HY-OH: Hike Your Own Hike

Taking a Long Hike up Mt. Katahdin, Appalachian Trail

Mt. Katahdin--Maine

HY-OH is a long-distance hiker’s mantra. It stands for Hike Your Own Hike, and here’s how it comes about.

You meet some fellow thru-hikers on the trail and start hiking together every day. One day your fellow hikers want to go into town early. They see a yellow-blazed trail that cuts some time off the official white-blazed trail. You object, but they sell you on their idea. Mistake. Hike your own hike.

Perhaps you want to learn more about flora in the region and wish to take more time examining wildflowers. The others are impatient and puzzled by this. So what! Hike your own hike.

You pair off with the hiker you enjoy being with most. One day he says, “I’ve never been to NYC. Man, that’s one place I’ve gotta see. Can you show me around when we get near that area?” The last thing you have in mind is a congested metropolis. Be careful–hike your own hike. 

You’ve made a committment to yourself to complete this thru-hike. Your thru-hike. You like these guys you tramp with. One of them may become a close friend in the years ahead. But you are destined to fail in your quest, if you hike some other person’s hike and not your own. If you have a bit slower pace and struggle to keep up, you will hike yourself into injury. If you miss out on what you had planned to see or do, you will regret it later and may become disillusioned in the rough days ahead. HY-OH. Hike your own hike.

In the picture, that’s my hiking buddy, Hank, on the right.

8 thoughts on “HY-OH: Hike Your Own Hike

  1. I’ve seen this in SA with backpackers grouping and leaving. You feel a moral obligation sometimes to stay with them. As you say, sometimes it’s better to leave a phone number or an email address and just get back to them on how their hike went.


  2. We somewhat made this mistake our first trip out. It wasn’t in the hiking process but in camp. We were with a woman and her daughter in camp that was also on her first trip but obviously had just gone to REI, gotten whatever they suggested and left with no other research and we felt obligated to hang out with them and help with the little things. They would have been fine without us and it really messed up our whole night. Instead of feeling relaxed we felt like we were entertaining guests. Definitely sticking with HY-OH from now on!


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