Hiking Alone

I’m not sure which of these rings the truest for me: I’m not crazy about hiking alone, or I prefer to hike with other people.  I know they both say basically the same thing, but for some reason there seems to be a subtle difference. 

It’s tax season.  

Wow, Tim, you sure did take a left turn there, now didn’t you?

Well, it’s tax season, which means my favorite hiking partner–my wife, Lisa–is working.  She’s working a lot.  She, you see, is a tax preparer.  And if she’s working, she’s not hiking.  Which means I’m hiking alone.

See, that makes sense.  Hiking and taxes?  They’re related; at least, they’re related for me.

That’s why, just the other day, I found myself alone on the trail.  

(Looking back to my first sentence, I suppose I prefer to hike with other people.  I don’t have a problem hiking alone; I’m comfortable in the woods, and I’m a phone call away from help if I need it.)

The weather was unseasonably warm for the last day of February, and we’d had quite a bit of rain the day before.  The trail was muddy, but not too muddy, and it was gloriously empty as I started out.  I did an out-and-back hike, and while there were other hikers I passed on the way back, I seemed to have the entire mountain to myself on the way out.  

There’s something about having the trail to oneself, especially if it’s a solo hike. On that day, the quiet was glorious, and more than once I surprised a chipmunk or squirrel as I came around a tree or rock.  I even found myself surprisingly close to a doe who shot off away from the trail as I approached.

There’s still plenty of tax season left, and I imagine that won’t be my last solo hike for a while.  I’m eager, though, to get back out on the trail with my wife, even if it’s only a short hike before she’s off to work.  Am I the only one looking forward to April 15th?

23 thoughts on “Hiking Alone”

  1. I guessed from your title that your dislike for taxes had to do with losing the availability of your hiking partner, but I loved the way you entwined the two and wove them together throughout the piece. I also liked the details, as I could picture the hike, mud and all. And yes, I’m looking forward to April 15 for a number of reasons. Wishing time away more than usual…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Melanie. Tax season is just a thing with my family, and I’m slowly getting used to it. Here’s to the next 6 weeks being good for every one!

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  2. This was a fun journey through the trees and your feelings. I hope your wife reads your blog because your affection is so sincerely present in your writing. Your last day of February just sounds magical! In fact, I think I kind of love any phrase that starts with “the last day of…”

    I enjoyed your writing! Keep enjoying your hikes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tim. “The last day of…” You know, that does have a cool quality to it.

      I usually read my posts aloud to her–we both enjoy that time (at least, she says she does!).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is interesting how so many jobs have “busy seasons”- maybe it is okay that your busy season does not align with your wife’s- then you each get to appreciate each other all the more when you do have more time. I loved reading about your solo adventures as you surprised animals- one advantage of hiking solo is more quiet to notice more maybe.

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    1. Erika, I think you’re right about the busy seasons not aligning. We both have the summer, so that’s good. The quiet aspect of hiking alone really is cool. I tend to talk to myself, but not loudly! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your writing today draws back so many wonderful connections to the writing of Tom Ryan, who wrote Following Atticus and Will’s Red Coat. He has a blog as he travels solo with his dogs across the country right now. I believe he is currently in Utah. I love his blog and the solo hiking adventures that run deep in the blood of true nature enthusiasts. You inspire me to want to get outdoors today.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tim, I love the time you’re able to share with Lisa and then share it here in your posts. For whatever reason, I’ve always been pretty resistant to the idea of hiking, but your descriptions make me want to venture out – literally. Do you live very close to your hiking spot?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Britt, I didn’t mean to hit send–sorry about that. Yes, I do live close to quite a few places to hike, so that’s nice. I hope you’re able to find a place!

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  6. This reminded me of a hike I took alone as I was waiting for a school group to arrive to do a spring clean-up session on one of our beautiful bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. I got there early to set up and found I had plenty of time to hike to the lookout at the end of the trail before starting our session. It is something I never would have done by myself, but since I was already there, I took advantage of it. Being a woman, I am always a little scared of being on a trail alone. Glad you enjoy it and hope the time passes quickly so Lisa can join you again soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carol, as best as I’m able to, I understand about the concerns of hiking alone. I’m so thankful for the phone technology that allows me to stay in contact (I’m probably never going to be a “turn the phone off” kind of hiker). The bluffs over the Mississippi sound wonderful; I would love to get to the north part of the river some day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Safety is a an unfortunate concern for everyone, Tim. I’m glad you have your phone on hand during your solo hikes. Yes, the bluffs here are beautiful. I can never quite capture their beauty in a photograph.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I love solitude and it is really peaceful when you can be in solitude in nature. However, I can say I also prefer to have my partner with me when I do nature walks. I can’t believe it is March already, so it’s hard to imagine it, but I bet April 15th will be here before you know it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am so fascinated by your writing style Tim — you really have mastered your voice since I could read this and hear you clearly. I had a few chuckles and I never would have made this connection or probably thought to hard about the fact that distinction between hiking alone vs hiking with others.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Good stuff! I like the way you took a sharp turn and connected us back in. Writing is solitary. And like you, I don’t mind writing by myself. But writing with a writing community is something else. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ah, tax season. Just as school / teacher families orbit around the rising and falling action of a school year, so do accountant families revolve around Tax Day. Here’s hoping that the two of you will soon be able to take your solitude together.

    Liked by 1 person

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