Life lessons Out and About

Steps for a Solo Hike

Solo Hike

I walk a lot in my local area. It wasn’t just a Covid-inspired thing. When I moved back to Sydney in December 2019, I moved to an area not too far from the city and easily accessible by public transport. For work, I’d walk to the station, catch the train for 15 minutes and then walk another 20 to the office. I enjoyed it. I loved being out and about and using my feet more than my car. Then of course, during the lockdowns a year ago, I had to ensure I walked after working from home to break up my day. Or to walk with friends on the weekend. Either way, they were all a reason for me to explore the new area and I continue to walk even after things re-opened and we got some semblance of normality.

Recently though, I realised I had been walking the city streets or the harbour walks or even driving to the beach {it’s a bit of a longer walk there and back!} and then walking there, but I hadn’t gone for a bushwalk on my own. Bushwalking was always something I did with others except during my solo road trip back in 2014 when I attempted a couple of short hikes alone. Having been on a bushwalk recently with a mate, I remembered that I enjoyed exploring new areas and while catching up with them was good, I also enjoyed stopping and taking things in on my own terms.

Step one for my plans to hike solo involved looking up the AllTrails app. The free version allowed me to find a number of trails close to home that I hadn’t explored before. I decided I preferred to do something that could be done in two to three hours and that had water views. Because I am a sucker for water views.

Step two was all about the weather. I wanted it to be on the cooler side so I wouldn’t mind walking over hanging out at the beach. The weekend gone by was cold in the morning which meant there was no way I’d be sunbaking at the beach.

Step three was ensuring I had enough water, a jacket, and that it wasn’t too long a drive to the starting point of the hike. Turns out, the one I chose was only a 10-minute drive.

The next step was just doing it. I woke up without my alarm on Sunday, sipped a couple of coffees and had a slow start to the day. By about 7:30, I decided it was still cold enough to attempt the bushwalk without any danger of rain. With a jacket, a bottle of water, a book {just in case}, my little bag was ‘packed.’ This wasn’t meant to be a hike deep in the bush with no phone reception so I wasn’t too worried about carrying my entire pack.

Step five was driving to the starting point and commencing the walk. As I started it, I messaged a friend to let them know my plans after realising no one knew where I was. And then, I let go. I walked slowly to start with because I was taking in everything. The little mushrooms growing from the trees. The wonders of the Australian bush. The dew droplets on the leaves. The sounds of the wind. Kookaburras laughing. Cockatoos screeching. Lyrebirds whistling. My boots scrunching or squelching, depending on the terrain. I did look at my phone for directions occasionally and also, to take photos. The lookout was incredible. Still waters. Grey clouds. There was a man and his son in a fishing boat.

During my walk in, I encountered maybe four or five people, several with dogs. On the way back {I turned around on the 5.5 km mark even though it was a 14 km return hike}, I encountered more people – it was getting busier. And I was glad to have started the hike early. 10.5 km later, I was back at my car. Sweaty. Swollen feet and hands. Fulfilled.

I wasn’t always mindful during every minute of the hike. I thought about writing projects and things to work on. I thought about my upcoming holidays. I thought about some books I’d read recently. But I didn’t think of them in an anxious manner. It was more about getting clarity. I wonder if I do this more often, will I get more clarity? Become more mindful? Feel less stressed?

Bushwalking is not a magic pill. Just like the beach isn’t one. But I know being around water in particular, and nature in general, is good for my mental health. Studies show us that too. Given I am fortunate enough to live in a country and a city that has an abundance of both, it’s a reminder to not make excuses and keep getting out and about. To surrender myself to the beauty around me. To just be.

Joining Leanne and other bloggers for the Lovin’ Life Linky

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  • Ju-Lyn
    21 April 2021 at 5:26 pm

    Restorative time in nature! Thank you for sharing your walking experiences. It does take some planning to head into the bush – are there ranger stations or visitor centers where you hike?

  • Laurie
    22 April 2021 at 9:57 am

    The place you hiked was beautiful! I find that trail running is a wonderful way to clear my mind. I sometimes solve all my problems as I run or hike, sometimes just space out. Either way, I finish refreshed and relaxed. It was a good idea for you to tell someone where you were going since you were alone.
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  • Vanessa
    22 April 2021 at 12:11 pm

    I like it when the ideas and absorption of “things” is flowing through my head in that way. It’s when I get clarity.

  • Joanne+Tracey
    22 April 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Beautiful. It’s been too long since I walked off-road and in proper nature – I tend to avoid it during the summer months for obvious slithery reasons – and never go solo. You might just have inspired me to download alltrails and see what’s around.

  • Lydia C. Lee
    23 April 2021 at 6:58 am

    I’m not a fan of bush walking but I have just signed up to do the Glow Worm Half Marathon to walk it and take photos (really just so I’m not out there by myself with the snakes and serial killers). So I’ll be out there by myself but there’s a safety net of the organisers tracking me…HA! Good for you for working out what works for you!