I like words, and as some of you know, I cringe when they are misspelled or mispronounced. (Not that I don't contribute my fair share to those unutterable travesties.)
Anyway, I notice two things with the younger generation of hikers, regarding rock trail markers: 1) They don't know how to pronounce "cairn," and 2) Somehow, the useful word "duck" has been disappearing from the lexicon, so now if you ask people in a hiking group if they know what a "duck" is, only the grizzled old guys who have been hiking for 50 years can give you the answer.
1. A "cairn" consists of a lot of rocks piled up to mark a trail. Usually more rocks than are necessary. A cairn also might mark the top of a peak, and could be very large, as tall as a person.
2. "Cairn" is NOT PRONOUNCED "Karen." It is not a chick's name, okay? It is NOT a two-syllable word, okay? It's a one-syllable word that rhymes with "bairn."
3. A "DUCK" is a trail marker using no more than two rocks. It is a better kind of trail marker. You can easily kick it over, too, if it seems unnecessary, and it won't hurt your foot to do so.
I would like to see the word "duck" to come back into common usage. So, I hereby announce that it is now coming back into common usage. So, please use it, and explain to others what it means.