Have you gone hiking? Without a partner? I have. And trust me, hiking alone is the best experience ever. Keeping in mind the present situation, I think practising social distancing on your outdoor trips is more essential than anything else. Solo hiking is indeed an excellent way to do it. Please keep in mind to be hygienic – stay away from fellow hikers, avoid touching your face, keep on sanitizing and take a both as soon as you get home.
Let me tell you why hiking alone can be a fantastic experience. You can go at your own pace and not rush to catch up with someone or slow down so that someone can keep up with you. You don’t have to negotiate or compromise with anyone about anything – it is just you, and you alone. You are in complete charge of your hiking experience.
However, it can also be a little nerve-wracking. Being just you mean there is no one else to depend on if you find yourself in a less than ideal situation, and for that reason alone, you need to be prepared. Sharing a few tips to make a solo hiking experience a safe and enjoyable one.
To start with, pick a trail that you are confident with, and that is below your ability level.
While you should be challenging yourself to do better on every hike, a solo hike is not the time to do this. A solo hike is a time to consolidate and practise your skills, not try and take on new challenges. Go for a trail that has terrain and conditions that are well within your ability and fitness level.
Make sure that any hiking trail is one that you know you are confident with, and if possible, familiar with. Choose one that is well maintained so that you do not get lost and end up in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone signal or way of getting any help.
You may also want to avoid routes involving river crossings and cliffs.
Tell someone where you are going.
Before you set off on your solo hike, make sure that you tell a family member of a trusted friend precisely what you are doing and where you are going. Give them an unambiguous description of the hiking trail that you are going to be taking – and make sure that you stick to it. You should also give them an idea of the time you expect to be back.
Or better still, share your location with them for the course of the hike.
I go to solo hikes nearby my place. But I make sure my location is shared with bae and he is always on my speed dial.
Don’t set off in a pair of sneakers and with a can of Pepsi in your pocket. When you are out hiking, whether alone or with a companion, you need to be prepared. Take the best waterproof backpack that you can buy. Carry the following in your backpack:
- plenty of water and snacks,
- a fully charged cell phone,
- a portable charger,
- a map or a GPS device,
- a headlamp,
- extra layers in case the weather turns and
- necessary first aid supplies.
Check the weather
Before you head out, keep an eye on the weather forecast. If there is the slightest chance of adverse conditions, don’t risk it and plan your solo hike for another time. Remember, the weather can be very unpredictable and change quickly, so if it starts to look ominous while you are out, turn around and head back or seek a safe place to stop. Wait for it to pass – and let someone know what you are doing.
A solo hike can be an immensely enjoyable experience, as long as you follow these tips to help keep you safe along the way.