This past weekend I tackled another first on my ever-growing, Maine, to-do list: I climbed my first real mountain completely by myself. When I say “real mountain” what I mean is one that is over 1,000 feet tall. The only other one I had climbed on my own was Bradbury and at a measly 275 feet, I hardly feel like that counts. However, having just come from the flatland of Illinois, I felt like it was a real feat at the time!
I have climbed other real mountains, of course: Pleasant, Pemetic, and Cadillac—but for those at least one other person was there pushing and encouraging me to make it to the top. However Ragged Mountain was my first real mountain that I tackled totally solo.
It’s an interesting experience climbing a mountain by yourself. Since there’s no one there to push you, you have to push yourself. There’s no one there to calm your anxieties or make sure you’re all right after tripping and nearly falling on your ass. This totally freaked me out at first.
“What if something happens to me? No one knows I’m up here! I’m going to fall to my death and no one is going to know about it for days!”
Eventually I calmed myself down and remembered that even though I hadn’t done this solo yet, I had done this before. I knew what to do, and how to pace myself. So I did just that.
I took my time hiking up Ragged Mountain enjoying the views as I went. The beauty of hiking by yourself is that you can go at your own pace. You also don’t have to be embarrassed if you get so winded that you have to lean against a tree panting like a dog until you catch your breath. It’s like the behavior you engage in when you live alone. You’re free to be a hot mess.
I made it to the summit in just under two hours. Since I had the mountaintop to myself I wanted to enjoy it for a little while before climbing back down. I sat there looking out over Mirror Lake, Spruce Mountain, and Penobscot Bay for what felt like just a few minutes but ended up being close to 40 minutes. I reveled in the quiet peace this incredible mountain had to offer that I didn’t feel the need to “do” anything. I just sat there letting all my fears, doubts, and worries dissolve and cast off themselves off to the sea. I climbed back down the mountain more self-assured than I’ve ever felt.
With each adventure and new experience I tackle here in Maine I’m becoming a stronger and more confident me. I’m stronger than I was yesterday, but not as strong as I will be tomorrow.
What solo adventure did you embark on that made you more a more confident you? What did it feel like when you finally conquered it?