Which is better? Hiking alone or hiking with company? To answer this, we should pinpoint the context. Hiking alone would be better if you want to get closer to nature because nature IS your only company, but hiking with company would be better if you’ve already had a lot of alone time with nature lately and need someone to talk to.
This is why instead of saying one is better than the other, I want to stress when you should hike alone and when you should hike with company so you can decide.
Hiking is taking your butt off into the woods or a mountainside and going off through the trails with nothing but what you can carry on your back. Some people go for week-long hiking excursions, beating through the bush with a machete. Other times people go hiking for twenty minutes just so their dog can poop. For ease of discussion, I will generalize “hiking” by stating that we’re talking about your typical one to two hour long hike through your local park–nothing extreme.
So when is a good time to hike alone? Let me answer this with a list, because there are many occasions when hiking alone is beneficial.
- Something disastrous happened in your life and you need time to think it over to realize where your mistake may have been.
- You just bought a new camera and you want to take it out for a test run without people telling you, “Hey, take a picture of this and that!”
- You recently started delving or re-delving into spirituality and your relationship with God and you’re looking for a sign or omen to tell you if you’re on the right path in life.
- You generally are a lone wolf like me and prefer hiking without people chatting at your neck.
- You love animals and want to see as many of them as you can in the woods without scaring them away.
These are some good reasons why you should hike alone. My favorite is “you generally are a lone wolf” because for someone like me there’s nothing better than being out in the bush by yourself. You can stop and go and take a break when you want. When you find a cool place to chill, you can set out your snacks and relax without pressure. You can reflect on the beauty of nature and maybe write a poem in your phone. Being alone on a hike for me makes the whole experience better, but there’re some occasions when having company would be more ideal.
So when is a good time to hike with company? Let’s answer this with another list.
- Your friend needs someone to talk to and you think taking them out for a hike would be a good stress-reliever for them.
- You found a date, a person of the opposite sex, and you wish to be alone with them for as long as you can to know them better.
- Something amazing happened in your life and you want to celebrate with your friends without doing something stupid like drinking into a stupor.
- You want to set up a fire and can’t carry all the firewood by yourself.
- You generally don’t like being alone and you know someone who’s willing to hit the old trail.
These are just some occasions that having company with you during your hiking experience improves it. My favorite is “something amazing happened in your life” because I believe there’s nothing better than celebrating success with more success. If you build the habit of falling backwards every time you succeed at something, then what’s even the point of succeeding? Who says hiking isn’t a way to celebrate? A friend of mine got her book published after fifteen years of failure and instead of going on a two week bender we simply went out for a hike and brought our fishing rods. We ate good salmon that night and on the next day she was back at her writing desk.
Overall, hiking is a complex issue, but we’ve managed to analyze it well. Hiking may not be rocket science, but there is a science to it, and once you understand how beneficial a good hike can be to the psyche, you’ll be blessed by it for the rest of your life. So, you, yeah YOU! Take a hike, pal! And have fun!