Google search results for hikerly

Hikerly, is it a word?

If you check the dictionary, the answer to that question is no.

But there are hikers across the nation who have claimed the word for decades. If you do a web search you’ll find thousands of pages of links that reference the word, all made by outdoorsy types. Apparently, in the world of hikers, we believe hikerly is and should be a word.

Just a few of the examples: A 2005 Appalachian Trail journal references it, a the 1990 book New Statesman Society uses it, author Heather Rolland uses it to describe herself in her Amazon bio, and even traditional media has given it cred like this Outdoors column in the Albany Times Union.

In the non-digital world, hikerly is a common adjective used by the SF Bay Area Team in Training hike teams. At some point in my four seasons of training with the team, the word became a commonplace part of my vocabulary and that of other hiker friends. A very big nod needs to go to Coach Carolyn Balling, who made sure we were all very “hikerly” in how we hit the trails, from clothing to gear to safety. She taught a lot of us how to be hikers and made us laugh while doing it. She is the ultimate hikerly woman and deserves credit for the origin of the word in my life. It’s even her license plate. Take that Merriam Webster!

So what do you say, should we lobby to add hikerly to the dictionary?