Hiking can be a fun activity either alone or with a partner, but sometimes you just need the time to yourself. It doesn’t help that having someone else along means you either have to keep up with someone’s faster pace, or fall back so they can keep up with yours. Both instances are annoying. The problem is, hiking alone can be a dangerous affair no matter where you go or how difficult the elevation. There are steps you can take to mitigate the dangers, and so here are a few tips for hiking solo whether you’re a beginner or a pro.
First, be sure to bring a backpack with a few essentials. What you bring mostly depends on where you decide to go. If you’re hiking someplace a little bit warmer, bring extra sunscreen. If it’s cold, then bring a few extra layers just in case. Stock up on more water than you really need. If you roll an ankle and can’t move, you might be stuck for a while–especially if there’s no cell reception. If you’re hiking a path that isn’t well-populated, then you might even want to bring another pair of clothes, extra first aid materials, food and water.
One of the easiest ways to avoid more trouble than you can handle is by taking the well-travelled path. The more people are running around, the more help you’ll have when you need it. If your phone doesn’t get service, someone else’s might. There are plenty of people who hike the same trails every day, and they meet plenty of people who need a helping hand once in awhile. They’re used to it, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Speaking of well-travelled paths, make sure you’ve been on it before. A solo hike isn’t the time to find a new place for adventure, especially if it’s a longer hike. If you’re going on a two mile trek in the middle of a big city, then go for it. If not, then proceed with caution. Another thing to keep in mind are any dangerous animals or poisonous leaves in the area. Do your research and know the area as best you can.
Make sure people know where you are at all times. Tell your friends or family when you’re planning a hike. If you have a routine, make sure someone is familiar with it. If there’s a ranger station, then sign in. These stations help others find you if you go missing. Better safe than sorry, so don’t be lazy and skip this step if you’re going it alone.
Don’t forget to check the weather before you leave home, because it can greatly impact how strenuous a hike might be. The mountains will always be there in the future, but the storms go away in a day or two. If it’s a hundred degrees outside and the sun is blaring, you might want to sit this one out. Even if your body can handle the strain normally, any injury can pummel you to the ground quickly when complemented by extreme weather conditions.
No matter what you do, plan for the worst and be careful!