I hadn’t initially planned on hiking today, but when the sun started peeking through the trees and the temperature climbed to almost 60, I knew I had to get out.
You could hardly consider this trip a hike, but I set out to make the most of the park and challenge myself wherever I could. Most of it felt like a leisurely walk, but I veered off onto as many side trails as possible.
I’d never done this hike before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I entered near a boat ramp and an old mill building. For the first few minutes I just walked around and looked, getting my bearings/sense of direction. I had a map in my pack just incase, but decided to go with a path that looked the most popular.
The trails were wide and ran along a pond which turned into a narrow canal. There were other hikers, walkers, runners and mountain bikers. I saw young couples, older couples, and even some dogs (the superior species). My first venture off the path brought me closer to the pond. As I neared the bank, I saw a massive great blue heron about 50ft ahead. I tried to make as little noise as possible, but it heard me and flew over to other side of the pond. I was the only one that saw it.
I continued on the main path along the water, keeping my eyes peeled for more side trails. I found one that took me deeper into the woods. The smell of the leaves was potent and intoxicating. It smelled like Halloween–like childhood. At this point I’d been hiking for about an hour. I came back to the bridge on the main trail and crossed, deciding I would make my way back. This trail was narrow and slightly more challenging. It brought me to a deck that crossed over the pond. I had this trail to myself, and was thankful for the solitude. It’s not that I dislike seeing people, especially happy faces of those enjoying the outdoors, but there is something about being alone in nature that I just cannot get enough of lately. I would have started skipping, if I didn’t think I’d trip over a tree root and ruin the whole experience.
Today, I went somewhere new by myself. I’m finding it difficult to capture in words how empowering this feels. All I can do is urge you to try it, especially if you’re single and looking for fulfillment in your independence. I know it’s scary to do things alone–maybe you even just feel awkward or silly. It doesn’t have to be a hike, either. Go to the movies alone, or even to your favorite restaurant. Your relationship with yourself deserves to be nurtured just as much as your relationships with family, friends, and significant others.
Also–it’s fucking awesome doing whatever the hell you want on your own god damn terms.
P.s. Here’s my best “blue steel” on the trail today —
What an idiot.