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Re: [at-l] Thruhiking - Hike your own hike

This is good stuff. I haven't hiked the hike but I can say Iam still in
those baby steps where I feel I need to prepare for a change,  Geez I am
still smoking.. for chimney sake!! I walk everyday and drink lots of water
exercise and eat well an improvement from a year ago and good enough for
All you die hearts read this twice
Good Stuff , Jim.

> From: Jim Owen <jrowen@pop500.gsfc.nasa.gov>
> To: at-l@saffron.hack.net
> Subject: [at-l] Thruhiking - Hike your own hike
> Date: Wednesday, February 05, 1997 7:50 AM
> Episode ? -
> This one came out of what was as close to a flame war as I've yet
> seen on this list.  I was definitely at fault - and I have no desire to
> repeat that experience.  I edited the flamebait out.
> Walk softly,
> Jim
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> There's been a lot of talk about "Hike your own hike".   So - let's
> have some discussion as to exactly what "Hike your own hike"
> really means. I'm gonna start the ball and then I want to hear what
> everyone else thinks it is -
> For me, one part of "Hike your own hike" is knowing my own ground
> rules. It means writing my own contract and then living it. If you
> don't know what "your hike" is, how are you gonna know if you're
> hiking it?  Or if you're not?
> So what's this contract stuff? It's something I was taught that
> worked for me on the Trail. Before I left for Springer I made a
> contract with myself. It defined what I wanted out of the hike,
> how I'd hike, what I was willing to do and what I wouldn't do. In
> other words, the conditions and parameters that I used to define
> MY hike. OK, so it's a new concept to some of you - let me give
> you a FEW examples of what some of my friends had in their
> contracts.
> Some of them are purists (they kiss every white blaze), and some
>         are blue blazers.
> Some will yellow blaze (hitchhike or roadwalk around sections). One
>         group made a game of taking EVERY possible blue blaze - and then
>         got caught by taking some impossible ones.
> Some won't sleep under a roof,  some won't take a ride.
> One refused to take baths and another refused to wash his hiking T-shirt.
>         (These are NOT popular options with other thruhikers !!)
> Some go as part of expeditions, some in relays.
> Some solo, others go with partners.
> Some want the fastest hike and others want the slowest (One ran
>         the Trail and one took 10 months)
> Some want the earliest start or to be first to Katahdin (January
>         starters - cold and lonely)
> One started in October (he said he likes steak & it keeps well in winter)
> One group made a ceremony of after dinner cigars (they camped away
>         from the shelters - far away)
> One took his cat (the shelter mice didn't like that)
> Some took dogs (the cat didn't like that)
> Some hike for a cause, or as a memorial to a friend or relative.
> Some will stay only as long as they're enjoying the hike
> Some will quit only for death or dismemberment.
> Some wrote their contract on paper and signed it - others never
>         even knew they had one.
> Some are out there to find themselves and others to test themselves.
> A few are out there to be found - And a few are out there to find the
>         ones who are out there to be found
> A few occasionally hike naked - or nearly so.
> Some want a 6 month hike, others may be time constrained to
>         a 3, 4 or 5 month hike.
> Some explore all the side trails, others won't walk 100 feet off-Trail
>         for a view.
> Some carry full packs all the way, others carry packs all the way
>         (there is a difference)
> Most will slackpack (one group slacked all but 6 days between
>         Waynesboro and Katahdin)
> Some flip-flop, some yoyo.
> Some do it piecemeal.
> Some come back year after year - after year......after year ....
> Some do 20 mile days, others hike the terrain.
> Some swear by hiking sticks and others swear at them.
> Some use one stick, some use two.
> Some carry teddy bears or Barbie dolls or feathers.
> Some carry radios, others carry coffeepots.
> Some carry a yellow rubber duckie through the Smokies.
> Some hike from dawn to dusk, others from noon to midnite.
> Some only stay in shelters and some won't stay in shelters
> Some stay at B&B's and call taxis to get them there.
> Some give up alcohol or smoking - and others spend their hike looking for
> Some party from town to town and some go into town as seldom as possible.
> Enuff - that doesn't even scratch the surface of the possibilities, but
> I think you've got the idea. There are an infinite number of variations
> that YOU can use to define YOUR hike. Which ones fit you? What can you
> add to the list? How good is your imagination? It's YOUR contract,
> YOU define the conditions, YOU abide by them, YOU live with the results
> and YOU are the only one who can change them - anytime, anyway YOU want.
> Yeah - I can hear the screams - " I don't wanta be chained to some dumb
> agreement - that's not what I'm out here for!!"   Who said you're chained
> to anything? You don't like the deal? Change it ! That's your option too.
> YOU can change it anytime, anyplace, anyway YOU want. It's all YOURS.
> I changed mine in North Carolina, in Virginia and and again in New York.
> It's worth repeating - If you don't know what "your hike" is, how are
> you gonna know if you're hiking it?
> Don't like the idea? Cool ! Don't use it. One of the options is "no
> I know several people who went out without a contract and got to
> Katahdin anyway - because they decided at some point that that was
> what they really wanted.
> Another part of "Hike your own hike" is - don't hike someone else's
> hike. I know - you wouldn't do that. But it happens every year. How?
> Simple - you go into town with a group, and when you're ready to leave,
> they want to stay another day. Do you leave or stay? The ONLY
> question is - what do YOU want to do with YOUR hike?
> Another situation - The group wants to do 20 mile days, and you're
> a 12 mile/day hiker. Do you go with them - or let them go? There's
> a long list of people who went with the group and got stronger as a
> result. There's another long list of people who went with the group
> and got shinsplints, blisters, tendonitis and stress fractures. Some
> people get away with it, some don't.
> It's always YOUR choice - but if you get into "groupthink" mode,
> whose hike are you hiking? If you want to go with a group that's not
> doing what you planned to do, cool - but think about the consequences
> first. If the group determines what you're doing, then it's not your
> hike anymore - it's theirs.
> Are there exceptions? Of course - if you're hiking with an expedition
> or a relay, or with a spouse or partner. I've seen people leave an
> injured partner on the Trail.  Personal opinion is that REAL thruhikers
> don't leave injured partners in the backcountry.
> OK - a couple comments about "Hike your own hike" -
> First - NO ONE can really hike someone else's hike. You don't know their
> contract, schedule, budget, mail drops, support, time constraints,
> emotional state, physical condition, equipment, etc. ad infinitum.
> Even on the Trail you couldn't hike their hike because you hike
> different distances at different speeds, one of you has more money
> than the other, you don't eat the same things, one of you carries a
> heavier pack  - and 16 dozen other reasons.
> Second - I really DON'T WANT anyone else hiking my hike. I like the
> high, quiet places and I don't want crowds there.
> Third - You really DON'T WANT to hike my hike. I compressed 2 discs
> in Virginia, blew both knees in the Whites and broke a wrist in Maine.
> Does anyone REALLY want to hike my hike? Hmmm .... I didn't think so.
> What does "Hike your own hike" mean to you?
> Walk softly,
> Jim Owen
> Bald Eagle, 92
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