Thursday, February 10, 2011

I hike alone

(Sung to the tune of "I drink alone"by George Thorogood)

I hike alone
Yeah, with nobody else
I hike alone
Yeah with nobody else
You know when I hike alone,
I prefer to be by myself

The other day I got invited hiking
But I went alone instead
Just me and my pal Green Backpack
and my wool hat on my head
and we hiked alone...

I crack myself up sometimes. But seriously. The same trail can be very different whether you hike alone or in a group. In a group, you give up some things. Independence. Your own pace. The freedom to flop in a meadow and stare. You have to hang around the car freezing as Mr. Methodical stretches, adjusts his pack, or debates over clothing. You have to shoulder the uneasy burden of watching out for slower companions, or in turn, to your chagrin, become a slower companion as you bound after a Freak of Nature. Sometimes, though, the stars align and you light upon the perfect trail soulmate, someone who floats along on your wavelength. You share chocolate. You gasp at the same views. You both jump into the lake.

Hiking alone sometimes is the way to go, though, and I choose it often. It is a meditative experience, a time to write a chapter in my head, a time to think through things, to come up with plans. Something knotted unravels,a long golden strand of random thoughts that flows through my mind. I think about everything, all those things I never have time for during a normal day. With my feet, I figure things out. I have mended broken hearts, hiking alone. I have made big leaps of faith in the future. With every solitary footstep on the trail, with each mile unwinding in my own, perfect pace, I have begun to listen to my inner voice, the one I hid for so long, the one I didn't trust.

I have a friend who is turning forty. Forty! She weeps. It seems impossible, horrible, her life over. What I want to tell her is this: Go for a long hike. Hike for days if you can. Ford streams. Cross fallen logs. Sit in the golden hour when the pale pink blush of sky kisses the tallest peak you can see. Go alone.  Let the silence knit into your skin like an invisible sweater. When you come back, forty won't seem so insurmountable.

My whole family done give up on me

And it makes me feel oh so bad
The only one who will hang out with me
Is my dear old Thermarest pad
And we hike alone, yeah
With nobody else
Yeah, you know when I hike alone
I prefer to be by myself


  1. First, your friend. Tell her you have a bloggy friend who is over 50 and she says that 40s are a blast! Much, much better than 30s, no question about it.
    Funny you should write about hiking alone. I am planning to run away from home (if I can schedule it) and hoping for a nice hike alone. A few years ago we all agreed that mom (that's me) would have a couple of days for herself every few months. Right, like that ever happened. But this time I am putting my foot down. Solo hikes are great!

  2. Oh Marre...I promise when I turn 40 I will not whine or complain.

    I would just like to thank you again for accomodating me on the trail. THANK YOU MARRE!

    @Ewa...I like to call it "Mommy Time". I too had to finally put my foot down and run away once a month, even though it is only for about 4 hrs. What I would give though for a couple days all at once more than once a year. Sometimes a couple hours just isn't enough to get all the craziness out of the soul. Hiking with Marre was one of the best adventures I have had. It even happened on my "Mommy Time", which made it that much more special.

  3. Ok I just turned 40.. I should have gone on a hike!

  4. Great writing...again! Whether on a hike (alone) or through many other parts of your living and growing, you have figured out so much! Could this be the trail along Hurricane Creek?


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