Tuesday, April 24, 2012


HYOH stands for "Hike Your Own Hike," and is one of the major bits of etiquette on the hiking trails. What it means is that everyone does things their own way, and unless they ask for your advice or opinion, or they're obviously doing something unsafe, then you should respect their way of doing things.

If you've backpacked much, you'll have run across the guy or gal who's eager to tell you exactly what you're doing wrong. Usually in great detail.

I'm reminded of the story of the long-distance hiker (we'll call him LDH) who was halfway through his hike of the Continental Divide Trail when he came across a couple of well-equipped hikers (let's call them the Bean Brothers, you'll see why in a moment) out for a long weekend. These two looked like they stepped straight from the pages of the L.L. Bean catalog, while LDH (who had already put over 1200 miles in), looked rather ragged (understandably so, I reckon). They had all stopped for lunch, so the Bean Brothers, with all the good intentions in the world, proceeded to explain to LDH everything that he was doing wrong, why his gear sucked, and what they would do differently (basically everything). After a good hour break, LDH thanked them and got ready to head on up the trail. The Bean Brothers asked if he was almost to his car, because they were genuinely concerned about his outdoorsmanship. LDH chuckled and explained that he was still about 2 months from his end point and more than 2 months into his hike, but he appreciated their input. He left them speechless.

The lesson here is to not be a know-it-all. If someone asks you for your opinion, or why you do things a certain way or carry a specific bit of gear, talk about it. I tend to listen more than I talk, and I will ask questions about things that intrigue me. I learn a lot that way. Sometimes a new way to do things, sometimes a way that I don't want to try.

Hike Your Own Hike.

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