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Isolation vs. Connection in Hiking

hiking alone benefits

This past year I’ve spent the majority of my hikes alone. Trekking into the wilderness to simultaneously lose and find myself.

Jagged breath and the steady click of my trekking poles providing the soundtrack for my scattered thoughts.

For a little while I felt like perhaps, I was doing it wrong- that maybe the better way to hike was with others.

And in some instances, I do believe that hiking with others in incredibly beneficial!

If you’re new to the area, not comfortable with the difficultly of the hike, or are treading a lightly trafficked trail, then having a partner is 100% the move.

I believe that my best hikes have taken place in “isolation”.

The quotes are there for a couple of reasons, and I’ll get into those in a second.

Being alone gives me a chance to sort through my thoughts, reflect on the trajectory of my life, and have a moment to myself- sans obligations to another party.

The value I garner in feeling no obligation to uphold/maintain/create conversation or allocate a portion of my thoughts to the comfort and needs of another person is a selfish and deeply necessary reprieve from my day to day.

As humans with meaningful relationships and responsibilities it is vital to take a step back and let nature demand that just for a moment we focus only on our needs and immediate survival.

Here’s where I feel that “isolation” Isn’t the right word for hiking alone.

In the solace of hiking by ourselves we forge a deeper connection with nature and ourselves.

Moving through the woods at my own pace, on no set schedule but my own allows me to stop and play and connect in new ways with the earth around me.

Think about the last time you really stopped and played in the woods. Did you wander along the river aimlessly, practice a tightrope walk over fallen logs?

I don’t do that when I am with others, because I don’t want to deviate from their plan, but those moments and that “play time” means a lot to me.

There are a lot of things in life that I have no answers to or haven’t found a balance for ye, but I do believe that some of our hikes need to happen solo.

Question: How do you “play” in the woods and when’s the last time you did it? Tell me about it!

2 thoughts on “Isolation vs. Connection in Hiking”

    1. Totally! Thank you so much for taking the time to give this a read. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way! I feel like this is where my biggest personal growth has happened this year 🙂

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