As I mentioned in my Hike-a-Thon summary, 45 of my August miles were hiked solo. This might sound boring (or scary?) to some, but I really, really love my alone time. I have known that I am an introvert ever since I took the Myers-Briggs personality test in college, but it wasn’t until this spring, after reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, that I realized just what being an introvert means.
It turns out that many of the quirks I’ve viewed as my personality flaws (and which I’ve honestly thought of as symptoms of depression), are just typical traits of an introvert. I prefer staying home with a book instead of suffering through awkward small talk at a party, and the mere act of being social makes me so exhausted that I have to be by myself and recharge for a couple of hours afterwards. I need quiet alone time to really think and be creative, and I can happily wander around in the mountains for days without talking to another human being. (I do like to share some deep thoughts with Wellie, though.)
While I hate being the center of attention in real life, this section from Quiet resonated with me:
Studies have shown, that, indeed, introverts are more likely than extroverts to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read, to say that they can express the “real me” online, and to spend more time in certain kinds of online discussions. They welcome the chance to communicate digitally. The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall of two hundred people might blog to two thousand, or two million, without thinking twice. The same person who finds it difficult to introduce himself to strangers might establish a presence online and then extend those relationships into the real world.
Yay for blogging and over-sharing on Facebook!
So, welcoming another day of quiet enjoyment, Wellie and I hiked to Melakwa Lake, an old favorite, and onward to Lower Tuscohatchie Lake and Pratt Lake. The last time I hiked this loop, the trail between Melakwa and Tuscohatchie sucked donkey balls (a technical term), but it must have been shown some tender love and care – this time, it was a soft, runnable path lined with pretty moss (except for the one section where I slipped and fell, which was lined with Devil’s Club).
I only saw two other people between Melakwa Lake and the Granite Mountain junction, and not a single mosquito – now that’s what I call quality alone time.
This is the kind of hike that leaves me blissed-out for days. I love spending time with friends in the mountains (and it’s so easy to bond when you’re out there), but when I’m alone, I get into this awesome state of flow where I focus on nothing and everything all at once. I get physically tired, of course, but mentally refreshed.