“If you’re always worried about the unknown, you would never experience the greatness out there.” —Erin ‘Wired’ Saver (8000+ miles hiked solo)
While vacationing in Seattle, I had the day to myself, so I decided to plan an adventure and conquer one of the most popular hikes in Washington–the Mt Si trailhead. I’ve never hiked solo before, and don’t hike very often, so I was bit nervous and not sure what to expect. The Mt Si trailhead is located in North Bend, Washington, about 30 minutes outside Seattle. The climb is 4,167 feet (1,270 meters) and 4 miles from the parking lot to the summit plateau. Despite being in foreign territory and a bit nervous about the difficulty of the trail, the journey was well worth it! My solo adventure put a few things in perspective and brought my fitness to a whole new level:
Time for Yourself
The total duration of the hike was about 6 hours, which went relatively uninterrupted–no texts, phone calls, social interactions (minus the courteous “hello” to those passing by and a few pictures at the top). I had ample time to clear my head, take in the gorgeous scenery, and just appreciate life. I did bring headphones, but wasn’t even tempted to use them; the meditative silence was much-needed and allowed me to truly appreciate God’s creation. After hiking just 8 miles, I felt significantly less stressed and much more in tune with myself.
You’ll Feel like a Champion
The Mt Si trail is a tough hike! The 4 mile ascent is almost entirely uphill and takes at least a couple of hours. Most of the trail was well paved, but a few spots were rocky and the top involved some steep climbing. I plowed through most twists and turns, taking minimal breaks, and definitely broke a sweat; in fact, most people were pretty drenched by the time they reached the top. The struggle was rewarded with a breath-taking 360-degree panorama that stretched for dozens of miles. I had a clear view of the Olympic mountains, downtown Seattle, Rattle Snake, and Mt Rainier. When I finally reached the highest peak of the summit and paused to take everything in, I felt capable, confident, and independent!
It’s the Ultimate Workout
Not only did my solo hike allow me to commune with nature, but it provided a killer workout! When I reached the final descent, my glutes, quads, hamstrings, and muscles in my lower legs were on FIRE. I felt sore the entire evening and improved upon my respiratory/muscular fitness; I loved switching it up from my normal routine and taking on a new challenge. Check out this post by Health Fitness Revolution to learn more about the health benefits of hiking.
If the opportunity presents itself, I would definitely hike solo again. Most importantly, I learned that stepping outside my comfort zone is the true test of inner strength and endurance. By completing the journey, I was able to grow mentally, physically, and spiritually. Sometimes you just have to do what’s scary–it can be the most rewarding experience!
Have you ever hiked solo? What did you take away from the experience? Please share/ comment below!