I haven’t hiked alone in a very long time. I had forgotten how it felt.
We had a “weather event” last night that left a fresh coat of snow on the trees and ground. This, of course, made this trip into the forest quite magical!
I pulled in to the trail head parking lot at 8:30 am…not a soul around. Threw my microspikes, extra layer, and lunch into my backpack and entered a snowy wonderland.
Stream crossing first thing. I stopped and stood beside the creek after crossing. It had started to snow again. It was so quiet… the gurgling water, a few birds chattering in the brambles…the wind as it came over the ridge…but nothing else.
I closed my eyes and tilted my head up to the steel gray sky. Snowflakes landed on my cheeks and I thought how perfect this moment.
I whispered, to the woods … to myself, “It’s been too long.”
I walked through the falling snow, up the hill, towards the lake at Greenbrier State Park. Looking back at my foot prints, I wondered if they would be covered when I headed back.
I did not see anyone on the trail until I got to the lake.
Even then, only two guys fishing on the banks. We exchanged cheerful greetings, then silence enveloped the mountain once more. 🙂
The best thing about winter is that you have the woods to yourself. I started my thru hike on October 24. After Thanksgiving I didn’t see another hiker until spring break some 3 1/2 months later. The solitude was precious.
I enjoyed it immensely! 3 1/2 months could result in some pretty interesting conversations with myself! 😀
They weren’t that interesting. In fact I realized how much I needed other people. That was a revelation to stoic me.
3 1/2 months IS a long time!
Yes indeed. The first night I found a shelter with someone there I was offended that someone would want to share my space! I quickly got over it. 😀