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#205660 - 07/07/21 09:06 PM Going Solo
Hey Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/21
Posts: 19
Whether its a day hike or a long hike, any advice you have for going solo?

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#205663 - 07/07/21 09:37 PM Re: Going Solo [Re: Hey]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3186
Loc: Portland, OR
It's a big subject for such a small question.

The main advice is to understand your limits, understand your environment, and understand your risks. The less hiking experience you have, the smaller your base of knowledge about all of these. The benefit of hiking with others when you have little experience is that your hiking partner(s) can pool their experience with yours and the available knowledge base gets that much bigger. When you are on your own, you're the whole show.

The good news is that no one is born with hiking experience. We all learn as we go. Just don't jump into the deep end right away. Ever hear the expression "a babe in the woods"? Until you have a good base of knowledge about what to expect, that's you.


Start small and feel your way forward when you enter zones of experience that are unfamiliar. Leave yourself an out and give yourself permission to turn around. Read books. Study maps. Learn to read the weather. Practice with your equipment before you need to rely on it and discover you can't.

That should get the discussion started. wink

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#205667 - 07/08/21 09:35 AM Re: Going Solo [Re: Hey]
Arizona Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 191
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of stellar navigation skills, not simply working at it but really giving it all you have got. This is a very complex subject.

Exposure can kill you in three hours so make sure you have insulation and rain/wind gear no matter the forecast.

Other than the 10 Essentials and related skills, being mindful is an important highlight of the tradecraft.

Be safe and listen to your intuition.

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#205668 - 07/08/21 09:42 AM Re: Going Solo [Re: Arizona]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2096
Loc: Napa, CA
I would add an old sailing rule: The first time you think about reefing is time to reef."

If you think you may be dehydrated, getting cold, getting lost, getting out of sorts---that's the time to do something about it right away. Because there is nobody else on the trip to serve as a sounding board or get your read end out of trouble if you screw up.

That said, hiking solo isn't death defying unless you make it so. Start slow and easy, stay on popular trails to begin with, and you'll be fine.

If you are female, I would suggest a more considered approach, depending on where you will be hiking.
_________________________
Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/

Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963

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#205669 - 07/08/21 10:50 AM Re: Going Solo [Re: Hey]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 887
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Location makes a big difference. For the easy local trails we have around here, I wouldn't hesitate to hike solo. In high rugged exposed lightning prone grizzly country crossing steep talus fields and snow and wading raging streams, I wouldn't. Some do, but we all weigh the risks and decide what we can personally accept.
_________________________
The journey is more important than the destination.

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#205675 - 07/08/21 05:35 PM Re: Going Solo [Re: balzaccom]
Arizona Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 191
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
“ hiking solo isn't death defying”

Very true. I did my first off trail overnight solo intentionally to my parents great concern and anger when I was found the next day a mile from home when I was 4 years old and made another unsuccessful attempt that same year. I love solo so much. You depend upon you. I do feel the need to be mindful is somewhat magnified.


Edited by Arizona (07/08/21 05:36 PM)

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#205678 - 07/09/21 01:33 AM Re: Going Solo [Re: Arizona]
Hey Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/21
Posts: 19
I have a feeling at some point I will be at least one solo hike. My family is not as into it as I am.
I did read about a man missing since July 4th in White Sands, NM. They found his body this morning.
The one thing that bothers me is water. Cant ever have too much water.

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#205679 - 07/09/21 09:06 AM Re: Going Solo [Re: Hey]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2096
Loc: Napa, CA
It depends on where you hike. WE just completed a four day hike in the Sierra where the trail was never more than 100 yards from a cascading creek. No reason to carry lots of water on that trail.
_________________________
Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/

Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963

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#205680 - 07/09/21 09:31 AM Re: Going Solo [Re: Hey]
Arizona Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 191
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
Originally Posted By Hey
I have a feeling at some point I will be at least one solo hike. My family is not as into it as I am.
I did read about a man missing since July 4th in White Sands, NM. They found his body this morning.
The one thing that bothers me is water. Cant ever have too much water.


White Sands and other desert places are not suitable areas to be out in this time of year with the intense heat. The old saying is three minutes without oxygen, three hours of exposure to the elements, three days without water and three weeks without food. In the heat of the deserts three days without water might be a stretch. You can greatly conserve your moisture if you stay in the shade, being still during the hottest hours by about two times the days without shade and moving around.

In the desert you can go out every day but keep it to the early morning hours before sunrise and be back in by early mid morning. And yes, take more water than you will need. We’ve done that many thousands of times.

The heat kills a lot of people every year out here. However many people go out with the proper clothing, supplies and knowledge over and over all year round with much pleasure. Sure there are running creeks in our canyons and mountains but we find a beauty in the surreal desert that has a constant draw upon us. Not a good time of year to do an overnight in the desert though and the mountains are getting too much monsoon activity with lightning.

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#205682 - 07/09/21 06:59 PM Re: Going Solo [Re: Arizona]
Hey Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/21
Posts: 19
I am from New Mexico. Too many deadly stories. I dont live there now. Moved to Texas. Not only heat, but humidity! UGH! Nasty! We were taught at a young age exactly what you stated in your post above.

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#205683 - 07/09/21 09:08 PM Re: Going Solo [Re: Hey]
Arizona Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 191
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
I love northwestern New Mexico. We have gone back time and time again. There is a lot going on there. The Bisti/De-na-zin and the Ahshi-sle-pah are real favorites. Love just drifting around up there.

On our way back home once we stopped at White Sands and hiked around the magnificent dunes. We prefer the shoulder seasons. We didn’t see any shade in WSNM. It looked like it could be a bit difficult to not become turned around some. They had stakes to guide some routes but so much open dunes that when on farther and farther than it seemed possible. The distances were deceiving. It was a lot fun but in high heat the rays will hit you and bounce back up into you, reflecting off the light sands.

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