Solo Hiking : Few Tips if You Like Hiking Alone

I’m more accustomed to frequent human interaction than to having no time alone apart from other humans. I’ve always enjoyed some solitude in my life, having grown up in the country and spent hours as a youngster traveling and riding my pony alone since I was around 7 years old. I even lived in a hut 50 feet from the house as a teenager, so I fell asleep to the sound of owls and the occasional cat fight and awoke to the sound of birds chirping outside my window.

This was doable for me, though, because I had a lot of people in my neighborhood give me hiking recommendations, so I knew what I was doing.

We are successful social animals who find comfort in living and working in groups, whether they be familial or corporate. However, I am aware that this is not how the vast majority of people in the world live.

As we travel and relocate, a positive attitude toward freedom may be quite beneficial in our everyday lives. Our social groups, at least in the “Western” World, are not necessarily so family centered over the course of our life, and we may find ourselves alienated from individuals we love and know.

 “Loneliness makes you want to find distractions to get away from it,” I read somewhere. “Being alone gives you the freedom to follow your heart.” There is a significant distinction between being alone and being lonely.

Loneliness is a mental condition in which one feels as though someone or some individuals are absent from one’s life. It’s frequently linked to grief and emotional suffering, and it can lead to personal distress and melancholy.

Learning to hike by yourself can help you determine where you fall on the loneliness/alone continuum. Being alone is a physical state in which you are not in the company of others.

Hiking alone may make us considerably more conscious of the fact that the Earth is full with creatures going about their everyday lives all around us. Being in the presence of animals, depending on one’s connection with them, may imply that one does not feel lonely or alone. You are not with people in this planet.

Kudu, gemsbok, baboons, mountain zebra, warthogs, and meerkats were just a few of the species that might cross my path at any given moment. It was like having my own little safari every day when it was just me and my horse. I spent a couple months in Namibia riding horses every day on 2000 hectares of high bush veld.

Hiking alone has the effect of raising your degree of awareness. Rather of being terrified by it, you learn to trust it. I was suspicious but not terrified because the only predators in the area were leopards, which prefer to eat baboons. I’m very sure my horse smelled one, and she was relieved when I adjusted my course to avoid the dry riverbed.

Humans are such lively, gregarious creatures that they tend to obliterate many of the other creatures in their environment. Except for insects, most creatures walk silently, at least verbally. It’s strange how the tiniest creatures can make the most noise!

If someone came riding with me in Namibia, I didn’t see anything since we spoke and made way too much noise. As a result, I’m a proven occasional single traveler. It was still entertaining, but in a different way. When you hike alone, you normally go silently and become one with nature.



Solo roaming or trekking provides advantages

Allows you to have a deeper connection with nature; improves self-awareness; increases self-confidence; allows time for self-reflection; improves planning abilities and self-reliance

It puts your outdoor talents to the test and gives you ultimate control over your options.

You are forced to conquer hardship.

Develops the pleasure of being alone Here are a few things to think about:

Isolation

Vulnerability to attack

There is no shared accountability.


STEPS IN AN INDIVIDUAL DIRECTION

I recommend that you start trekking alone.

To gain confidence and aid in planning your hike, go on treks on paths you’re already familiar with.

During the journey, you may encounter other hikers and, at times, you may be alone on the trail. This will offer you a midway adjustment to knowing that people are likely to be around in the event that you want assistance, but you will still be traveling alone. Begin with day treks on well-worn pathways.

Plan treks with the route in mind, considering how long it will take and what food and water you would require. These familiar excursions can help you get in the habit of cooking your own food. You’ll get in the habit of stopping whenever you feel like it and resuming the delight of making completely independent judgments.

In New Zealand, I used to go for day treks into the foothills and backcountry and never see another person on the route. It was a wonderful experience to go up through the honey dew-scented bush to the tussock (long grass) hilltops, which offered breathtaking vistas. The paths were well-marked, and I had a good sense of direction, yet there was no one else for miles. Gradually expand your day outings into more distant regions where you are less likely to encounter other people.


TRAVEL PLANNING

Get as much advice and information as you can before you go from other experienced hikers, the internet, weather predictions, and local information centers before you leave. One of the most important aspects of any journey is planning, and as a single hiker, this all comes back to you.

Setting oneself tasks and objectives is wonderful, but when venturing out on your own, err on the side of caution. Know who you are and what your skill levels are. You are the only one pushing yourself, so don’t overdo it. When hiking alone, keep in mind that if something goes really wrong and you require assistance, other people may be willing to put their life on the line to save yours. Take no needless risks that might endanger others.

Carry your load on short outings to build muscle and improve your own fitness level. Make sure you’re in good physical shape for the vacation you’re planning.

Most accidents or catastrophes are the consequence of a series of events or concurrent difficulties that build on top of each other to produce an accident. Have spots along the road where you can safely pull out if feasible. Make solid risk management a habit. Consider the “What if…” scenarios in low charts, as well as the events that may or may not occur as a result of each point. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t attempt new things, but you should strive to plan ahead and establish contingency plans along the way. Try to remove as much danger as possible.

Solo Hiking

Make a list of everything you’ll need.  Always inform someone, ideally two persons who are familiar with each other, of your intentions, including where you are going, how long you plan to be gone, and when you anticipate to return. Plan with them what will happen if you have to notify them or if you fail to return at any point. These activities will be determined by your location and the authorities in charge of search and rescue in your region.

Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills advocates hiking with a minimum of these goods, according to the “Ten Essentials” from the book.

Navigation includes waterproof maps, a magnetic compass, an optional altimeter, and a GPS receiver.

Sun protection includes high-factor sunscreen, sunglasses, a brimmed hat, and clothes with a wide brim.

Extreme weather protection — gloves, hats, jackets, and layers of clothing

LED headlamp, flashlight, and fresh batteries for illumination

Insect repellant is included in the first-aid kit.

Butane firelighter with waterproof canister of matches

A multi-tool or pocket knife, pliers, a screwdriver, a trowel or shovel, duct tape, and cable ties are all useful tools to have on hand.

Nutrition – Don’t forget to include the chocolate! One extra day on top of the daily ration (for emergency).

Hydration – As an emergency ration, bring 2 liters of water with you.

Emergency shelter: tent, tarp, space blanket, bivy sack, plastic tube,  large waste bags, insulated sleeping pad

Few examples of signaling equipment are whistle, mobile/satellite phone, two-way radio, signal flare,  sturdy mirror, laser pointer.

Even if you’re simply going on a day excursion, you should think about some of these goods in case of an emergency, particularly those related to signaling, water, food, first aid, and shelter.

There are a variety of GPS devices that are suited for trekking and have a longer battery life and are more robust than a smartphone. There are a variety of technological devices to choose from. People have been traveling in the wilderness without technology for thousands of years, so while they are tremendously useful, learn not to rely on them.

Personal Locator Beacons, two-way radios, satellite phones, and other equipment that you may never use but that will provide some security are other options. Read our post on the best satellite phones to keep in contact with the outside world.

Wear and carry appropriate attire for all types of weather you may experience, such as hats, gloves, sunglasses, and layers of clothes. Apparel and equipment “There is no such thing as terrible weather, only terrible clothing,” some argue. Make sure your footwear has been tried and true and will not cause blisters.

Make sure you have a comfortable pack that can hold all of the gear you’ll need. Carry it frequently enough, and it will seem as though it weights nothing. Begin by wearing it on shorter excursions and progressively add stuff to increase the weight as you travel longer distances.

Keep in mind about safety. You have to be careful weather you’re hiking alone or in a group. Check out Safety Tips for Hiking That You Should Know for details.


WEATHER HAS A FEW (UNLIKELY) DANGERS

Always examine current and forecasted weather forecasts and err on the side of caution if there is a chance of bad weather, especially if you are traveling in a group.

Learn to identify the safest spots to camp, such as away from rivers where flash floods are a possibility, trees with old limbs that might fall, and so on. Learn to discern cloud formations and weather patterns in the region you’ll be trekking if you’re headed into the backcountry.

Know that crossing flooded rivers alone is significantly more difficult, that snowstorms may obscure pathways, and that heavy winds may pull down trees and even sweep you off a mountain.


GETTING OFF ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD

When going in unknown area, take the time to look back sometimes in case you need to retrace your tracks. This can happen despite the best set intentions if the weather is bad, such as in severe fog, snowstorms, and the like. Views always appear different from the other direction. If you’re hesitant, learn survival methods and try retracing your steps.

Before you depart on any journey, make sure you are comfortable with it. Digital GPS may break, become lost, or cease operating, so don’t rely solely on it. Learn how to use a magnetic hand compass to back up any digital gadget you have. There are many wonderful websites and books to learn about survival techniques and locating routes on the internet.


ANIMALS

Any assaults are generally the result of the animal feeling frightened or you inadvertently harming it. Male deer, for example, can be violent during mating season but would flee at any other time of year. These can vary depending on the region you are hiking in, so do some study on the potentially harmful creatures that may be present in the region you want to trek.

When camping, never leave food lying around your campsit. Because animals have a far better sense of smell than humans, even empty food packages might be an issue. If food is going to be an issue, it could be a good idea to eat someplace else before setting up camp. But keep in mind that most animals are content to go about their business while you go about yours.

I feel that as you get further away from urbanization, the risk of being accosted by a human decreases, not just in terms of the frequency of encountering another person, but also in terms of the attitude of the individuals you are likely to encounter. The purpose of other hikers is to trek, not to cause issues. In terms of hazards, I’m going to group people in with animals.

Some individuals advise against camping near highways or parking lots where strangers can show up, especially if alcohol is going to be used. When it comes to women being more at danger than males when hiking alone, I can only speak for myself and have no reservations. When it comes to weaponry, it may be advantageous to have something on hand, such as bear spray, which might be used against a violent animal or even a human.


ACCIDENTS

It is recommended that everyone, regardless of where they are or who they are, have some understanding of First Aid or Emergency First Responder methods. This is arguably the most dangerous thing to plan for because they may happen to anybody, anywhere, and as a single hiker, depending on the region you are trekking in, they may be a significant concern.

Always have a well-maintained First Aid kit on hand, and be prepared to improvise if necessary. These threats exist, but they are unlikely, so use risk management strategies to reduce them as much as possible and go trekking nevertheless. As a solo hiker, it’s critical to acquire these abilities so you’ll be prepared to deal with a variety of ailments.


WHICH WAY SHOULD I WRAP IT UP?

Visualizing is a great strategy to keep things going in the right direction and isn’t only for exceptional athletes. If you know the route then visualize your trip to yourself. It will boost your confidence.

Knowing that the sun goes through south in the northern hemisphere and north in the southern hemisphere can also help you identify the direction in respect to time. Even if you’re on a path or following a map, get into the habit of utilizing natural means to tell the time, such as the position of the sun in the sky, the duration of shadows, and other such things.

However, there are some fundamentals, such as the Southern Cross in the southern hemisphere and the North Star in the northern. Practice until your sense of direction becomes automatic. Learning to travel by the stars, on the other hand, may be extremely challenging.

Make sure you know how to rapidly pitch your tent or tarp in both good and poor weather. You have complete control over when to go, how far to go, and when to set up camp. One advantage of traveling alone is that there is no one else to ensure that everything is in order.

When you’re hiking alone, everything seems more intense. Take a deep breath, take a modest step forward, and go on a new adventure trekking alone on this amazing globe! “Here I am, Nature!” Reconnect with your five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

Also, before you leave on your journey, read our recommendations and rules on how to organize a backpacking trip.

Also check out Hiking & carbohydrates – Proper nutrition before, during & after a hike.

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