I am a woman. I am a hiker. I often hike alone.
For years I was too afraid to hike alone. I grappled with my overactive imagination. I struggled to cultivate a comfort zone where none existed. For reasons both practical and mysterious I eventually found myself enjoying the rush of engaging in the slightly risky, but liberating act of solo hiking.
I am not always the striding heroine in a Jane Austen novel gliding through field and forest. Unlike the elegant damsels in the woods I am usually overloaded with gear. The rituals of preparation, the false security of a cell phone, and a trusty set of hiking poles arm me with enough confidence to set out alone. My inner Agent Scully evaluates the trailhead before setting out and casts a periodic glance on the trail behind. I think carefully about my route and tend to be more mindful when outside alone, especially when in less familiar areas.
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