We live in a world that tells us things that women are not supposed to do. Now I’m not going to get into the “men vs women rights”, but one thing we’re definitely told we shouldn’t do is adventure outside alone. I could develop deeper into it and tell you that a lot of that belief stems from the concept that women are more defenseless than men, but we’re not going to get into that either. I’m just here to tell you that you can go against the grain and adventure outside without a man or a group. Here are a few simple tips to taking a solo adventure:
The first thing you need to do is do your research!
Know the animals you may encounter and how to interact with them. I know all sensible thought goes out the window if you’re startled by big wildlife like a moose or bear, but try to keep a calm head and remember what you learned.
Under this category we will also place know your trail! Look into the area you’ll be going. Research the trailhead and destination(s). Know your trail and stick to it. If you’re going on a trail that isn’t clearly marked or deep in the backcountry, bring any navigation tools you need.
Do a checklist before you leave and make sure you have what you need. I strongly advise bringing something to protect yourself with. I always hike with a knife, and outside of the summer I also carry pepper spray. I have a few out of state friends who hike with firearms, but if you are qualified to conceal a gun, you still need to know if the area you’re hiking in allows you to carry. If you’re hiking in bear country, you can consider packing bear spray. I hike in bear country with black bears only and choose not to, but that’s just a personal choice. If you’re hiking in grizzly territory, I’m going to strongly advise you from solo hiking there at all. I’m not going to teach a bear class, but I have taken one, and it’s just not a good idea to solo hike where a grizzly could be, no matter your gender.
Use common sense.
Make sure you tell people close to you exactly where you’ll be and around what time you’ll be expected back, just in case. But then I’m also going to go the opposite direction and strongly advise you to not advertise your very location to people you aren’t super close with. Don’t post on social media “hey I’m going on a hike/camp out alone at this exact location!” Chances are nothing is going to happen to you, but you also don’t know who is reading your stuff. You could have some super crazy sadistic person following your every move and you just gave them what they were looking for. Be smart about the information you share and whom you share it with.
A lot of things can be put under these three words of advice, but I’m not going to cover every single one of them. Like I’m not going to tell you to not wrap yourself in a huge piece of meat and go dancing through the woods alone, because that’s just a no brainer. And gross. Just use common sense!
Tune into those senses.
Now you may have noticed that my dog is in all of my “solo hiking” pictures, because duh, I bring him on every hike. So if you solo hike with your dog, that usually puts you at an advantage than ladies who are 100% on their own. I say usually because I’ve met a couple dogs that could really be the downfall of their human in the outdoors, but I digress.
If you have a dog, and we’ll just say a dog like mine, then you have the advantage of tuning into your dog’s senses. They can usually tell you more of what’s going on than you can see at first. When my dog senses an “unwelcome” visitor, he perks his ears and focuses on the direction he heard them. If his thoughts are confirmed, he lets out a low “warning” growl. If somebody comes too close to me, which in this case I’m already aware of the potential danger, he will bark and snarl. My beautiful boy is very protective of his mama.
But again, I digress. The point is, let your senses go hand in hand with your dog. If you are not with a dog, let your senses speak to you. Pay attention to nature. The more you go outdoors the more you may be able to tell the difference in welcome and unwelcome silences. This is where you can really allow yourself to be “one with nature”, which is a beautiful feeling.
If you want to start going on a few solo hikes, I recommend your first being a trail you already know. You’ll probably be the most scared your first time, so somewhere familiar can help a lot with that. Just be confident in yourself, your abilities, and the work you’ve put in to preparing yourself for the trail. Now get out there and explore more!
Thanks for reading!
Miranda + Loki