When I hit the trail at the 23th of August 2013 I intended on solo thruhiking the JMT. I never had done anything like that before. I had turned 30, got divorced in the past year and I felt like if I needed something what I call “a battle for FREEDOM“.
I’ve done a fairly amount of travelling around the globe but I never did a solo thruhike. I decided I didn’t wanna wait no longer for anyone coming along, cuz somehow waiting for other people also feels like being caged. I told myself, if I’m brave enough to do a thruhike on my own, I will feel free. And I did feel freedom to a certain point, yet I also realised freedom is something you create in your mind.

It naturally comes with being human that we are social creatures. From the womb on we have to rely and depend on other people. We depend on our mother and on our parents and as we grow older we feel the need to cut the cord. Yet that doesn’t mean we no longer need people, social contact and affection. Though somehow “being independent” has become a desirable virtue in our society. Lots of people are lone warriors. I think I’ve been a lone warrior for quite some time and it isn’t too easy to take off that safe harness of only depending on yourself.
Looking back on my thruhike I can now see that the title above my trail story would be a short but strong word: TRUST. And the story is continued to be written. Mount Whitney wasn’t the end. An end is never just the end but is always a beginning too… 

On trail I had the clearest wake-up call one may experience… By now all might have read about my mountain lion night (I can’t help it, everything always comes back to that one night and that one encounter) at the foot of Sunrise Mountain. So I won’t go over it again. But that experience made very clear to me that not everything is in my hands, that I have to let go of the need to controll everything and that freedom isn’t merely defined by being able to go wherever you want and doing whatever you want without being considerate of someone else.
Cuz there is that other big need called SAFETY.

After thruhiking the JMT I came to understand that for me freedom, trust and safety are interdependent. Can I feel free if I don’t trust and don’t feel safe? Can I feel safe without having trust? Can I trust if I don’t feel safe?
O I know there is more to it than those few questions. All question with very personal and subjective answers. All answers influenced by a life lived before. And how do you define freedom? How do you define trust? How do you define safety?
In order to feel safe I need to trust. Trust on mother earth, trust other people, trust myself. Trust that the story of my life unravels exactly the way it should. Trust that most things happen for a reason I might only understand when looking back. I didn’t fight with that mountain lion that night, that I can tell you… I fought with myself, with my fears and with my lack of trust.

O I enjoyed the freedom of hiking solo for about one week. Then I decided I’d start trusting other people in order to feel safe at night. And the freedom of going solo became a freedom of going social.
That is how I set myself free, how I started trusting and how I started feeling safe…

Day 1: Daniel from Canada and Brian from Pennsylvania
Day 2: Yoav from Israel
Day 3: My angels: Gordon and Dave from Seattle
Day 4: Jule and Gustav from Berlin
Day 5: Ted. Can’t remember where he came from. But it was great meeting you Ted!!!
Day 5: Gustav from Berlin
Day 5: Tilt from NY and Mountain Goad from Vermont
Day 5: Tilt, Shobhan from LA, MG, Armand from San Diego, Joe from Santa Barbara
Day 6: Bobcat! Not just “a” PCT southbound thru-hiker… He’s an inspiration!!! Grateful I met you Bobcat!!!
Day 6: Chris and Ken. Picture by Chris. Thanks for the link to your pics Chris!!! :c)
Day 8: Shobhan (aka Merman). My trailname-giver!
Day 8: Lindsey from California: The thoughest girl on the planet!
Day 9: Tilt, Mountain Goat, me, Ryan from Korea and Dylan from I don’t know where :c)
Day 10: Armand, Stephan from LA, MG, Lindsey, me, Tilt and JoeJoe
Day 13: Hug a tree! That’s right!!!
Day 14: Joe, Tilt and me on Selden Pass
My trail family: The “Drewlers” ( The name resulted from me writing the word “droolers” wrong… A maybe not so tasty detail to share: We found out that on the trail we all kinda drooled at night… hahaha whoops! So I called us: The Drewlers -I thought you write it that way- Family :c)
Day 15: Me and a bunch of people I don’t know and I didn’t talk to at MTR… Wasn’t all that social then hahaha.
Day 16: Kyle. Sending me trailmail from Shobhan/Merman who was 2 days ahead of me! Soooo cool!!!
Day 17: John Ladd!!! It was an honour meeting you John!!!
Day 18: My prince!
Day 18: Stephan and John (aka smoky)… Can’t remember where you came from John but it was great hiking with you!
Day 18: The Drewlers in the Rock monster!!!
Day 20: Me and Mother earth
Day 22: PAT!!!! Still looking for you Pat!!! If you ever read my blog… Please get in touch with me! I wanna say THANK YOU!!!!
Day 23: Joe and Me on Forester Pass
Day 24: The boys at Guitar Lake
Day 25: Whitney Portal! Maybe I could have made it without you guys… But I wouldn’t wanna… Thanks John, Ursula, Armand, Joe, Stephan and Todd for being my friends, for the amazing time we had, for everything we shared on trail and for keeping me safe at night!!!! A string that can never be broken…

I’m so grateful and I’m honoured to have met so many wonderful people on trail. All of you (also those people I met but I haven’t taken a picture with) gave me something, made my life richer and made me smile!!! THANKS!!!

Soulmate :c)

2 thoughts on “The freedom of going solo?

  1. Hi Kathie… O I know… It's hard not to be out there and not to long for it… I'm longing all the time… And 2015 just seems so far away… I wish I could hit the pct this year…

    Like

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