Doing a solo activity is always a tough task, Andrew Agassi said in his biography, Open; that tennis is one of the loneliest sports in the world. From the moment you step into the court you are disconnected from the world & from there on, it is you & your decisions throughout the match. Apparently, which is true. Making decisions in real time can be tough & hard & probably that is the reason which makes great players. A great player can control his or her emotions & can stay on the top of their game compared to their peers.
Yet, unlike tennis where there are hundreds of spectators watching your every move, cheering you & motivating you. Hiking is a solo & lonely affair. For the starters, there are no spectators & one step can terribly dampen your spirits. While every other solo sport takes this thrill of death from the moment due to the availability of medics, crowd & other help (that does make it a little less risky than hiking). Hiking check all these points that make it thrilling & dangerous at the same time. So, here are my experiences while hiking solo at some of the places lesser-known to me, a place where I went for the first time.
I am not an active hiker, but I have hiked a bit. From hiking solo in Mount Huashan to Lion’s head I have completed a few of the hikes that too solo. Every time I start with a hike, there is a sense of excitement, thrill & fear of mishappening. Hiking is very uncertain, many external factors complemented with the thoughts dictate your experience of a hike. With each passing minute, many thoughts will cross your mind from past to future, to holidays, to love, to the sport, to random events & whatnot. It is hard to control the mind amidst when there is silence on the outside. Hiking requires an alert, doing anything for the first time releases the dopamine in mind that is the reason for your happiness & one of the main reasons to hike. Although it seems to be simple, however uncertain external conditions make it challenging, something you were not aware of, sudden rain, a fear of the wrong step, slipping at the wrong place, walking the wrong path, etc. There are so many things that can ruin the moment which can’t be determined beforehand. Some things have to be kept for the chance & as some wise man has said,” while driving on the highway at night, you only have to see 3 mts ahead of you & rest will follow”. On the same line, you have to take few steps at a time & then think forward.
While hiking, you have to take care of yourself which goes without saying. Hiking a random place with no prior experience will only make it tough & it becomes the priority to take care of your self. While hiking, a lot depends on your intuition, the intuition playas an important role while hiking solo. I trust my intuition more than often than not. After preparing for the hike, the only thing left is to make that hike & stories of your hike.
The starting point is always exciting, the views & there is something rememberable that supersedes all other expressions. With each passing step, the view becomes more memorable, unique & slowly the happiness of hiking a new place starts to sinks into the mind. But, before reaching the top, many other landmarks need to be crossed, some in the path & some in the mind. The funny thing about hiking solo is infinite thoughts, that come in the mind with each passing view. Each view will trigger some story in your mind. The story can be relevant or irrelevant it doesn’t matter because it is nonessential in the context of the things.
Most of the hikes have easy parts & tough parts. Let’s begin with easy parts, the easy parts are simple & can be completed easily by anyone. The normal walk is hardly a concern for anyone, just put on the headphone & walk while enjoying the pleasant surroundings. Each view will take you to some memory lane. The beautiful sceneries, fresh air, sound of leaves rattling, etc all will amaze you to the core. You will be astonished by nature & would often criticize yourself for not enjoying these precious little moments. The deeper you are in nature the more clear your thoughts get & sometimes all the glitters of the world seem to be vague & irrelevant when in such an environment. The happiness of enjoying life as pure & raw which is hard to fathom. The reason for enjoying nature is you don’t calculate the time you passed in nature or how much is left, you are in that present moment which is the only thing that matters. There comes a point when your thoughts leave you for the good & then there is nothing left other than your surroundings. This stage is what we are craving for but with so many noises in our mind, we are always miles behind that point. People have tried many ways to reach this point some use meditation, some use sports, some use adventure & some use passion. If one reached that position where they can enjoy the present moment, respect them. They are part of a rare breed.
The tough part is pretty amazing, adventurous & full of surprises. Every step you take determines the rest of your journey. The tough part usually comprises of slippery slopes, dreadful stairs, or something not experienced before all those thrills that give a sense of achievement after completing it. It is not always about the external factors like the path you walk, but sometimes its small battles in your mind. The tough path does test you alot, whether stepping up or stepping down you have to be sure about your next step if you are not then things can take an ugly turn. This is the beauty of the tough phase, there is always uncertainty about the next step, but everyone is certain that they have to make one. So if some unfortunate incident happens with you, suddenly every nerve in your body will worry about that problem & will forget surroundings in a fraction of seconds. The same surroundings which looked beautiful as heaven becomes bleak & the focus shifts from surroundings to that incident. We keep on thinking about it till we are comfortable with the fact that something has happened with us & completely ignore nature. In other words, we think more about the internal factors than the outer once & internal factors can change about how we look outer things.
So, a hike is like a summary of life unpredictable, unreliable & seems to be in control but not really is. A hike perfectly depicts, how things are during the various stages of life & how it affects your perspective.