I think it is very, VERY sweet that so many people have said that I'm "brave." But to me, it's not brevity - it's ambition.

First of all, let me say this: travelling isn't for everybody. I've met people who have never left the state that they grew up in, or hell...even the CITY that they grew up in. And that's FINE. "To each his own." Do what works for you.

Hiking is my "zen." I love it. I'm an introvert at heart, so this is the perfect vacation for somebody like me. Pat and our son are not hikers, and I'm not about to drag them to do something that they don't want to do - don't kill my buzz. So, I went hiking by myself.

I've done it before - took a couple of days and hiked on Mount Rainier in Washington (we used to live there, so I was visiting friends). But this was my first specific trip to hike alone. It's not advised, but it's doable. And if you do it right, it's not as dangerous as you think.

I had my hikes planned out ahead of time. The internet is your friend - read weather conditions, gear suggestions, trail reviews, etc. I had winter gear, summer gear, a rain jacket, two different kinds of hiking boots, a compass and pepper spray with me. Didn't even need to use the latter two - if you stick to the trail, you'll be fine.

Disclaimer: yes, I did hurt myself. On the top of Deer Mountain (see the third to last pic in the gallery). I haven't sprained my ankle in over a decade, and yep - did it at 10,000 feet above sea level, just by stepping over a rock.

This COULD have been a dangerous injury, had it been more serious. But there were TONS of people on the trail, and I had also checked in with the park ranger (a must if you're hiking alone), so if I needed help, I could've gotten it. I made it down by myself, wrapped 'er up and did two easy hikes the next day. Rest would've been ideal, but I could walk on it just fine and didn't want to waste the trip.

It was some much needed time to myself. I was able to do something that I love, alone, and find my happy place. Plus, it's a relatively inexpensive vacation - between Cliff bars, water, coffee, mufins and a pizza that lasted two days, that was all I spent on food. Bought a 7-day park pass for $30, and the hiking and sightseeing was FREE.

Again, this isn't for everybody. I do recommend that you get out on your own and do things that YOU love, though. Having somebody come with you that's not interested is just a buzz killer. Get out there and do YOU. Just be smart about it!





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