Hiking is a slightly different matter. Hiking with a friend is enjoyable because of the shared experience, an experience that can't be recreated. It's also an opportunity to talk and walk, sometimes with the conversation taking precedence over the route. I love good conversation and have gone months without it.
I like hiking alone for many other reasons: the quiet, which allows me to hear everything. I feel tuned in to the sound of the birds, the skittering of little animals, the cries of insects, the leaves brushed by wind or small animals. And of course water, when I am near it. I allow myself to breathe heavily, something I tend to avoid with others. I see more. My focus is not divided. I smell everything. And I think. Any exercise is a good opportunity for thinking. Hiking leads me to thoughts that are often nature-oriented. Today I was thinking about the distant future, long after I'm gone, when it is possible that the human race will have destroyed itself. I can see the natural world gradually coming back and taking it all again. It may not be the same natural world that we first entered millions of years ago, but it would likely still be beautiful.
Today's hike was a lucky choice: Reservoir Canyon. I walked about 20 minutes out, sat on some rocks overlooking the flowing creek, then returned. Drunk with it. When I pulled into the parking area near the road, at the beginning, there were two other cars there and several people milling about. I heard voices now and then while I was walking but most of the time I was alone. I don't like it when I sense people close to me, behind me. I prefer that they be in front of me.