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Related to a recent question about walking, but specifically to hiking. First, the translation of hike was given as ekskursi. Would this be used for all sorts of hiking? PIV seems to suggest so. Would this also include what in english one would call an actual excursion? This doesn't follow for me from PIV, but other dictionaries seem to translate ekskurso as excursion? One does not make an excursion to Mount Whitney, but an excursion could include say a visit to a museum, a brewery, or touring a city. So question is, what is the normal usage?

A second part of this question is what to call the trail, or more precisely the hike itself. I seem to get the translation spuro for trail. For example to translate There is a beautiful hike in West Maui, I try Estas bela spuro en Okcidenta Maui, which seems to me talks about the condition of the trail rather than the views you get from it. On the other hand Estas bela ekskurso en Okcidenta Maui doesn't seem quite right either to me. In English it seems to imply that it is in nature, probably involves lots of walking on an unpaved trail, and a mountain may be involved. So in Esperanto, does one have to specify further, or would would it be understood similarly as the English phrase above. Perhaps one could do something like ekskursospuro?

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Ekskurso is one of those words that you hear all the time in Esperantujo - so much so that it starts to take on its own connotations. Quite frankly, the definition in PIV surprised me:

Longa plezura aŭ esplora promenado

Ekskurso literally means "going out of your course" and I have always understood it to refer to a side trip that is part of a larger trip, or possibly a day trip. I've never associated it necessarily with locomotion by foot. A very common context where you'll hear this is at an Esperanto event, where there is a possibility to leave the main venue and go to a beach, museum, historical site, or similar.

Looking over other examples of use (beyond my own recollection), I found this one:

  • ekskursoj piede, rajde, montbicikle en la departemento

So, to other speakers, it is sometimes necessary to specify the transportation mode used in an ekskurso.

There are, however, plenty of examples of ekskursoj to mountains.

  • Poste ni faris ekskurson al la Frederika monto
  • La paskan vendredon ili faris longan ekskurson al alta monto nordoriente de Torento.

Spuro has to do with marks. It's the sort of thing a good hiker tries to avoid leaving.

The thing that you hike on is a vojeto or pado - and that leaves the question about what to call the actual hiking. You could say (arbara) promeno. As you said, the problem with ekskurso is that it doesn't automatically mean "in nature". You would have to be more specific:

  • Eblas ekskursi de tie al bela monto.
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    Actually, "ekskurso" does not literally mean "going out of your course." It isn't a compound ("eks-kurso"), but an independent root ("ekskurs-"). – Hoss Firooznia Jan 17 '17 at 18:11
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    You're splitting the wrong hair. The root ekskurs' comes from Latin where "ex" means "out of." The compound eks-kurs-o doesn't mean anything. – Tomaso Alexander Jan 17 '17 at 18:15
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    In Latin, yes, excursio is a compound. But this isn't Latin; it's Esperanto, and the root ekskurs/i has its own meaning. It does not "literally mean going out of your course", any more than ekzist/i literally means "stand out from" because it derives from the Latin ex-sistere. Just as in English, roots in Esperanto have their own distinct meanings, independent of any foreign etymology. If ekskursi did literally mean "go out of your course", then it would be synonymous with devojiĝi. But it isn't. – Hoss Firooznia Jan 17 '17 at 19:37
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I believe that spuro is a mark/sign/signal from which someone can infer that something happened there or that something was there. Like saying "there's no sign of him anywhere." "The trail went cold." Not a literal trail but the signs, e.g. footprints, you were following to try to find where someone went.

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Other people have already explained the correct use of ekskurso and spuro. But as for how one should say "hiking" in Esperanto, I would suggest something like pakaĵpromenado (baggage walking / walking with baggage) or montpromenado (mountain walking) or something similar, depending on the situation.

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