Even though I have been hiking for literally all of my life, solo hiking is something that I have always been slightly afraid of. The wilderness can be a beautiful but also scary place if you are not prepared for things that can happen.
A few years ago I was in Colorado and had an entire day to myself since my friends were working. I decided that I would hike a trail near town and see how far I could go. I ended up getting to the pinnacles, but I wanted to go all the way up to Inspiration Point which was just another mile or so from the location I was at. I continued along the trail into the trees when my thoughts started getting the best of me and I felt like I should turn around. I kept hiking but eventually freaked myself out because I was worried about the animals and what would happen if I didn’t get down before dark. I eventually did turn around because it was too much for me to handle and I didn’t feel comfortable anymore. When I got down the mountain I was so bummed because I let my fears get the best of me.
After that hike, I started realizing that there are a lot of people that have this same fear as me. Its a fairly common thing, especially when you first get into hiking. Once I noticed that it wasn’t only something I was afraid of, I wanted to help others get over the fear too.
Needless to say, I ended up conquering my fear by preparing and being ready for what can happen. I now go on solo hikes frequently and I know that you can too!
Here is a list I have compiled that will help you all stay safe on your outdoor adventures!
Tell Someone Where you are Going
It is important that you let someone know what trail you’re hiking, the path you are taking and what time you are planning on returning.
Always Pack the 10 Hiking Essentials
This includes navigation (maps), sun protection, insulation, illumination (headlamps and flashlights), first-aid supplies, fire supplies, repair kit and tools, nutrition (extra food), hydration and emergency shelter. One extra I always bring with me is an emergency blanket.
Chose a Well Traveled Trail
Starting to solo hike on trails that are well trafficked will help you be more confident and help prepare you for harder and more remote locations down the road.
Research the Area Beforehand
By looking up the area beforehand you will have a good idea of what to expect, what extra gear to bring, the time estimate and distance of the hike, and what wildlife or extra precautions you should take.
Check the Weather
Mountains can be unpredictable so always be prepared for rain, snow, hot and cold temperatures!
Trust Your Gut Feeling
If you aren’t comfortable doing something and your gut is telling you that you shouldn’t attempt to do something that could put you in danger, don’t attempt it!
And of course it is important that you have fun! Remember these tips and be sure to let me know how about your first solo hike below! 🙂
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