There’s nothing quite like the feeling of setting off on a hike, breathing in the fresh air, and taking in the stunning scenery.
But have you ever wondered how far you’re actually going when you hear someone say, “just one click up the trail”?
Keep reading this article to explore the fascinating world of hiking terminology and discover the truth behind the elusive “click”!
What Is A “Click” In Hiking Terms?
Let’s tackle the great mystery of hiking lingo: the click. You may have heard it before, perhaps even used it yourself, but what exactly does it mean?
The truth is, the “click” is a unit of distance commonly used by hikers and military personnel, especially in the United States. It is equivalent to one kilometer, or roughly 0.62 miles.
The Origins Of The Term “Click”
As with many things in life, the true history of this term is shrouded in mystery and debate.
Some sources claim that it was first used during the Vietnam War, where soldiers would use a handheld counter to measure the number of paces taken during marches.
The sound of the counter “clicking” was said to be the inspiration behind the term! Others suggest that the term dates back even further, to the days of the telegraph when operators would use a device called a “sounder” to receive messages.
The sound it made was similar to a click, and this may have been where the term originated, eventually making its way into military and hiking circles. Despite the uncertainty surrounding its origins, the “click” remains a useful and widely accepted unit of measurement in hiking.
It’s important to note, however, that different regions and groups may use different terms to describe the same distance. So, it’s always a good idea to clarify what unit of measurement is being used before setting off on a hike.
Understanding The Metric System In Hiking
In many parts of the world, the metric system is the standard unit of measurement. It’s used for everything from baking recipes to car engines, and of course, in hiking as well.
For those of us who grew up with the Imperial system of measurement, the metric system can be a bit confusing at first. But fear not; it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it!
In hiking, the metric system is especially useful because it’s based on units of 10 which makes it easy to convert between different units of measurement.
For example, one kilometer is equal to 1,000 meters, which is equal to 100,000 centimeters.
So, why is it important to understand the metric system in hiking? Well, for one thing, it’s a universal system that is used by hikers all over the world.
If you’re planning a hiking trip abroad, it’s essential to be familiar with the metric system so you can communicate effectively with other hikers and locals.
In addition, many hiking trails and guidebooks use the metric system to describe distances and elevations and by understanding the metric system, you’ll be able to read these descriptions accurately and plan your hikes more effectively.
How Far Is A “Click” In Miles And Kilometers?
As we learned earlier, a “click” is a unit of distance in hiking that is equivalent to one kilometer, or roughly 0.62 miles. This is important to keep in mind when planning hikes or communicating with other hikers, especially if you’re used to measuring distances in miles.
But how do you convert between kilometers and miles, or vice versa?
It’s actually quite simple. One kilometer is equal to 0.62 miles, while one mile is equal to 1.61 kilometers.
So, if you hear someone say that a trail is 5 clicks long, you can quickly estimate that it’s roughly 3.1 miles.
How To Estimate Distance On A Hiking Trail?
Now that we have a good understanding of the “click” and how it relates to other units of measurement, let’s talk about how to estimate distance on a hiking trail.
While it’s certainly helpful to have a map or guidebook with specific distances listed, it’s not always practical or possible to rely on these resources.
So how can you do it?
Here are some two ways.
Use Landmarks Along Your Trail
One of the most useful techniques for estimating distance is to use landmarks along the trail; this could be anything from a distinctive rock formation to a tree with a unique shape.
By estimating the distance between these landmarks, you can get a rough idea of how far you’ve traveled and how far you have left to go.
Use Your Own Body
Another technique is to use your own body as a measuring tool. By counting the number of steps you take over a certain distance, you can estimate how many steps it will take to cover the rest of the trail.
Even though this technique takes a bit of practice and calibration, it can be very helpful when you don’t have any other reference points, so keep it in mind in case your trail has no significant landmarks you can count on!
Of course, these methods are not always precise, but they can give you a good sense of your progress and help you stay on track.
It’s also important to remember that distances can be deceiving on a hiking trail, especially if the terrain is steep or difficult. So, always err on the side of caution and be prepared for the unexpected!
The Bottom Line
As hikers, it’s important for us to have a good understanding of the “click” as a concept as well as of how to measure a distance and convert from “clicks” to miles or to kilometers and vice versa as these will help us communicate effectively with other hikers and plan our trips more accurately.
But more than that, these concepts help us connect with the natural world around us and appreciate the beauty and challenge of hiking. So, regardless of whether you are measuring distance in clicks, kilometers, or miles, the joy and satisfaction of a successful hike will remain the same.