Not many do it, but hiking on your own can make for a very unique experience, it presents its own set of challenges, but also a rewarding experience that is quite peaceful. Being alone mean you can go at your own pace, make decisions of your own choosing, or take in that view for as long as your heart desires. Bush walking is often a great social activity, but sometimes you just need you time and nature provides such as amazing way to escape, but before you pack your gear and head out to the tracks we have a few things you should do first.
1. Make sure to let some one know first.
Starting with probably the most important thing to consider, let someone know where you’re going and what time you expect to be back. If you get lost or injured while out on a solo hike then this way help won’t be too far behind. Plan your trek in detail before you leave and inform this person of your plan, just don’t forget to check in with them when you get out.
2. Check in with the national parks
Many parks offer log books at trail heads in less popular tracks, it is vital that you fill out all your details in these books, the ranger will know you’re out there. Some national park offices offer the service of renting a PLB(personal locator beacon) as dose your local police station, you can also buy your own PLB if you plan on doing repeat solo hikes. In general a PLB is always something handy to have on you regardless the size of your hiking group.
3. Pack plenty of supplies
Packing more that you’ll need for your proposed hike is good practice, and in the higher risk activity of solo hiking it is even more so. Time and time again when you hear reports of lost hikers on the news they are always stated to have ran out of food and water, over packing (not to the point where your pack is obscenely heavy) means this wont happen to you should you run into trouble. Dehydrated food is something to consider as it takes up little room/weight in your backpack and yields plenty of nutrition.
4. Study the area
This point goes for any hike, but as solo hiking carries more risks I thought I’d bring it up again now. Knowing what you’re in for can save you a lot of trouble, some hikes are just flat out too dangerous to do on your own no matter how experienced you are. You can purchase topographic maps from national parks offices and read online sources or ask around for other people who have hiked the area you’re wishing to do.
5. Know your limits
This one seems obvious but sometimes our ego can get in the way of our decisions, don’t jump into the toughest hike you can find just to challenge yourself, work your way up to it. Start with small hikes, learn where your limits are and what is a reasonable hike for you. The more you hike, the greater your limits will be and then you can fin your challenge.
6. choose a busy trail
Now I know that the whole idea of a solo hike is to escape everyone else, I mean you’re doing this to be alone. a busy trail doesn’t need to be a tourist packed trail, just one were you’re likely to come across at least someone. Besides, you’re around other like minded people, you might meet some friends for future adventures.
7. Be confident with yourself
You’ve got this, don’t let doubt hold you back, in the words of zig ziglar, you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. So get out there and conquer the mountains!