A friend of mine and I were sharing our mutual appreciation for being in nature. We talked about solitude and how we both need and value our time alone.

A few minutes into the conversation I realized our shared love of the outdoors and physical activity are the same. But our freedoms are not.

As this male friend described preparation for multiple mile and even several day hikes, I thought “A woman could not be safe to go alone.” Bummer.

When I think of some of the beautiful hikes I have been on, whether in Lake Tahoe or Vail or right outside my door on the local trail, there is always one extra component: a companion.

Indeed, some insightful and powerful connections occur in nature when two people are walking, talking, and sorting through life as if paddling in a canoe. We alternate sharing miracles, tragedies and the day to day details of our work, relationships and dreams.

But as a woman, I cannot paddle my canoe without a companion. I crave the freedom and solitude of being in nature, without inputs from humans, electronics or anything to disturb that Divine connection to the Earth and my Creator. That cannot be.

The world we live in has taught women to stay with a partner, stay with our group, check in with someone when we arrive home. And it is not unwarranted as in my own inner circle I lost a female friend to a to a tragic and brutal murder when she dared to walk alone.

I am grateful for my hiking companions. We share a different kind of bond than the one we find in solitude. While I still need time alone, I love a good, long hike and appreciate the gifts of our sisterhood that grow even more powerful when we are alone, but together, in nature.

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