Refreshed by Walking

July 21, 2019

Ahh! The Great Smoky Mountains refresh my soul! Their lush, opulent vegetation, towering trees, cool temperatures, and misty moistness wrap me in intrigue, curiousity and wonder! John and I squeezed in another overnight before heading to Atlanta for a busy week.

We took the Balsalm Ridge Trail up to Laurel Gap Shelter where I renewed my attachments to the Benton MacKaye Trail which I walked four times in a year in 2009-2010. Those trips provided unforgettable experiences in solo hiking! Although I had gone to the Appalachian Trail in 2007 by myself, I was rarely alone once I got on the trail. The Benton MacKaye Trail, 288 miles in the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia, is sparsely traveled. I had plenty of time on my own! I was surprised how much I enjoyed it! Here are a few things I learned from hiking solo.

I observed everything closely, including the route, the weather, my surroundings, my steps. Relying on myself every minute inspired me to pay attention! I wouldn’t say I was wary, just observant!

I thought more deeply and considered the significance of the phenomena I observed. I was more philosophical hiking solo than I am with others. Being solo brought out my inner Thoreau!

A special thrill ran through me when the Balsalm Ridge Trail intersected with the Beech Gap Trail and the familiar green arrows of the Benton MacKaye Trail appeared. I felt a welcome sense of being home with a very special connection with myself!


Have you considered taking a solo walk? Did you do it??!! If you’re in doubt and want to talk with an experienced solo walker, reply to this email and let’s chat! The same goes for getting support for your solo walk. Hit reply and tell me about your plan!

And, to read my report on the Five Surprising Essentials for Creating a Radiantly Fulfilling Walk of Any Length, click here:

Five Essentials to A Radiantly Fulfilling Walk


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