Someone recently asked about the advantages of solo hiking on the Colorado Trail Thru-Hike 2017 Facebook page. I thought the answers were interesting and deserved to be preserved for others to think about. One answer, “unanimous decision making”, inspired me to write this poem.
Committee of One
I’m told one advantage of solo hiking
is unanimous decision making. But
as I sit here at the foot of Blackhawk Pass,
listening intently, watching black clouds gather,
it seems a committee of angry, unruly men
is holding a raucous council meeting inside my head.
Here are other answers.
Independent decision making, for better or worse.
Travel at your own pace.
A great time to be alone with your thoughts.
Funny, I’m trying to escape my thoughts!
It forces you to deal with things you might not otherwise.
Provides a clear mind, or at least a different perspective.
Allows clear and deep thoughts.
I found my soul again.
I would go deep into my thoughts, processing my grief.
A solo hike is phenomenal for self-healing.
It lets you self-reflect without distractions.
After hiking the CT, my wife asked me what I thought about and I said “I have no idea!”
My thoughts were dominated by the most basic things: food, water, and rest.
I thought it was one big cleanse. Mind and body. And I lost 20 pounds.
You don’t have to wait around for somebody to fill their cathole in the morning.
You can hit the trail before sunrise.
Even though I hiked alone, I was seldom camping alone.
Setting your own itinerary, stoping and camping where and when you want to.
Peace, serenity, reflection.
See more wildlife alone than when in a group.
More aware of my surroundings–wildlife, flowers, trail.
Freedom, strength, and self-sufficiency. I’m just there!
Not tied to the speed of anyone else.
Less drama when hiking alone.
Less time required to vet proper and compatible trail partner.
Serendipity. Things you can’t yet imagine happen to you.
Ability to change plans on the fly.
No one to annoy you!
To travel fast, go alone. To travel far, go with friends.
It helps you get in touch with who you are as a person.
Escape from people.
You learn a lot about yourself, and it is therapeutic.
Somewhere along the way, I met myself, and realized I liked myself.
I found a center where I could balance.
It was a serious test of mindfulness and courage/smarts in the face of risks.
If you are interested, you can watch a video of my own solo hiking experience on my first trip on The Colorado Trail.