“Hike your own hike.” -Alex Maier, Figure It Out on the Hayduke Trail
“Figure It Out on the Hayduke Trail” was a low-budget movie on Amazon Prime covering a 800-mile hike along the Hayduke Trail across Utah and Arizona spanning from Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah to Capitol Reef National Park near Escalante, Utah to Bryce Canyon National Park near Tropic, Utah. The hike then connects with the Arizona Trail that goes through the Grand Canyon. After hiking through the canyon a few times the trail heads back to Zion National Park near Kanab, Utah, where it reaches its final destination.
The desert terrain and the remoteness of the trail from civilization offers a different challenge compared to the Appalachian Trail (AT) or the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) where the population density is much higher than along the Hayduke Trail.
I feel like some of the best aspects of hiking “solo” is covered in this film. Alex Maier, the producer and narrator of the hike, talks about being alone with your thoughts, challenging yourself and pushing your limits.
As the title suggests, he details the difficulties of finding the trail using topography maps and a compass, searching for water, as he battles the elements of the wilderness.
An important thought he mentions at the end of the film is that the end of the hike isn’t the “goal” of these long, arduous through hikes. What he realizes through his past experiences is that what he learned on the journey along the way is the “goal.”
Some hikes might culminate at a summit or an alpine lake or some beautiful wind-sculpted arch, but that isn’t the objective. What you learn about who you are, what you discover about both your limitations and your abilities are, and your internal soul-searching along the path are all impactful takeaways from these experiences.
Find out more about Alex Maier’s hike and projects on his website: Five Aces Media.