Saturday, November 2, 2013

The End of Solitude

For many reasons I've spent most of my time alone, and I don't mean "unmarried"; I mean in solitude. As an over-50 solo hiker I began limiting myself, because what if I got lost on 4000 acres, or slipped and fell? And always I wished to share my delight in migrating birds or puffball mushrooms or other things I saw on hikes. One year ago I discovered and joined You can find in your locale people coming together to enjoy an shared interest or event they might not attend or enjoy alone. These include wine tasters, paleo-foods enthusiasts, ballroom dancers, history buffs, kayakers, stargazers, playgoers, creative writers, you name it. Joining and meeting are free. My favorite group "Let's Hike" hosts every weekend at least four hiking events to choose from, anywhere between 4 and 35 people on each hike.

"Let's Hike" led me to Missouri conservation areas and parks and trails I didn't know existed; on hikes too rocky, lengthy, or distant or spooky, like Howell Island, to hike alone--and awesome sights such as the Pink Rocks near Fredericktown. Some people are out for exercise, others to see nature; we all chat. November offers perfect hiking: no snow, bugs, heatstroke or below-zero temps, and yes to gorgeous autumn scenery. It's only because of Let's Hike that a photo exists of me the hiker with hiking poles--great for ascents, descents, and rocky paths. Fellow hikers recommended them. Solitude is fine, but I sure do learn a lot from other people.

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