Into the Wild: The Joy of Solo Hiking

Waterfall, Water, Stream, Creek

What do you do when the hustle and bustle of the world gets to be too much? I go for a hike! 

In a world teeming with noise and constant connectivity, there exists a refuge of serenity and self-discovery: hiking solo. Amidst the wilderness, the solitary hiker embarks on a journey of exploration, both external and internal. Each footfall serves as a rhythmic reminder that this voyage is not just about conquering the trails, but about unveiling the untamed spirit within. 

With every step, the wilderness weaves its magic, transforming a solo hike into an immersive symphony of sights, sounds, and emotions. The wilderness becomes a mirror, reflecting the hiker’s strength, resilience, and vulnerability, as nature whispers it’s timeless secrets. Embracing solitude, the hiker discovers that the true expedition is not only in traversing mountains and forests but in navigating the uncharted territories of the soul. Hiking solo, one becomes an intrepid explorer, forging an unbreakable bond with nature and oneself, in an odyssey of self-discovery that transcends the mere physical act of walking.

A walk in the forest, breathing in fresh air with a hint of pine, is good for the soul, and hiking solo can be a journey of self-discovery. With every stride, the wilderness weaves its magic, transforming the hike into an immersive symphony of sights, sounds, and emotions. 

Hiking solo offers the time to stop and discover nature’s creations: mushrooms, pinecones, and even hungry chipmunks. 

A Journey of Self-Discovery

Each step serves as a reminder that this voyage is not just about conquering the trails, but about unveiling the untamed spirit within. It’s a time to reflect on your thoughts and feelings and to challenge yourself physically and mentally. It’s an opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of. 

Of course, hiking solo isn’t for everyone. It can be daunting to set out on a trail by yourself, especially if you’re not used to being in the wilderness. But if you’re willing to take the plunge, you’ll be rewarded with an experience that you’ll never forget.

Here are some of the benefits of hiking solo:

  • You can go at your own pace. No need to worry about keeping up with a group or waiting for someone else to finish taking a break.
  • You can be as social or as solitary as you want. If you want to chat with other hikers, you can. If you want to be alone with your thoughts, you can do that too.
  • You can be more mindful of your surroundings. When you’re hiking solo, you’re more likely to be aware of your surroundings and to appreciate the beauty of nature.
  • You can challenge yourself. Hiking solo can be a great way to challenge yourself physically and mentally.

Why solo hike?

Mindfulness and a connection with nature are a couple of great reasons to try a solo hiking adventure. The solitude allows you to be more present and mindful of your surroundings. Without the chatter of conversation, you can connect more deeply with nature, and listen to the rustling of leaves, the sound of a flowing stream, and the calls of birds. This heightened connection with nature can be both meditative and rejuvenating.

I rely on All Trails to find nearby trails that are suited to my abilities and offer the attractions I am looking for, like waterfalls! In my current location, near Ellsworth in Maine, there are quite a few trails that include waterfalls and I struck gold on my first try with the Peter’s Brook Trail. 

 In Down East Maine, there are literally thousands of trails to choose from and I have a growing list of 3ish mile easy to moderate hikes that include wildflowers and/or waterfalls.

This was a nice bonus waterfall I found soon after hitting the trail and one of the nice benefits of solo hiking is that I could take a detour and spend as much time as I wanted getting the composition I wanted. 

My “why” is pretty simple. Spending time in nature helps me slow down and appreciate all that I have in my life. 

 

Are you ready to hit the trail?

It’s a good idea to be prepared with a few things before you go. REI has a great top ten list of essentials I recommend checking out (link here) but the minimum items you should include in your pack are navigation, first aid, water, food, and a knife.  

Now that you are ready to hit the trail let’s talk safety.  There is a lot of information out there that can be found with a quick Google search but most sites will include these top three things:

  • Let someone know where you will be hiking and when you expect to return. If you are in a national or state park check in with a ranger or list your info on a trail log. Make sure your phone is charged in case of emergency.
  • Plan thoroughly. Check the weather and read reviews from other hikers to understand trail conditions.
  • Know your abilities. Stretch yourself but don’t put yourself at risk by ignoring your capabilities. I know I can navigate well-marked trails easily but would not go off-trail or attempt a back-country hike at this point. It does give me something to strive for in the future though and I continue to push my limits regularly.

One other thing to consider is a good pair of hiking boots. Nothing can ruin a great walk in nature like a twisted ankle. Trust me when I say I learned very quickly that hiking in flip-flops is a very bad idea!  

Leave No Trace

One rule I always have in mind when I hit the trail is to take only photos and to leave only footprints. Nothing is more disappointing than finding a great trail that is full of litter from careless hikers. 

Leave No Trace Principal number 3 states: “Dispose of Waste Properly: Pack out all trash and litter, leaving no trace of your visit. Dispose of human waste properly by digging a small hole at least 200 feet from water sources, and pack out used toilet paper in a sealable bag.”

It’s a good practice to try and leave the trail better than you found it and to pack out other people’s trash along with your own. The wildlife will appreciate it! 

 

forest, mushroom, green, wooded, bokeh

Enjoy the Experience!

This week’s adventure was Peter’s Brook trail, a 2.5 mile out and back moderate trail that took me about 2 hours to complete. It was a magical stroll through the forest complete with sunlight streaming through the trees onto moss-covered rocks and, did I mention…waterfalls? 

Happy adventuring and let me know about your favorite hikes!

Waterfall, Water, Stream, Creek
About
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Hi! I’m Shelle and my mission is simple: to inspire and empower adventurous souls like you to embark on unforgettable journeys into the heart of nature. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a passionate photographer, or simply someone who loves to wander, we’re here to fuel your wanderlust and provide you with the tools and resources you need to make the most of your outdoor adventures.

Join our vibrant community of fellow travelers as we dive into the beauty of the natural world, one adventure at a time. Let’s explore, discover, and connect with the world around us—together.

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