I love the feeling of being the only one on top of this mountain. It is hard to capture the feeling in words – the expansive joy of feeling part of nature, the quiet, the wind, the sun, the brisk temperature and the rhythm of the earth with no human distractions. I feel like I can breathe more deeply and hear my own heart more clearly and just relax into being. I am also deeply grateful to be able to do this hike since last winter I was so sick with Lyme Disease I found it difficult to just walk around the block.
This is me enjoying my fist ever completely solo hike. I used to hike quite a bit with just my dog, but she is now too old to hike this far in the snow and at 13 is aging faster than I’d like to admit. I know this trail well and feel pretty comfortable being here alone in the winter. There aren’t many people here compared to the summer and I figure people with bad intent are not looking for women alone on mountainsides in the cold of winter. I had my cell phone and some extra layers in my backpack, water, snacks and a lighter, just in case.
I did pass one group of young people going down the ledgy, icy spot near the summit on my way up. I do admit it brought a moment of comfort that there was someone to hear me yell if I fell and hurt myself there but with my ski poles I scrambled up with little trouble. That was the only time I saw people on the trail and otherwise had 2 ½ hours on the mountain in peaceful solitude. I hope to make it up there solo another time or two this winter depending on weather and snow conditions.
I am already pondering what I should do about alone time in the woods this summer. My faithful canine hiking & walking companion has been aging much more quickly over the past few months and is starting to get a tumor on her leg. She has given me the gift of freedom to be a woman alone in the woods, but not quite alone. I treasure this solitude, at times deeply craving this alone time in nature to soothe frayed nerves, balance out the intensity of the work week or simply be. It is when I can move my body in grace and peace, breath more deeply and be in a place that is still enough to see more clearly into my own heart, tap into richer feelings of joy or gain insight into decisions. I have counted on Ms. Rosie’s canine presence as a small measure of protection. I can sadly see this chapter in my life will not last as long as I would like and am not sure how I will deal with that change. A woman alone in the woods in winter is one thing, but what about summer when far more people are out on the trails? What about hunting season when the woods are scented with the sweet smell of decaying leaves but crawling with men carrying guns? For now, I will enjoy the solitude of winter and will have to figure it out when the time comes.
Below are a couple other photos from this hike. To see more interpretations of Love for this week’s photo challenge look here.