...after two days in the woods, I struggled with neither my body nor my soul. There was no blizzard, no broken leg, no capture by Indians, no desire, upon seeing that first sunrise, to commit either my soul or [my dog's], no spirit of Rimbaud. I was still wrestling with pretense. I was so uncomfortable with my own perceptions that they were only real if they could be translated into narratives of faith and fortitude -- even if those narrative models made me feel like a failure! So much for a solo hiking trip -- I had brought along a vast audience, crowded with family, old lovers (even the thought of which can make me suck in my stomach) and literary critics. Talk about ill-fitting equipment: an invisible audience and borrowed stories.
I came to hike to find a story, but stories are products of past history and future audiences. I didn't know how to attend to the present.
excerpted from Equipment and Pretense, in Solo: On Her Own Adventure, ed. Susan Fox Rogers, 1996.