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Don’t Be So Shy

I like to hike in seclusion. I posted a couple of weeks ago that I reconnected with an old friend and we have started hiking together. It’s been a great way to hang out in the peace and quiet while getting to know him again.

My buddy was under the weather today and stuck in bed. Okay, no biggie. I’ll strike out on my own this morning. Like I’ve mentioned before, I love being alone in the wilderness.

I chose a group of trails that led to a scenic pond. This journey features a slight elevation gain to help me burn a few calories. Heaven knows I need it! The footing can be rocky but otherwise pretty decent. I know ahead of time that there will be other people on this route, but not too many. Besides, there is enough of an entanglement of trails for folks to choose from.

I encounter no one on my way up, which is fine by me. I can clear my mind and process the stressful work week I just endured. As I reach the pond, I hear a ringing coming up from behind me. It turns out to be a guy on a bike, with some sort of bell hanging from one of the handlebars.

We exchange pleasantries, both of us more than satisfied with the beauty that is the weather. The two of us sat on adjacent rocks and quietly took in our surroundings. We didn’t touch on any deep subjects nor did we come up with any solutions to any of the world’s problems. In fact, I think it was during the times of dead silence that we both appreciated the most.

We both went on our way. I took one trail, he another. I realized that it was okay to hike in seclusion but also okay to share pieces of the day with someone, even a total stranger. I encountered an older couple walking a dog on my way down. I stopped and pet the dog while speaking to his owners. It was a short, pleasant conversation. I smiled all the way back to the car.