Oct 292015
 

 

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Walking alone in the wilderness is one of the most instigating-of-inspirational-thought activities a person could do. I’m positive. But that same solitude and rhythm that inspires creative thought can also create a little too much room for predatory loops of thinking you’d probably rather not entertain. But they’re easy enough to identify in their very beginnings. If you “hear” yourself thinking any of the seemingly harmless thought seeds listed below when you’re out hiking in the wilderness for long periods of time, STOP.

Dangerous Thoughts to Entertain When Walking Alone in the Wilderness

“Is this real?”

“What if the apocalypse happened and I’m the only one left?”

“Can my body handle this?”

“Where are my keys?”

“Someone could do whatever they wanted to with me out here.”

“Is that an anvil cloud?”

“I wonder how long it’d take them to find my body here.”

“I wonder what my ex-husband would say about me at my funeral.”

“Why am I talking to myself as if I were four different people?”

“Am I a good person?”

“What am I doing with my life?”

“I bet this forest was clear-cut once.”

“Is it lay-down or fight-back with black bears?”

“What if one of my shoes falls apart?”

“Is this the trail?”

“I feel old.”

“If I could have anything I wanted to eat right now it would be…”

“Did I say something wrong? Is <insert person important to you> mad at me?”

“What if that ‘spring’ water was on the surface once?”

“<insert bad pop song>”

“I can’t.”

“I wonder if <insert current physical complaint> is a symptom of cancer?”

“How many miles to camp?”

“How am I ever going to go back to my life?”

“Did I pack up my tent stakes?”

“Why am I doing this?”

“It’s not broken.”

“What’s that noise?”

“Maybe I could live out here.”

“Would I cut off my arm to free myself from a boulder?”

“<insert any story of hiker demise>”

“Do I look scary?”

“I’m at the summit. This climb is over.”

“It’s just snow.”

“I wonder what my mother/spouse/child is going through because of me.”

“Is that MY smell?”

“It’s hunting hour for mountain lions.”

“Am I hiking fast enough?”

“I wonder how many nights of sleep deprivation it takes for a person to go technically insane.”

“How can she/he love me if she/he <insert words/behaviors of romantic partner>?”

 

I’m sure there’s a million more, unique to your own life and constitution. But these are the ones that span across all generations, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses. Stay vigilant, friends.

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  7 Responses to “Dangerous Thoughts to Entertain When Walking Alone in the Wilderness”

  1. “Is this real?”
    Does it matter? If it’s real for you, then you’re good.

    “What if the apocalypse happened and I’m the only one left?”
    Hurry, eat all the ice cream before the power shuts off. After that, there’s nothing but books and making a monument to record your last days for the archaeologists of the next sentient species to evolve.

    “Can my body handle this?”
    Pleasantly remind your body that you’re one BAMF. It’ll remember.

    “Where are my keys?”
    With your money and driver’s license and all your other useless things at the bottom of your pack.

    “Someone could do whatever they wanted to with me out here.”
    Yes, but on the other hand, you can pee anywhere. So … trade-offs? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    “Is that an anvil cloud?”
    “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Calm the f**k down, sky. Don’t you know we’re PCT 2012-ers? We don’t get bad weather.” – Me, literally every time I see bad weather coming.

    “I wonder how long it’d take them to find my body here.”
    Are you near the trail? Probably about 30 minutes when the guy behind you passes by.

    “I wonder what my ex-husband would say about me at my funeral.”
    Probably that he could be alive for the next 40 years and not live as much as you already have.

    “Why am I talking to myself as if I were four different people?”
    Well, you’re a very important person.

    “Am I a good person?”
    “Bad” people don’t ask that question.

    “What am I doing with my life?”
    No matter what choices you make, “living life” is always the result. Whether you’re hiking, studying, raising children, building a house, or just watching OITNB with a bucket of ice cream, it’s all “life.” Be proud that no one else can say they’ve lived yours. 🙂

    “I bet this forest was clear-cut once.”
    Better than “I bet this clear-cut was a forest once.” 🙁

    “Is it lay-down or fight-back with black bears?”
    Are you kidding me? Black bears are terrified of humans. Or at worst largely indifferent. I once watched one scratching its back for ten minutes before I had to calmly alert it to my presence so I could pass by on the trail. The first thing it did was bolt into the woods. I’ve met kittens that are braver than black bears.

    “What if one of my shoes falls apart?”
    Chuck it down the mountain and then write a book.

    “Is this the trail?”
    On the CDT, that question doesn’t even make sense.

    “I feel old.”
    You’d rather be doing what everyone else your age is doing? Trust me, *they* would rather be doing what you’re doing.

    “If I could have anything I wanted to eat right now it would be…”
    Okay, I don’t have a good answer for this.

    “Did I say something wrong? Is mad at me?”
    Everyone loves you. How could they not?

    “What if that ‘spring’ water was on the surface once?”
    Every time you drink water, at least one molecule was once part of a dinosaur. Think about *that*.

    “”
    Sing it as loud as you can. Just own it. This too will pass.

    “I can’t.”
    … said the brain. “Give it a shot” said the heart.

    “I wonder if is a symptom of cancer?”
    http://www.webmd.com/ “Yes.”

    “How many miles to camp?”
    “Camp” is wherever you pitch your tent.

    “How am I ever going to go back to my life?”
    Kicking and screaming, spending large parts of it staring out windows and planning your next adventure.

    “Did I pack up my tent stakes?”
    I walk around my camp site every morning saying out-loud, “Idiot check … idiot check …” as a I look to make sure I grabbed everything. When I’m done I say, “Nope, just me.”

    “Why am I doing this?”
    “Oh, that’s why.”

    “It’s not broken.”
    As long as *you’re* not broken.

    “What’s that noise?”
    Probably iPod singing Disney songs as loud as he can again.

    “Maybe I could live out here.”
    You already do.

    “Would I cut off my arm to free myself from a boulder?”
    I don’t know … it’s kinda nice under the boulder. There’s shade … you don’t have to hike … you can finally get around to writing that book …

    “”

    “Do I look scary?”
    Hmm … maybe ask that bear over there.

    “I’m at the summit. This climb is over.”
    All climbs are infinitely-long. There is no summit. I’m sorry, you’re going to run out of water and die before you reach the top. Now just relax and don’t hike any faster than your own pace.

    “It’s just snow.”
    “Snow” is a four-letter word.

    “I wonder what my mother/spouse/child is going through because of me.”
    Having the best daughter / spouse / mom ever.

    “Is that MY smell?”
    If you can smell yourself, it’s probably pretty bad.

    “It’s hunting hour for mountain lions.”
    What, with that smell? Don’t worry, nothing out there would confuse you with food.

    “Am I hiking fast enough?”
    “You can’t hike faster than your own pace.” – Me

    “I wonder how many nights of sleep deprivation it takes for a person to go technically insane.”
    Like, 4 or 5. That’s when you start forgetting why you’re staying up so long.

    “How can she/he love me if she/he ?”
    Well, I mean, have you met yourself? You’re pretty awesome. 😉

  2. AWESOME comment Ipod!! 🙂

  3. Everything has an answer, except thinking about food when you’re hiking. There may not be a cure for that. 😉

  4. Also, “I wonder which of these mushrooms are edible?”…and “I know the magical spot is just”…-up the hill, behind the next bend, over the mountain, down the trail…etc…thinking this late afternoon, early evening without overnight gear and at least 5 miles out.

  5. […] Kimberlie Anne Dame, Pacific Crest trail thru-hiker, blogger and writer gives us an insight into some of the thoughts our minds may become pre-occupied with when in the middle of nowhere HERE. […]

  6. […] Kimberlie Anne Dame, Pacific Crest trail thru-hiker, blogger and writer gives us an insight into some of the thoughts our minds may become pre-occupied with when in the middle of nowhere HERE. […]

  7. Ahahaha, especially “inset pop song,” “this is the summit” and “where are my keys” get my every time.

    1800 miles into the AT, I was suddenly like “where did I leave my keys last?”

    I would add “does that feeling mean I have to poop?” especially above treeline.
    Or “what if that person hates me for that text I sent 2 days ago when I had service?”
    And even worse than the pop song,
    Also, in the dark “did I pass the campsite?”

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