Angela Jamison
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Spring hikes in Bozeman are some of my favorite. We’re pre­tourist and full on summer season so they tend to be quiet. The weather is unpredictable so you never know what you will get. One day warm sunshine, one day a snow storm. The trail is muddy in spots from the runoff and perfectly dry in others. The one guarantee is the lushness and flowers in spring that cannot be beat. Thanks to the late season snow and rainfall everything is so, incredibly green. The smell is fresh with hints of summer to come.

Recently I have been doing more solo, silent hikes. In the past I’ve always hiked with headphones on when alone. Taking to the trail as more of a workout and needing the music to push me to run up the mountain. I decided that while I love to rock out to a little

Mumford and Sons on my way up a trail, it’s good to occasionally take it away and listen. Listen to your own thoughts. Listen to the sounds around you. I found that I felt more appreciative of everything around me. I slowed down. I wasn’t in a rush to get down and on with the busyness of life. I felt calmer, soothed by the sounds of the mountains. I noticed the peace in between the chatter of fellow hikers passing by. It was nice...everyone goes on the trail for different things and if you listen you get a brief encounter with someone else’s life. It’s a good reminder that we’re all in this together.

We all have struggles and are just living day to day. I believe those that take it to the trail, whether it’s for exercise, socializing or therapy will find it out there. When you take the time to listen to the conversations on the trail you hear so much more, and perhaps learn something.

You hear wisdom...

A couple of older gentlemen passing by on what looks like a ritual for them. Side by side heading up the trail talking about scripture. Catching words about Adam and Eve. A woman walking alone with a phone strapped to her arm without headphones. She wasn’t talking on the phone but rather listening to a motivational speech...lost in her own deep thought and soaking up the words.

You hear comedy...

A very young couple, holding hands, giggling quietly to one another. Moving over slightly to make way for me to pass and then lost back in their world of puppy love. An older couple sharing laughs as they reminisced about the previous evenings dinner party, their laughter contagious.

You hear heartache...

A woman chattering away on her cell phone as she makes her way up the mountain. If I had my headphones on I would have silently judged this woman talking on her phone while out on the trail. Instead I heard the concern in her voice as she talked away, pouring out her heart, fighting her battle in her own way.

A group of moms all talking at once, trying desperately to validate themselves that they are doing this very confusing thing of parenthood the “right” way.

You hear warnings...

A lady mentioning a bear was seen on this very trail just the past week. Feeling thankful I had brought that bear spray.

You hear goodness...

Moving to the side because you can hear someone approaching from behind on a run, something I normally would be doing. Taking the time to step off the trail and give a good morning and hearing them respond with a thank you and compliment “Your pants are so fun, they made me smile”. A second of kindness that that can fill your day. Words normally missed in my haste down the trail.

You hear nature’s music...

The birds chirping like crazy filling the mountain air. The sound of your feet crunching the pine needles and twigs on the trail. The leaves rustling above you, reminding you of how very small you are in this big, big world. The sound of your breath, working hard as you climb up, up, up...feeling strong. 

Take time to listen to the silence. Whether you usually wear your headphone, or hike with someone else, once in awhile stop. Quiet yourself and listen. Really listen. You might be surprised by what you hear.


Angela Jamison Angela Jamison is a native Montanan and she grew up in beautiful Bozeman. I'm the mother of two girls and write a blog about our life here and taking in the simple pleasures of family and food.