If you have read anything from this blog, you know I love to hike. I love to be in nature. Just out on the trail so I can let all my stress melt away! With that said there is something I have wanted to do but, have had some reservation about……..Hiking SOLO!! I have wanted to try it ever since I got back into hiking. But, my family and friends always acted like I grew three heads whenever I mentioned it. “What about bears?”, What if you get stung?” “What if someone attacks you?” What if… What if…!! UGH!
They mean well. They also have reason to be a little worried. At age 26, I had open heart surgery. I have a mechanical mitral valve. I have to be on a blood thinner called Coumadin for the rest of my life. This keeps my blood thin enough to go through the valve. However, it can also cause bleeding problems. I have Scoliosis and at age 12 had a Harrington Rod put in. I have a severe allergy to stinging insects such as bees, wasps, and hornets. I am so allergic that I have to carry an Epi-Pen with me. I also have a condition called Horner’s Syndrome. It happened when I was in the hospital for my heart surgery. Among other things it causes my right pupil to not dilate like it is should when exposed to light. To say I am a miracle is an understatement! I am very blessed.
If you are a woman and have ever thought about hiking solo you know where I am coming from. Society has put a sigma on us as women thinking it would be crazy for us to hike solo. To me I feel safer (and probably am) in the woods than in a city walking down the street. With this said let me tell you a little story.
The day before I made my solo trip I went to an outdoor store in the mall to pick up my new backpacking stove. On the way out of the mall in the middle by some little cart store a man called out to me. He asked me something about skin care and I was just trying to politely decline and move on with my bag. He grabbed my bag! And was trying to look in it and asking a million questions. In that moment, I felt more on edge than I have ever felt when walking on the trails solo. What happened with the man? I jerked my bag out of his hands and said, “Excuse me!” He must have read it on my face that I had enough cause he told me to have a good day and backed off! However, it did put me a little on edge and made me second guess if I really should go on my solo trip. So, for all of you women out there who have thought about hiking solo, I have put together some tips. With these tips, I have put some articles that also help with the whole women hiking solo!
1. Be prepared! Have maps of where you are going and plan your equipment, food, clothes, etc. Here is an article from Backpacker magazine: https://www.backpacker.com/skills/7-tips-from-female-solo-hikers
2. Tell someone. This is a must for any hiker. Always make sure someone knows where you are going. Here is a post from Barefoot Theory that talks about getting over your fears and has some great tips: https://bearfoottheory.com/hiking-alone/
3. Know when to say enough! You have to know your own limits or when to call it a day or a trip. Here is a post from REI. It is about the benefits of hiking alone: https://www.rei.com/blog/hike/benefits-hiking-alone
4. Last follow your gut and have fun! Enjoy what you are doing but, always be aware of your surroundings and use your instincts. Here is an article from Right Kind of Lost. She has several posts about solo hiking on her blog. http://www.rightkindoflost.com/solo-hiking-tips-for-your-safety/
Oh, and about my solo trip! It was so amazing! I overcame my fear of doing it alone and proved to my family, friends, and myself that I can! Here are some pictures from my trip. I stayed at De Gray Lake State Park in Arkansas. I took trails there and at Lake Catherine State Park. Hope you enjoy the pics till next time….keep Wandering! ❤