First is an extension of the athletic mantra, “No Pain – No Gain.” The hikers add to this wisdom with the phrase “No Rain – No Maine.” The weather on the A.T. can be very wet as rain sometimes lasts for days on end. A friend of mine knew an individual who started on the trail as a thru-hiker but only lasted 11 days. It rained all 11 days, the hiker could never get his feet dry, ended up getting a staph infection and was forced from the trail before he really got started. There will be rain (hopefully not 11 straight days) and lots of it on my way to Maine. I have a rain jacket, rain pants, and even a rain coat for my backpack. I have dry sacks (waterproof storage sacks) for my food and other essentials. I plan to embrace the precipitation and enjoy the rain as much as possible.
A second great expression is “Hike you own Hike.” Every thru-hiker has a particular approach to the journey – some slow and sure (the tortoise and the hare rationale), others rack up as many miles as possible (the marathon mindset), yet others want to take many of the side trails for pictures (the holiday tourist approach), and still others will blue blaze to avoid some difficult challenges (the play-it-safe perspective). Each viewpoint feels the need to defend its position and, sometimes, to put the others down. There are many hikers “who know it all” and have a calling to tell every novice the correct way to hike the journey – the right gear and why yours is wrong; the right food and how bad your choice in menu is; the only perfect hiking boot and a raised eye brow as yours are criticized. So the saying, “hike your own hike,” surfaced as a halfway polite way to tell the know-it-alls to mind their own business. You hike your hike and I will hike mine (as wrong as it might be).