What does it mean to Hike Your Own Hike?
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Long distance hikers on the Appalachian Trail and other long trails will hear and use the term Hike Your Own Hike, or HYOH. It means that each hiker is out there for their own reasons, and will each get something different out of their hiking experience. On a more simplistic level, it also means – some hikers sleep in a tent, some sleep in a hammock, some use a stove to cook hot meals, some only eat cold meals, some are ultralight, some are ultraheavy, you get the idea – they are each hiking in their own way.
But, Hike Your Own Hike has gone awry.
It worries me that this term has become negative and derogatory over the last couple years as more and more hiking Facebook groups are popping up. I mostly only see it used in heated arguments, when hikers are harshly judging each other, and telling each other off for hiking ‘wrong!’
We have got to reclaim these words as the fun, positive embodiment of hiking that they can be.
For most thru hikers or long distance hikers, the Appalachian Trail provides freedom of movement and freedom of time that we may not get to experience at any other point in our lives, so take advantage of it!
If you want to hike all night and sleep all day – go for it!
If you want to wake up before the sun and cram in the miles – do it!
If you want to stop and explore a scenic vista, and maybe even take a nap – you can do that too!
Disclaimer: that is how I was voted the laziest hiker among my trail family! I was notorious for sleeping in, being the last one to leave camp, taking afternoon naps in the sunshine, and rolling into camp well after everyone else had made dinner. But! I was hiking the same miles in a day as they were, and camping out with them in the same places most nights…. so was I the laziest hiker? Or just genius? You decide!
To me, HYOH means finding your own hiking style that makes you happy and then sticking to it.
Try not to get peer-pressured into staying in towns longer because your friends are there, or hiking longer, harder miles because that’s what the group is doing. Decide what your goals are for you hike, figure out your hiking style and then roll with it.
Share your hiking style in the comments below and why you love it! Love hiking fast? Slow? Love carrying luxury items? Or going ultralight? Love bushwhacking? Something else? Let us know!
For more great hiking tips, check out:
- Create a walking exercise routine to prepare for the AT
- Don’t let these excuses keep you off the trail
- Gear I wish I brought on my AT hike
- Self-improvement tips for hikers