November 16, 2015

On Hiking with my dog, and that Feeling of Solitude


Hiking vista
The view from a remote peak.

I’ve made it my goal to go on one day-long hike each weekend this winter. It’s my secondary goal to find some of the most remote trails in Washington and spend a day without seeing another human soul. This weekend I achieved that goal.

I happen to share my home with a very neurotic, very loving doberman pinscher. She is afraid of moving vehicles and so she cannot take walks like most dogs can. She has a frenetic energy that needs an outlet or she is restless. Always shifting. I can relate to that.

Bijoux bunny
Bijoux in a moment of pure joy

And so we hike. Out in the wild, I can cut her loose to run as fast and hard as she wants to. I feel my heart take flight as she takes flight. Pure joy. There is something so beautiful about experiencing someone else’s pure joy.

We’ve seen a lot of snow during our November hikes. Snow stifles sound. You can walk along in it and hear nothing but your the squeak and crunch of powder beneath your boots. And your breath–in, out, in, out–in your lungs. And my dog and I walk among old growth trees, trees that have been on this earth for far longer than we have. It is a dually empowering and minimizing experience. Our lives are part of an inescapably huge universe. But our lives are everything to us.

We live in a world where everything is pressure. Everything is fast. Everyone wants more. But taking the time to slow down helps me gain perspective on the daily experience. I am here for a reason. And that reason is to be part of something bigger than myself. I sense that most profoundly when I am most alone.

Take that time for yourself.