No cars driving in the distance or the scurrying of people starting their day...but absolute silence?
That is what the woods of San Isabel National Forest are like.
The morning of my last full day in Salida, I hiked the Colorado Trail in Mt. Princeton.
I picked an easy path that wound up around the back of the mountain at a steady incline.
When I stopped walking and the sound of my labored breathing and scuffling of running shoes against the terrain ceased, I stood still and listened.
And I heard...nothing.
Not a single person was within a half mile of me, nor were their any roads close.
Even the birds were quiet that morning.
The sound of silence in nature can make the sounds in your head so loud.
My cousin said to me, "It'll be good for you to come to the mountains. They are so big and it makes whatever problems you are facing seem so small."
The mountains do make me feel small.
Being that alone in nature almost makes me feel uncomfortable.
I'm not used to that amount of reduced distraction.
The day before, I did some hiking of the trails around Garden of the Gods.
I climbed up on some of the rocks and I had a stark realization.
No one knows where I am.
I didn't tell anyone the exact spot I was in. I didn't check in with anyone about my plans and where I was headed. I just did it.
Realizing how alone I actually was made me feel insignificant.
As if having a person makes my life matter any more than it did before?
I sat on top of that rock and used my camera to take a timed selfie.
Then I thought, I could fall off this rock and someone might not find my body for days.
No one knows I'm here.
Then I thought...
This is how people disappear.
I could get in a car and drive and drive and go wherever I want.
I could hide out in these mountains and spend days without speaking to another soul.
I could pack up my belongings and settle in a new place.
I could be a whole different person.
It's just me now.
I can do whatever I want to do.
This is simultaneously liberating and terrifying.
All my life I've had a plan. A final destination in mind.
I've strategically planned and plotted every step.
I've always known exactly what I wanted and when.
I'm just seeing where this road takes me.