Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Out into the Wild Blue Yonder

Last year, I started hiking. I had gone before that, but I started really enjoying it last spring. Ian had just turned three and was potty learned. I thought this would be something we would enjoy together, as mother and son. So we started small, with a trail I know VERY well and have trekked many times. It has a beautiful waterfall and is easily hiked. He loved it and I loved sharing the moments with him.
Fast forward to now. I still love hiking and backpacking, and have made several hikes already this year. Ian has gone with me a few times and the days he comes, I make sure to pick trails with a lot of wildlife and foliage for him to see. But since it's getting warmer, he is now content to just pick a spot on the river and play until it's time to head home. Normally, I am fine just watching him enjoy the water and skipping rocks on the bank. But lately, I find myself wanting to venture out on my own, and go on a solo overnighter and just "be". Unfortunately, my husband is against the whole "being alone in nature with bears and other people to attack me" idea. Really, the idea of going alone doesn't scare me (of course, I haven't ever done it, so I might have a different opinion afterward), it really excites me. I have always been independent and have traveled (often without the company of my parents/family) from a pretty young age. At 14, I went to Brazil on a mission trip with our church. At 17, I was in Washington, D.C. with a group of students who roamed the Hill for a week of mock Congress and meetings with our country's representatives. And at 18, I spent my last high school spring break with a friend driving from East Tennessee to Virginia and then to Atlanta. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the experiences my travels have afforded me.  I have always prided myself in being very vigilant and have always felt confident in my ability to take care of myself in many situations. I understand the there are scenarios you just can not plan for, but the likelihood of many of these situations is remote.
My wonderful husband does not share my love of the great outdoors, or travel in general. He is very much a homebody. And although he doesn't enjoy hiking, he has gone with me on several occasions when I have begged and pleaded. But he draws the line at overnighters. And so, it's in times like these that I really do wish I was a man. If I were a guy, the idea of me going into the woods, alone, for a week, would not raise any eyebrows. But because I am "the weaker sex" (That's a post all on its own!), I can't go and do something I really genuinely enjoy unless someone accompanies me. It really does anger me! In the 21st century, I am still looked at as weak and vulnerable.
Okay, that may have been a bit harsh. I know he really does just worry about me being safe, because he loves me. But this is something that I really want to do. And I know if I really pushed the issue, Derek would just keep his mouth shut and let me go off on my own, but I would never have his blessing to do it. And, I think more than anything, that's what I want. I want him to think I am a capable enough woman that I could handle myself out there all by myself and come home to him safe and sound.
At the very top of my bucket list, you will see "hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail" (not necessarily all at once, but at some point in my life, I want to have hiked the whole thing). But I don't know if I'll ever get that one...
Any other gal solo hikers/backpackers out there? If you have a significant other, how did you get them to be okay with you wanting to go it alone?


  1. Just say..."honey...watch the kids...I'm going to go on a solo backpacking trip". I highly recommend it...I've done it and it does wonders...

    Of course, you have to be smart...pack right gear, leave a map at home with hubby with marked intended trails in case of emergency, and also keep in mind that you don't have to go far or completely isolated to get a good experience...start small...and work your way up. Start at a designated camp ground, then work your way up to a very remote location, with time...also..reach out to your local hiking outfitter....they will be a tremendous help in helping you select a site that fits your needs. DO IT GIRL! Stoked you're hiking <3<3

    1. I knew if anyone had advice for me on this topic, it would be you! :) Hubby and I had a serious talk about this today and he insists that I'm a grown woman so I can do as I please, but I know he REALLY doesn't want me to go it alone. So as a compromise, I'm planning a 3-5 day trip with my girl's group at church. That way, I still get to do my overnighter, but won't be alone. I will carve out some time for myself on the trail, but this way it's kind of a win/win. He's happy I'm not alone, but I am still pretty independent. Maybe after he sees how well I do on a few overnighters, it will ease his fears.