One question I consistently get from family and friends is, “Why do you hike alone?” and “Don’t you know how dangerous that is?” and the answer is there are many reasons I do, and I am fully aware of the risks involved. Hiking alone can be dangerous and I would never suggest it for just anyone. In fact, as many of my friends know I took a little spill on the ice this week.
*Before and after my little accident.
Luckily my fall wasn’t too bad since I was out alone and pretty far from my car. For me the rewards just outweigh the risks by far.
Being able to complete a challenging hike on my own gives me a sense of confidence like I have never know before. Learning to use a compass, map and my own sense of direction while navigating miles on my own fills me with an amazing sense of accomplishment. This is something that I would never have had the confidence to do alone a few years ago. And these empowering hikes have pushed me to see what other goals I can accomplish (hopefully one day the AT). I am woman – hear me ROAR!
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I have coped with an anxiety disorder since my early teen years. It has been one of those struggles that has at times seemed like I am in an exhausting, unending battle with my mind. One thing gives me relief more than anything else, and that is spending time alone in nature. There is something about getting back to the basics – no makeup, hair in a ponytail, no internet/cell phone and just fresh air, dirt, and me and my dog. I LOVE time with my friends and I love staying connected, but sometimes I need to just take the time to unplug and appreciate the beauty around me. I need this time to unwind and remember that tomorrow is a new day; just breathe and let things go.
When I am alone in the woods or in the eastern hills of Kentucky I often find myself in awe of the beauty that surrounds me. I feel so grateful for my body, my life and the experiences I have and I just feel so joyful. Joyful isn’t a word I normally use, but it seems like the only word that truly conveys the feeling of happiness that fills my heart. I sometimes even catch myself just smiling alone for no reason. Being grateful doesn’t mean everything in your life is perfect – there are so many things I could improve on – but I acknowledge what things I do have in my life instead of constantly seeking the next best thing. I am grateful.
What empowers you? What brings you joy and makes you feel grateful? I would love to hear from you.
Please note: Although I enjoy taking a hike and enjoying the solitude, I always let someone know where I am going, distance and expected completion time and I always go prepared. I have a pack filled with emergency gear, extra water and I always study my routes prior to hitting the dirt. I also know how to read a topographical map in case I get lost – pretty important before setting out alone.