Monson, ME to Marble Brook – 13 miles
Watching my parents drive away from the Monson trailhead this morning felt weighty, like their departure signals an important transition. It was wonderful to have them along for the first part of this trip and I enjoyed sharing with them a little slice of trail culture.
Now that they’re on their way, I’m starting something entirely new – my first time traveling alone. Solo travel has always scared me, which is why it feels so important to do.
Excited but a little unsure, I waved my parents off and headed into the woods. For a few minutes I cried those big warm tears that signify I’m on the cusp of something big, and at the same time I smiled because I know this will be a positive experience.
About a mile in I found my stride and I was in the mood to walk fast. The miles came easy, the gentle breeze kept me cool, and I strode toward a unknown tomorrow.
Today’s hike felt surreal, knowing no one is just around the corner or waiting for me at the next snack break. On one hand, this feels freeing. I can hike as slow or as fast as I like, stop to take pictures on a whim, and linger to talk to passersby without worrying about delaying my partner. At the same time, there is no one to share the highs and lows with, to crack jokes with, or to reminisce with over a beer in town. This trail will be about learning to keep myself good company.
Three miles in, I stopped to chat with Tip Toe, a woman in her 70s who is section hiking solo. She smiled and told me, “on this trail you’ll discover strengths you never knew you had.” Right now hiking alone feels hard, so I certainly hope she is right.