With a partner you need to be mindful of their needs when planning your hike as well as on the trail. You can make changes to your day on the spot without holding anyone back or pushing anyone too far. Do your thing!
Get Social! Only If You Want To…
I find I’m more social when I solo hike as I am more approachable to other hikers than if I am in a group. There are days where I’d hike with someone for an hour and then continue on my own. Other days I end up spending a whole afternoon hiking with a temporary partner.
I like solo hiking for a little “me time”. It’s refreshing to be on the trail and simply walk. You can sort things out that you may brush aside during your hectic everyday life. Solo hiking is a life changer.
Solo hiking requires that you have the necessary backcountry skills. You only have yourself to rely on and that is pretty empowering! Know that your attitude and preparedness will be major factors that contribute to your success.
How do you get started? Here are just a few tips. Think of this as a starting point to your planning.
Solo Hiking Tips
- Before your hike, you may hear countless horror stories from people, specifically from those who aren’t hikers trying to scare you out of going solo. This is especially true for women. Ignore the naysayers.
- Take Wilderness First Aid. I found this course especially helpful in learning how I could use what I already carry to aid myself and possibly others in the woods as well as how to properly evaluation a situation to make smart choices.
- Start small. Hike local trails you are familiar with and go camping by yourself.
- Get in shape by hiking. Your training hikes will serve as a way to sort your gear needs as well as get you physically and mentally prepared for a larger trip. Whatever your goals may be, get moving!
- Be realistic about your skills. This should be considered when hiking with someone, but you need to make sure you know yourself.
- Practice hiking in bad weather. Nothing worse than a storm rolling in, and you are not prepared to deal with wind and rain. Practicing these skills can mean the success of your hiking trip!
Some Things to Consider
- Solo hiking can be mentally challenging. You don’t have the external support of someone else to push you up those last few switchbacks.
- Be aware. Your navigation skills should be solid.
- The same holds true for animal encounters and natural disasters. You need to be knowledgeable of what to do if you encounter a bear or see a storm approaching.
- Most of the time you will encounter extremely friendly and helpful people on the trail. You will, on occasion, run into someone who rubs you the wrong way. At times I’ve mentioned my hiking partner is shortly behind. In other scenarios I confidently hike on. It’s a rare occurrence, but have a game plan if it does.
I hope you get a chance to experience the freedom and independence you can only feel from solo hiking. Happy Trails!