It's time for the "hike your own hike" phrase to end

“Hike your own hike”… A statement I had never heard before until someone said it to me when I asked them to not blast their music on the trail. Now, I don’t claim to be a hiking veteran or even know all that I want to about the outdoors, but I have been out on the trails since 2008 and in 10 years I have seen a shift in the hikers out there. I have watched as the average hiker has gone from friendly and prepared to rude and obviously unprepared. Think I am exaggerating? Take a look next time you’re out on the trails to find people in their own world but don’t even have their own water.

Is this phrase contributing to the increasingly disgusting behaviors we see on the trails today? I believe it is. That phrase has become a mantra for so many who want to do their own thing, their own way, and have an expectation that they should be allowed to do it without giving regard to others. “Hike your own hike” didn’t start out as an excuse for rude or selfish behavior, I’m sure it started out as a phrase to get people outside to explore and to let nature cure you.

It’s obvious that this cringeworthy phrase has morphed into literally creating trash on the trail. It is breeding a generation of hikers who are becoming selfish, rude, and inconsiderate. I realize that this sounds fiery, but my motivation for writing this is the incident that occurred yesterday on Mount Whitney.  The following is from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department:

“Today CHP - Inland Division Air Operations and Inyo SAR volunteers assisted a hiker who was reported to be between Trail Crest and Trail Camp on the Mt Whitney trail.
The team located the subject; he was hungry, cold, and had sustained minor abrasions from a tumble down a snowfield after another hiker glissaded into him and then left the scene. Prior to that, he had been hiking with two companions who left him as well- the subject didn't know them or their names but had been hiking with them that day. After these two hikers left the subject they located someone with a phone at Trail Camp and called the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, then continued on their hike.
Two kind hikers came across the subject and stayed with him; they helped keep him warm overnight.
After the team located the subject he was provided with some food, and after warming up he was able to hike out on his own."

Can anyone possibly explain how it is even remotely close to acceptable for someone who was glissading to run into a hiker and keep going? It’s obvious the selfish person who was glissading had no idea what they were doing. If they knew, they would’ve been able to self arrest their glissade, stop, and help who they just injured. That’s not the only thing wrong with this picture…what about the hiker’s 2 companions? They left him and continued onto the summit?! Hike your own hike I guess… make sure YOU get to where YOU want to be and forget everyone else huh?

I applaud those two hikers who took the time and resources to help the poor guy who was mowed down by a selfish and incompetent “hiker”. Those who are willing to stop, put their own summit, goals, or trip on hold to share their resources to help their fellow man, are definitely not caught up in the ridiculous mantra of “hike your own hike”. They are people who truly realize what the trails are and how they benefit humanity.

Let’s put “hike your own hike” to death and adopt a mentality that embraces the trails and the people who use them.

- Chris Duarte