[Cdt-l] Alone or not?

Josie josie1066 at gmail.com
Sat Dec 4 12:07:54 CST 2010

I have been thinking about this thread on hiking alone or not, or hiking with various pieces of technology or not.

Due to work constraints, I’m a section hiker and I generally I hike with my husband and dog. However in 2008 I hiked the entire John Muir Trail alone. I very much enjoyed my solo hike, I learned a lot about myself and I would certainly do it again should the opportunity present itself. That said, I don’t feel that hiking with my long term soul mate is any less of an expereince because we are together. In fact, what’s great about hiking with someone you know very well is that words are not all that necessary: togetherness and aloneness ebb and flow through the pattern of the days comfortably and unremarked.

A few years ago there was a book and a movie called, “Into the Wild” about a young man who left his family,without a trace and made his way to Alaska, he wanted to be alone. Eventually, he died alone and I was struck by one of the last entries in the journal he kept, “Happiness is only real when it’s shared.” (or something like that). Who of us has not stood on top of a mountain at dawn and felt overwhelmed by the beauty and peace of the time and place? Nothing can change that--but years from now, I can say to my partner, “remember when we saw that Eagle in flight as the sunlight glinted off it’s wings?” and we will always have that moment and a million others that comprise not only our shared experience of the world but our shared happiness as well.

I’m not a big technology person, mostly because I can’t be bothered to learn it. However, this summer, we were fortunate to have an incredible trail angel who resupplied us at various points along our 400 mile trek through Montana and Idaho. Parts of it were quite remote and when he suggested we use a Spot, we didn’t think twice about it. It made his life easier, and for us it was just a tool--the result was that our trail angel was always two steps ahead of us and always showed up on time. He was so efficient, that we never had to get off the trail and for a section hiker with limited time, this was a real gift. The Spot didn’t stop us from seeing wild animals, wild places or even gettting lost--it was just a useful tool.

My two cents!

PCT 2008/CDT ongoing

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