Hike Your Own Hike~ Trust In The Trail

What Does it mean to “Hike Your Own Hike”?

A common phrase on the trail is “hike your own hike”. It is up to the individual hiker how they can interpret this commonly used phrase. For many, it may actually mean to hike your hike solo. However for me, this phrase does not mean that to “hike your own hike” you must be hiking alone. For me “hike your own hike” is very similar to the widely known phrase “live your own life”. While I am not choosing to hike solo, I am choosing whom I wish to hike with. Of course, as always in life, I have the freedom to decide what I deem to be best for me on this personal journey of healing, forgiveness, determination and strength.

Friends To Pull You Through

This morning, here in Frederick, Maryland, its not only cold and rainy but also icy as well. I am picturing myself out on the trail on mornings like these come one month from now. I hope and pray the weather will warm up, but I know the chances of still encountering cold temperatures, especially in the Smokies are highly likely. These are the mornings I will be especially glad to have friends with me on the trail. Without encouragement from others, it would be more challenging to keep a high morale.

There will be many times on trail when friends will help encourage you to carry onward. Thru-hikers typically help motivate each other, and will not want to see a fellow comrade turn home on an ugly weather day. These nasty weather days are the days your friends will pull you out of your tent, or vise versa and together face the stormy skies.

When Friends Turn to Trail Family

Friendships form faster than usual and with stronger bonds on the Appalachian Trail. You are going through a very unique experience with one another, and will very quickly learn all sides of each other, both the good and the bad. Many hikers will not be seeing their actual family very often, if at all on the trail, therefore your trail friends really do become your family, also known as your trail fam or “Tramily”. One of the coolest parts about being on trail in my opinion is creating your own new identity. You are meeting new people who know nothing about your past, and are able to be whoever you now want and choose to be. You will receive a “trail name” early on in your thru- hike, and can ditch your real name that you came with.

Ever since my internship began at the ATC last summer, I have met tons of incredible people through the AT hiking community. This community really was my savior when all hell broke loose in my life. Many of these new friends I have stayed in contact with since I met them at the ATC last summer. Some I have been able to go out on hiking trips with and have been a huge help to me in terms of preparing for my thru-hike.

My trail friends have ended up being some of the most supportive friends I have, as I quickly found this out when I lost my dad in the fall. Many of these friends, I only met initially for a few hours, or days at a time. Who would have thought they would become some of my most cherished lifelong friends. I look forward to the new people and friendships I will make this year on the trail, it is no secret that the trail attracts some very special and of course, interesting characters.





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