Last week I found myself on another solo hike. Over the last couple years my confidence in hiking alone has gone down, something my parents will surely appreciate. I’ve noticed that while I still very much enjoy going alone (as in without any personal friends), I enjoy having other people around.
It makes me feel safer, it makes me feel less isolated, and it makes me feel connected.
What I love most about hiking alone is that I don’t have to engage in conversations. In my day to day life I talk to people a lot, and this can be quite draining. I relish in the moments of silence. I’ve always been the one that friends come to when they need to vent, and I enjoy being that support for people, but sometimes it can be too much.
I’m burned out on being the ear for people to blab at, and aside from my mom and hired professionals I don’t really know how to be the one venting to others. I have empathy for most situations I get myself into, but my meter of open mental space has been pushed past the full line.
I’ve started to put in the work it takes to expand my circle of people. I want people in my life that ask me how I am doing, how I am feeling, and genuinely want to understand what I am experiencing. Relationships are so important to our existence, but only if they are of good quality. Think about the last time you had a conversation with a good friend that left you feeling warm inside.
Those are what we need in life.
I have no problem ditching people that suck more than they give, and I’ve gotten quite good at it over the years. My tolerance for this negativity is nearly nonexistent. There are a handful of people that have slipped through the cracks though, and it’s taken a myriad of health problems for me to realize who needs to stay and who needs to go.
I simply do not have the extra energy it takes for these kinds of people.
When I opened my computer to write this hike recap I did not intend for it to go this way. I don’t often think about what I am going to write, I just go with whatever my fingers start typing. I think the bottom line for what I’m trying to say is that it’s easy to get sucked into black hole friendships. It’s not always clear, but I challenge you to become more aligned with your gut feelings.
As for me, I won’t be feeling bad when I decline hiking with a friend and want to go alone. Not that I ever really do…
I’ve hiked this trail a handful of times – it’s close (in relation to other places I go, but this one is still an hour and a half drive away) it’s short (4 miles RT and takes me about 2 hrs), and it’s a butt burner (just under 2k eleveation for just under 2 miles up.) Despite having been here multiple times I hadn’t seen the paragliders take off, until this trip.
I don’t know if this is something I could do, but it was sure fun watching other people. The weather was great, bouncing between sun and clouds, with the perfect amount of wind for these brave souls. Some guys were going up multiple times carrying their packs on their back. Talk about motivation to get into shape.
Although it would be terrifying to take that jump off the edge, I can only imagine the solitary feelings that comes with floating alone in the sky.
Being alone in the woods gives me time to process my thoughts, and hot damn there can be a lot at times. I’ve recently discovered I have ADD, which makes a whole heap of sense for some of my tendencies and traits. I’m always working hard to quiet my mind, and solo hiking is one of my outlets for this. And meditation – a constant work in progress.
In sum, it’s not necessarily personal if you want to be alone. Don’t feel bad about turning down invites, telling someone you’d rather be alone, or anything of this nature. When a roaring fire starts to die we casually add more fuel. This allows a steady balanced burn with minimal work. If the fire is complete burned out it takes a lot more energy to get it started again. People are the same. Don’t burn yourself out.
Also, yes – the trail is seriously called Poo Poo Point. Imagine the irony if this were the trail I was on when this happened.
Q: Would you paraglide?