This summer I went on my first solo hiking adventure. Maybe that’s not a big deal to you, but I can tell you it was a big deal for me. My husband Bruce is normally my hiking partner but when he is out of town and the weather is good sometimes I want to go for a hike. In the past if I can’t find anyone to go with I just don’t go. End of story. However, as someone who loves the outdoors that is a little silly. I have gone on hikes before with hiking groups but sometimes their schedule doesn’t work for me. In any case I decided that I should get out of my comfort zone and just go for it. Hike when you want to hike!
Start Small and Plan Well
For my first hike I decided to try a small and manageable trail where the likelihood of being attacked by an animal was unlikely. These are my fears, I am not afraid of people – I live in Newfoundland for the love of god. I am afraid of getting cornered by a coyote or charged by a moose. Of course, I am not saying it is rational but fears generally aren’t rational. Also, I am sure this goes without saying but pack a first aid kit, lots of snacks and water. Always be prepared for whatever may come up. Be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
The path I chose was the Silver Mine Head Path on the East Coast Trail. I familiarized myself with all the details on their website. Knowing what I was getting myself into sated some of my fears. It was also only 4kms and in a well-used part of the trail which meant lots of people (and less animals) would be around. If you are nervous like I was going small and manageable rather then say taking solo hiking the Pacific Crest Trail a la Wild, the book not the movie of course, is a much better and of course safer idea.
Experiencing Things Alone Can Be A Beautiful Thing
I am an introvert, which doesn’t mean I am shy, but rather means I gain my energy and recharge by being alone. Hiking by yourself, I discovered, is a little bit of an introvert’s dream. You can experience every beautiful moment without distraction. I took it all in, if I wanted to check out a sea cave or just needed a break I could at my own leisure. Of course there are so many details that I may have missed if I was chatting with someone. I noticed things and went off the beaten path to explore further all on my own. Sharing experiences with others is one of life’s little joys but experiencing them alone can also be a beautiful thing. Two different but wonderful experiences in their very own way.
Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
It is a cliche but there is just something to be said for just feeling fear and doing it anyways. That is where growth happens. I was really proud of myself for going on a hike alone because it was something I had wanted to do for a while. I am a independent person who isn’t afraid to spend time alone. This was one of the go do it by yourself experiences that I had been wanting to do for a while. Now I have gained a little confidence to go again and maybe next time a little further.
I am hopeful that my little win of solo hiking will encourage you to go try something solo that you have been afraid to do. I am a big believer that spending time alone can be a wonderful thing. Maybe it’s not hiking, maybe it’s going to dinner in a restaurant or going anywhere alone for that matter. Be brave and go solo! You might just surprise yourself.