I don’t like hiking in groups. I like hiking alone or, at most, with a good friend.
I walk slowly, and the thought of people waiting for me makes me feel uncomfortable. Still, the main reason I like solo hiking is because to me it’s a wonderful intimate experience, a way to rediscover harmony and peace of mind.
Hiking alone is one of the most intense intimate experiences
Although I often plan to reach a certain place, this is not what really matters and I don’t care if I don’t get there, if I stop before or if I end somewhere else. Hiking is not a competition, at least for me.
I like hiking alone because I can enjoy the beauty of silence and the sounds of nature. I like listening to the rhythm of my breath, looking at the small details or loosing myself in the look of a magnificent scenery, trying to engrave it in my memory, for ever. When I hike I want to feel fully immersed in the nature surrounding me, I like to remember how small I am. It helps me putting things again in the right perspective. I don’t feel the need of talking and even less of listening to other people chatting. It’s not the place for words, unless they are spoken by nature.
I’m not concerned about safety as I do easy hikes, usually in well organised places like in the Dolomites or in Switzerland, where one can find mountains huts regularly along the trail for food, water, a rest or an emergency.
When I go for a solo hike, I feel as if I was making a journey inside myself. And it heals my soul.
To me, hiking is much more than an outdoor activity. It’s a philosophy and a medicine. For the body and, most of all, for the soul. When I go hiking alone, whether in the mountains, in a lush forest or a coastal track, I feel as if I was making a journey inside myself. In that moments, my senses are so acute, the feelings I experience so deep, that it would be impossible to share them. They are part of my deepest self, something about myself that I forget too often until I know that I have to go back to my more intimate roots.
I understand that most of the people have different views, and that’s why I usually avoid group walks and prefer hiking alone. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel stronger. And sometimes it makes me even feel a better person.
Do you ever hike alone? What does hiking mean to you?
More reading: 5 Tips to Hike Alone Safely
17 thoughts on “Hiking Alone, A Wonderful Intimate Experience”
The way you express your traveling experiences is wonderful!!
I enjoy hiking with very good companions of small group (usually two or three), but I see the value of hiking alone. When I went hiking alone, I could take my time and set up my own goals. It’s not always the case if I go with someone.
Great post Simon. I totally agree, it’s so much better to walk by your own or with a close friend than in a huge group.
So… We could go together (but not together) for a hike, Anita! 🙂
Yes, yes, yes,. I love going at my own pace, enjoying the silence, taking my photos (!) Excited about being back in Europe where the refuge system and general populousness makes solo hiking safe!
Europe is definitely more ‘hiker’s friendly’, with a well organized system of mountain huts which is perfect for solo hikers. And who knows, Natasha? Maybe one day we’ll have the chance to have a nice hike ‘together, but not together’ 🙂
I’m so glad you posted this, since I started taking photos I’ve liked less and less to hike with others, and I worried that I was being selfish. I’ve always been a bit nervous about doing it alone, and just recently decided, heck just do it. Yesterday I did a short one to get a feel and it was simply wonderful! Definitely on my agenda for the rest of this winter/spring.
It’s great that you started hiking alone, Linda, and even greater that you’re enjoying it! And you will soon become more confident, I’m sure. What really matters is doing it for your enjoyment, without taking unnecessary risk. Knowing your limits, and doing the best with them.
There certainly is something special about hiking alone. It is such a great time to think. It always astounds me when people go out hiking with their earbuds in. I love listening to the trees…the birds. It’s so peaceful. I do like hiking with friends as well. Brings back some great memories! I love having the best of both. Guess that is the beauty of the woods….you can do that!
I confess, Anita, that I sometimes also hike with my iPod, listening to music. It doesn’t happen often but usually when I am surrounded by annoying noises (like groups talking loud, or the noise of motors boats on coastal tracks) or when I feel tired and need ‘a little punch’ to go on 🙂
Hiking alone like meditation. That’s a nice concept, Gaelyn. I was never able to meditate – in the classic way – but I guess that’s what I do when I hike alone.
I did a fantastic solo hike today up above Lake Louise. For much of the time there wasn’t another human being. I felt calmer than I have in ages – just getting out alone in nature with my thoughts. I highly recommend it but you should have a clue what you’re doing.
It’s so good to see that you share similar feelings, Leigh. And I agree with you: when hiking alone it’s important to be prepared and stay on the safe side. There’s no reason to push limits and taking risks. After all, the enjoyment is in the hike itself.
I do feel somewhat the same, although I hiked on the Tour de Mont Blanc with a firend, we walked at different speeds, so I had plenty of time for reflection and taking photos, while every so often we would catch up with each other and have a chat.
I guess this is the best way to hike with a friend, independently from each other, everyone walking at own’s pace. I only hiked a small part of the Tour du Mont Blanc, and it’s high on my list. I’ll have to find a friend to do it as you did.
I love to hike alone. It’s rather like meditation.