After 40 Days and 40 Nights, Here Are My 10 Commandments of Thru-Hiking

I wasn’t sent down the river in a basket as a baby, and I definitely haven’t led anyone on this thru-hike—but after 40 days and nights in the desert I’ve learned a few “rules” to pass along.

I. There is but one blaze, and thou shall not take strange blazes before it.

Basically, stay on the trail! Future thru-hikers and the ecosystems we are going through will thank you for it.

II. Remember to keep holy the zero day.

I once took less than 70 steps on a zero day. Take it, cherish it, relish in it like a pig wallows in its mud. It is your holy day and it is meant for rest.

III. Honor your fellow hiker.

Respect the other people on trail. We know you love ’80s hair metal, but that doesn’t mean the hiker behind you does.

IV. Thou shall not spill extra water from the cache.

If you don’t need it, leave it. There’s bound to be someone behind you who does. And for goodness sake, be careful when you pour that shit. Water is a precious resource out here.

V. Thou shall not pass unsolicited judgment on thy neighbor’s gear.

If they didn’t ask your opinion on their 30-pound base weight chances are they don’t give a flying trekking pole what you think about it.

VI. Thou shall not cut switchbacks.

You’re telling me you came out to thru-hike just to cut off 30 yards of trail? Just stop that.

VII. Thou shall keep closed the lid of the pit toilet.

There’s literally a sign right there! I know we don’t really have to remember to flush anymore but come on, it’s really not that hard.

VIII. Thou shall honor thy trail angels.

Thank them, offer to donate (and definitely do if you stay at their home!!!), and help out when you can. Remember that without them showers would be fewer and farther in-between, off trail miles more frequent, and delicious food more scarce.

IX. Thou shall not sefie with the rattlesnake.

This one feels self-explanatory.

X. Thou shall leave no trace.

The most important rule for existing in the wilderness—leaving it as if you were never there. The desert offers many beautiful, naturally occurring flowers; dug up toilet paper is not one of them.

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Comments 7

  • Leo-Yermo : Jun 19th

    Now those are X commandments I believe in and always shall obey.
    Nature Mystic me.

    • GARY LABELLA : Jun 19th

      So true so true…
      Are you sure the selfie with a rattlesnake doesn’t deserve some explanation!
      Mama Gecko

  • Michael Duff : Jun 19th

    “they don’t give a flying trekking pole” – epic!!!!!

  • Spears : Jun 19th

    Author has never done a thru hike.

    Author gives out commandments on thru hiking.


  • Lotus AT 2018. PCT 2020 : Jun 20th

    Very good. I laughed a lot. Very quick simple excellent advise. All should adhere to the X.

  • Sylvia : Jul 6th

    I LOVE ♥️ the intelligent humor.

  • Watermelon : Oct 1st

    This post… I love it. Selfie with a rattlesnake. Priceless. I’m a novice plan to hike the PCT 2020! I shall not selfie with a rattlesnake 🙂


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