ethanessig Jun/ 10/ 2018 | 0

Link to the audio:
Introduction:
I am an advocate of people finding time to get away and explore the world. A beautiful idea and can sound a bit out of reach.
What holds most people back from taking a weekend to explore by themselves? Most of the time, not being able to go with other people. That is a fine thing to admit and all of us should, but challenge that reaction.
Going on an adventure alone is a bigger risk. We know more is on our shoulders in what moment we are seeking. I know going hiking alone in Yellowstone is more of a threat than hiking with 1, 2, or 3 more people. I know a road trip alone is less eyes on my surroundings. Accept those factors because they aren’t enough to hold you back.
Be prepared and be confident that you are doing the best thing for yourself.
Travel is a beautiful thing to experience with others. I am someone who does that more than solo travel, but I still need both.
I am going to go through my first color trip to Colorado from May 2016. I did many things alone. I learned a lot. There were moments I was terrified and feeling euphoria. Let me take you through those moments.
Set up:
I left in May 2016 for a solo trip in Colorado. I planned to hike in Fort Collins, Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), and Boulder. Three unique places that are close together. That is important. I flew in early Friday and left late afternoon on Sunday. Here we go:
Day 1: The Travel
  • 50 hour trip. Used Osprey Talons 33 L pack. Brough equipment and clothing in 60 L Patagonia Black Hole duffel Bag
  • At the time I was using a GoPro and Nikon point and shoot. For small cameras, captures great images.
  • Rented a car at Denver International. I had friends to get rides from but needed a way to be independent the whole time. If you can swing it, do it. More autonomy for your solo trip.
  • First destination was Fort Collins. My one hike not on my own was Horse Tooth with my friends Conor, Alyssa, and Page. I crashed on Conor’s couch for two nights. Driving back there after being out on the trail.
  • It was really fun. We drove Alyssa’s Jeep with the top down into the mountains.
  • We hiked fairly late, so we got sunset at the top of Horsetooth. There was a super annoying guy up there. Would not stop talking while everyone was just trying to take it in. He also kept being a jackass around the edge of Horsetooth.
  • It was dark before we got to the car. These deer were on the trail. Alyssa was having a heart attack as we had to pass them. Funny side note Alyssa and Conor are together, I am also with an Elisa. My Elisa freaked out this last January at the sight of deer on the trail in Boulder. Deer are terrifying.
  • That was the end of our evening of adventure.
Day 2: Rocky Mountain National Park
  • This day was my time alone. Time to conquer the world! One downside, I was pretty sick. Like achy and fever sick. I woke before sunrise and headed to RMNP. Lying to myself about how I felt until I got there. I decided to get some medicine and take it with me. Went with the severe cold meds. Now I was good and ready to go.
  • There was still a good amount of snow on the mountain, so I had to wait for Warming House (the place I always rent gear) at 9am. This put a bit of a time limit on my day, but not going to complain.
  • Once I got my spikes and snow shoes it was time to go! I decided to hike Miles Lake. The first time I did this trail was with my sister Madeline, that was in the summer and it was beautiful, so that meant promising views with a little bit of snow.
  • It was a perfect day. Sunny and spring in the air. Snow was melting at the beginning of the trail, so I decided to just bring spikes and leave snow shoes in the car. This would later become a mistake.
  • There was the perfect amount of people on the trail for a day of hiking alone. I got the desired solitude for 90% of the time and short conversations with people who love the same thing I do the other 10%. Pretty great win win.
  • I made it to Mills Lake. It seemed like a good idea to hike all the way around, so I did. Past the lake, I encountered large Moose prints. Wonderful find. There was a big boulder that looked prime for hanging out. I climbed up and relaxed on my own for a while. Taking photos and writing away. It was exactly what I went out to Colorado to accomplish.
  • I stayed up at Mills for some time. By the time late afternoon came around, it was time to head out. I capped off the day with a final dinner with friends and packed for the morning.
Day 3: Boulder
  • It is Sunday morning. At this point, I could be worried about getting back to Kansas City to prepare for the approaching week, but what would I really be getting ready for? My time is more valuable than worrying.
  • I woke up early to get ready to make the most of my few moments left in Colorado. I planned to check out some shops in Boulder and hike the Flat Irons.
  • By now I forget the trail I did, but it was a mile straight up to the top of the Flat Irons. I went balls to the wall. No camera gear, books, or journal. I just took off from the trail with water and a cliff bar. I was dead by the time I got to the top.
  • Once at the top, a nice storm started to come in. Just comes with the territory of being in the mountains. I stayed for as long as I could, but had to head down pretty quickly. I was happy to get the hike in.
  • After the hike I went to Pearl St to get some food at a swanky sandwich shop. It was pretty damn delicious. I also had to check out the book stores and Patagonia shop before I left. The two things that tend to be my greatest material weakness.
  • It was off to the airport after a nice day in Boulder and at that moment my day went to shit. Traffic was horrible and we flew out on the edge of a storm. The woman next to me was terrified, so I tried to hold my shit together (I doubt my performance was great). She squeezed my hand until we smoothed out.
  • What a fun weekend away!
The Point:
That is one example of what I would consider an epic trip over 48 hours or less. The set up is achievable for most (driving makes it a bit more complicated). It would have been easy to brush off the opportunity as too short a time to be worth it or no point in going alone. Any moment in nature is always an opportunity to grow and find peace. Just say yes. Please!
Questions Round:
What inspires you to travel?
What is your favorite piece of gear?
What place do you think everyone should visit?

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