in a variety of contexts.

I went down a deep rabbit hole one day, looking up terms and taxonomies related to hiking and mountaineering. I was originally interested in finding semantic descriptors of complexity. The “small-medium-large” equivalent of difficulty or intensity. The word “strenuous” came to mind, like when a hiking trail is labeled “moderately strenuous.”

I felt good about this scale:

Easy, Moderate, Moderately Strenuous, Strenuous, Very Strenuous.

This is the rest of what I dug up:

Backcountry, Bushwhacking, Camp, Crest, Herd Path, MPD, Orienteering, Path of Least Resistamce, Destination, Trailhead, Switchback, Ridge, Ridgeline, Route, Marker, Ascent, Descent, Elevation Gain, Vista, Viewpoint, Trek, Fork, Loop, uphill, downhill, Terrain, landscape , Detour, Approach, Backpacking vs Daytrip, Campfire, Backpack, map, compass, North Star, Daypack, Guidebook, Route description, Itinerary, gear, field guide or interpretive field guide, binoculars, journal, star chart , supply, provisions, thru-hiking, crest, embark, obstacle, peak, basin, valley, expedition, blaze, white blaze, blue blaze, yellow blaze, trail magic, zero day, Nero day, permits and passes, base camp, summit, trail distance, elevation gain, trail condition, miles per day, pace, point (role), ranger, angel, hiker, Sweep, conservationist, firefighter, outdoor guide