Hike Your Own Hike…Really


There is probably not a more ubiquitous term about the AT, than “Hike Your Own Hike.” It is a term used mostly for good (hey, don’t judge how others hike!). But occasionally it’s evil twin shows itself, such as when hikers use HYOH to justify lack of consideration for other hikers or for the trail itself.

One promise that I made to myself while planning was to take the time to get acclimated to the trail. In other words, I was hiking my own hike to give my body a chance to avoid common injuries. . “No double digit days until North Carolina,” I said. And I stuck with that. But the weather, being weather, threw a monkey wrench into the best laid plans. As General Eisenhower once said, “Planning is everything, but plans are worthless.” The cold, wet weather precipitated (no pun intended) a few more zeroes than planned.

However, despite my lofty intentions, I didn’t hike my own hike; I hiked the one I thought I should. This was the biggest mistake I made.

Reading trail journals from previous years, I thought that I would be able to do bigger miles much sooner than the cold, harsh reality. I also wanted to make up for the early zeroes. I was a good kind of tired and not overly sore at the end of the day, but my pace was slow. It limited how far I could go on any given day. My feet also hurt a bit, but I expected that.

By the time my pace got better and I could fit more miles in, the balls of my feet hurt more. A lot more. I found some orthotics that really helped and did some long days. I should have been happy at the progress. Instead, I now had serious arch pain and felt unbelievably blue. I just wasn’t having fun.

I decided to come home and have my feet checked out. As karma or serendipity would have it, another hiker, who lives a mile away from me in Florida, was staying where I was and had a car!!! (The trail provides!)

At home, I had a better perspective. I realized that I liked hiking, I loved the AT and that I just didn’t love 15+ mile days. Where is the problem with hiking 12 mile days? Ditto with flip flopping. So, with the blessings of the docs and my saintly husband, I am considering going – with a first stop at Outdoor 76 for some new footwear.

One day at a time…here’s hoping the feet cooperate.

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Comments 4

  • Paul R Brouillette : Jun 11th

    You might want to go straight to an orthopedic doctor and get custom insoles. I drove 8 hours to Outdoor 76. Nice people and the insole that they got me helped, but didn’t solve my problems. (Plus they had nothing for wide footed people like myself). The custom insoles helped me greatly and I am not having anymore pains. Looking forward to my SOBO attempt now.

    • Kate Balano : Jun 11th

      Hi Paul,

      I have already visited Ortho and Podiatrist docs. Here’s hoping it all works! Best of luck on your hike!

  • Rachel Marcus Elliott : Jun 11th

    Good for you!! I’m so happy to hear you’re getting back on the trail!

  • Debbie : Jun 15th

    I was reading your Trail Journals. Happy to see you are going back. good luck!


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