Day 80: Hiking Solo

Publish date: Jul 12, 2019

In my excitement to reach DC, and with Brad’s recurring, undiagnosed exhaustion, I decided to just push ahead of the others for the next few days. I’m aiming to reach harpers ferry by Sunday, where I’ll catch the noon train to DC.

There are pros and cons to hiking alone. The anxieties about catching up to others goes away, and I get to set my own destinations without debate. But the anxieties about getting to camp before sundown are amplified. I found myself switching to an earlier schedule than usual. Being alone, I didn’t think I would go to Front Royal, a reportedly charming trail town. Hitching and dining alone don’t appeal to me. I ended up meeting one hiker who I hadn’t seen since day 2, and we decided to go town together. We ended up meeting up with some other hikers in town and had a really great time. Turns out I didn’t have anything to worry about.

Last night, however, I got to a shelter in the late evening and was surprised to find myself alone. It was eerie. I called my sister, hoping she would make me feel better. Eventually, a hiker I had met earlier in the day showed up and I exuded gratitude for his presence. “Yeah, I mean, I was thinking about pressing on tonight…” he said awkwardly (he’s a high mile guy). I felt so lame and ashamed, “oh no, ignore me, hike on!” He stayed. Except for that moment of awkwardness, hiking alone has overall been surprisingly pleasant. Would try again.