|Hiking alone is not recommended.|
Alone, I walk up the trail through the ancient grove of cedar and hemlock. Massive trees block the early sunlight. It’s incredibly quiet. I keep thinking of the cautions of the locals I’ve talked to, their grizzly stories have my imagination running wild. Are there really grizzlies lurking behind every tree? Glancing around, back over my shoulder, my voice sounds strange as I shout “hey bear, hey bear” into the shadows.
Suddenly, there is something big, huge and brown rustling behind a tree… OH NO!!!!
|Scary wild beast.|
Finally, three cars arrive at the trailhead. They are going to Avalanche Lake! I put on my pack and take off up the trail. Oh silly me. I can do this. It’s the most popular hike in the park. I’ve got hikers behind me.
I bound up the trail to the lake with confidence through the magical forest. The forest is now all friendly. Sunlight streams down. It’s the opposite of scary. No shadows here.
|I can feel myself being restored.|
|Thanks for sending me this photo of myself, K.P.|
|Along the Trail of the Cedars.|
|Trail of the Cedars.|
On the drive home, I start to cry. I miss feeling safe in the woods. I miss feeling comfortable about my place on the food chain, and not being scared of bears. I miss my hiking buddies, my friends scattered around the country and I miss everyone I’ve ever loved. I miss laughing so hard my belly aches. Because I don’t know anyone yet who I can belly-laugh with here. Yet. But maybe it’s getting closer, yesterday hiking with someone I could bushwhack with, that was close.
Patience. Making friends takes patience. Getting comfortable hiking in grizzly territory takes patience. I know I’ll get there before I know it.
More information about these hikes in Glacier National Park, Montana:
Trail of the Cedars