One of the best things about solo hiking for me is not knowing who I’m going to meet along the way. I often end up chatting to someone, briefly, and there is something special about meeting them on the open road, away from any distractions.
Last weekend I met a woman with a dog called Bonnie (sadly I’d didn’t get a picture of her but I feel awkward asking someone for a pic in the moment).
Bonnie was a sheepdog – a border collie. Normally these dogs are too intent on herding some unseen sheep to pay attention to humans but Bonnie came up and pressed her head against my leg.
I got chatting to her owner who said Bonnie has a gift for seeking out people who need a dog hug. In the woods near where they live, she told me, Bonnie has twice tracked down people who are crying and feeling lost and stayed with them. Perhaps she is using her herding instinct to look for humans who need contact with other beings to feel good about themselves. That certainly applies to me.
I love to walk alone but I love the people and dogs I meet even more.