Solo Hike Up Ampersand Mountain

A teeny-tiny post about soloing.

I woke up without an alarm and with butterflies in my stomach. I had a mountain to hike and two convicted killers on the loose within a thirty mile radius of me. Dense, unnavigable Adirondack forest couldn’t soothe my nerves. No, it was the trailhead jammed with cars that put my mind at ease and allowed me to take my first step on Ampersand’s trail.

 

As I moved through its thick, old growth forest my brain picked a new worry to mull over: BUGS. In order to achieve a little nature time before meeting friends for a girls’ spa weekend in Saratoga Springs, I was hiking through the tail-end of black fly season and prime mosquito season.

 

Herein lies my challenge: calming my overactive imagination while out on a solo trek, no matter day trip or longer.

 

Up for discussion: All you solo trippers out there, what are your tricks for quieting a loud mind?

4 Responses to “Solo Hike Up Ampersand Mountain

  • I would love to do more solo hiking, but I always feel like that’s taking a bigger risk than I ought — especially if the trail I want to hike isn’t popular or well-traveled. From running into someone with bad intentions to a meeting with an animal to doing something stupid of my accord that puts me in danger … I’m not much of a worrier normally, but the idea of going solo makes me one.

    • Hi Laura, thanks for this. It’s probably a matter of easing in first with something more popular or well-traveled, something we can wrap our heads around. There’s also packing and planning appropriately (i.e. bear spray if appropriate for the area, and leaving plans with someone trusted) to consider.

  • For me these thoughts can be related to background anxiety. Anxiety can have a useful function of readying one’s body with a fight, flight or freeze mode to deal with potential upcoming hazards. However, this heightened state depletes energy resources in a short time which is not ideal for pacing oneself for self-propelled travel over a long distance.

    One approach that often works well for me is to list and evaluate the hazards that have triggered the anxiety. For actual, probable hazards I work accepting these hazards and whatever their outcome might be with a peaceful mind. I also work out a game plan in case I face them. The remaining hazards on the list are usually a false alarm and I work at letting these go. Periodic meditative breaks helps this process.

    I acknowledge my approach may seem of little comfort in your specific situation in this post. In addition to what I described above, I would definitely be keeping my bear spray handy! And probably resolve to take some self-defense courses (which I keep planning to do but never get around to).

    Here is a link with more info on this topic that I found helpful:

    http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/06/downsize-your-worry-list-prioritize-your-anxiety/

    • Thank you, Dan. I appreciate the thoughtful approach to this. Take a DEEP breath, right?