HIKE the APPALACHIAN Trail
Hike Your Own Hike on the Appalachian Trail and in Life
The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpath in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. Over 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year exploring its magnificent landscapes and experiencing its stunning views.
What does hike your own hike mean?
Hike your own hike means that you should hike a trail in the manner that you enjoy, and not the way somebody tells you to hike it. Although you should ponder the advice of others, ultimately make your own decision and focus on having fun! For example:
- Some Appalachian Trail thru-hikers love to walk 50 kilometers a day and finish in three months, while others prefer to walk 10 kilometers a day and take 12 months.
- Some prefer carrying 30 kilograms; others enjoy carrying less than five.
- Some insist on eating at every possible restaurant along the way, while others contemplate the nutritional value of the bugs crawling in the mud.
Hike your own hike also means that you can backpack in any direction you want. Most hike the Appalachian Trail north, a small fraction go south, and other “flip flop.” A Flip Flopper might hike north from Georgia to Virginia, then flip up to Maine and walk back down south to Virginia. In the end, Flip Floppers cover the same trail that the linear hikers cover, but just in a different way.
In many cases, hiking your own hike may mean quitting the hike. Over 70 percent of the hikers who intend to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one season quit. Some of them return the next season(s) to complete the sections they missed; thus, they become Section Hikers. However, many who quit never return because the hike wasn’t fun for them. After all, digging a hole in the dirt and squatting can get old after a while.
Whether you quit after 20 miles or you go the entire distance, the Appalachian Trail teaches you the same lesson: hike your own hike. Hikers ultimately focus on having fun.
Thru-hikers (those who has completed or is attempting to walk the entire Appalachian Trail in one uninterrupted journey) don’t blindly do what people tell them they should do, they do what they know gives them pleasure. Those who just do what society expects them to do, thereby ignoring their inner voice, are missing the point of life. A pilgrim’s purpose is to enjoy life now and not to put it off for retirement.