A few days later, after kind of a rough emotional weekend, I drop the kids at school and set out by myself on one of my favorite local hiking spots. Instead of listening to the boom-chaca-boom of the gym's overhead music, I'm listening to nature. It's positively cathartic. Relaxing. Calming. Head clearing. Energizing. Sweaty. Beautiful. Therapeutic. Fun. Inspiring.
|Javier the friendly & philosophical lizard|
But, I don't quite bring myself to do it quite yet. With all of the wildlife, nature, Javier, and occasional fellow hiker, not once do I feel alone or lonely.
When I mention my solo hikes to well-meaning friends, they caution "be careful!". I will admit, the thought of danger does occur to me (bad people lurking in the brush, mountain lions, dogs not on a leash), but I feel pretty confident holding onto my I'm-a-bad ass-don't-even-think-about-messing-with-me stick that I carry every time (and stash behind the same rock near the entrance). Maybe that's just part of the attraction - exercise, nature, and a little bit of a thrill?
Last week, I finally feel like I'm ready to invite some friends to join me. It seems like perfect timing because a bunch of us moms from school are all doing this sort of healthy/lose weight/exercise/take better care of ourselves support group thing to keep us all motivated right before swimsuit season. So, I put it out there to the group that they are welcome to hike with me. I tell myself that I am still going hiking no matter what, even if no one else goes.
Well, wouldn't you know it, seven ladies show up that day! Oh, and two dogs! And, it is nice. Really nice. The time seems to fly as we talk talk talk up, down, and all around the trail. Like me, they appreciate the abundant wildflowers, gorgeous weather, sometimes challenging climbs, and the company. I did a good thing.
Instead of pining for my solo or ladies hiking days, I will try to focus only on the good stuff, because after all, I can have a blast hiking with my kids. With my family in tow (and maybe some occasional invited friends), we tend to be more adventurous with our hiking spots (like trying places that other people suggest or that take more than ten minutes to get to), make a whole fun day of it, find new discoveries together, bond as a family (or with our friends), and have lots of opportunities for learning.
I won't kid myself, though - my solo hikes do something for my soul like nothing else does. But, at least I know that. It's like a big gift in my little sanity pocket that's all mine. Mine! So, with that in mind, I look forward to what adventures await us this summer and I can't wait to share.