Going on one’s first solo hike is one of the most significant steps for any outdoorsman or woman may take in their adventure career. While many people camp and backpack, only a few are willing to hike alone.
The payoffs may be substantial for individuals who take the initiative. Hiking alone provides time to reflect, avoids responding to others’ preferences, and tests your courage. However, it might be challenging to overcome many personal anxieties while hiking alone. Even experienced backpackers, even those who have travelled alone on many occasions, sometimes struggle with the idea of being alone.
Anything, particularly after sunset, might make a single hiker nervous. Preparing to tackle your fears might be the difference between leaving early or completing the trip. Here are 10 Tips on How to Overcome Fear of Hiking Alone.
10 Tips on How to Overcome Fear of Hiking Alone:
If you’re thinking of heading on your first solo trip, here are some guidelines to keep you safe and at peace.
1) Pack All The Essential Gear
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you probably bring a lot of stuff with you when you go hiking, but here are the basics for venturing out on your own.
Water is most likely already on your list; carrying a liter or two with you is the easiest way to remain hydrated, but since you will be alone, you may want to pack some water purification pills in case you run out of drinking water.
Bring a whistle with you. If you get distracted, a whistle will be considerably louder than your voice.
Carry an extra layer of clothes in your bag at all times because if you get lost in the woods, this is the best method to remain warm as the temperature falls. Another helpful suggestion is to pack a flashlight, additional batteries, and a knife. A knife, in particular, may be beneficial. You can, for example, chop wood if you need to build a fire.
When hiking alone, it is a good idea to pack a small first-aid kit. You never know when you may need one, and with no one around, you can assist yourself swiftly.
Toilet paper, binoculars, trash bags, wet wipes, and extra food are all things that are not necessary but are good to have on the route.
2) Pick An Easy Trail For Your First Hike:
Choose a road that seems to be simple. It’s even better if it’s also a busy path since you’ll never be completely alone, and there will always be someone to assist you if you need help. You may choose a way you’ve been on, so you know what to anticipate.
Hiking a well-known route might help you feel more at ease about hiking alone. You must remain on the road and not wander; there are fewer possibilities of being lost.
3) Acknowledge The Risks:
Facing your anxieties is the most effective method to overcome them. What are you afraid of when it comes to trekking alone? Of course, hiking is not without risk; there is the possibility of being lost, assaulted by other hikers (particularly female hikers), attacked by an animal, natural hazards, or injuring oneself.
These are the most typical risks that every hiker may encounter, whether in a group or on their own. Which one makes you the most nervous? Yes, there will always be a danger, but the first step to overcoming fear is to attempt it. Perhaps the source of your anxiety is your assumptions or lack of previous experience.
4) Tell Someone Where You’re Going:
Before you go on a solo trek, provide a detailed description of the route to a trusted friend or family member. Tell them how long you anticipate being away and that you will call as soon as you reach a populated area.
Consider obtaining a Garmin inReach Explorer GPS if you want to be extra cautious. This handy small communication gadget enables you to send text messages to family and friends. If anything goes wrong, you can send a help signal with your position to emergency personnel 24/7. It also monitors your status.
5) Check The Weather:
We suggest going on your first solo trek on a day when the weather is clear. While I like hiking in the rain, it does bring additional risks that should be avoided when you first begin hiking alone. Please check the weather report before stepping outside.
Even if it seems to be a bright day, bring a lightweight rain jacket and layers in case the weather changes unexpectedly, or you arrive later than expected.
6) Don’t Wear Headphones:
We like listening to music while hiking, and it can be relaxing. If you’re hiking alone, leave the headphones at home. It’s essential to look out for things like animals, other hikers, and sudden weather changes. You never know.
Therefore, We recommend that you listen to the sounds of nature. That way, you won’t be startled if the sky suddenly darkens, another hiker comes up behind you unexpectedly, or something rustles in the woods. If you decide to hike with headphones, keep the level down and one earbud out so you can hear what’s happening around you.
7) Trust Your Instincts:
Something is probably not as it seems if you have doubts about it. Do you believe it’s too late to continue? Please turn around. Are you concerned about a weirdo who gave you a strange look? Take a defensive stance. Hiking alone is not the time to take risks. Always believe in your senses.
Furthermore, you’re out there for some me-time and relaxation, or maybe some me-time and fitness. In any case, you don’t have to talk to everyone you encounter. It’s OK to smile and go on; you don’t have to engage in conversation, particularly if you’re uncomfortable.
8) Start Small & Build Confidence:
If this is your first solo hike, take it easy. Set out on a small path (1-2 hours) to gradually gain confidence for a long day trek. Alternatively, turn around about an hour into your journey and go a bit farther the next time.
9) Know About The Local Wildlife:
It’s essential to be aware of native wildlife and how to react in the event of a wildlife encounter while hiking alone. It is very uncommon for solo hikers to accidentally surprise and frighten a bear in their habitat because of their sudden, unexpected approach.
As a result, in regions with significant bear activity, it’s best to pack bear spray, walk in groups, and make different noises to avoid catching bears off guard. We suggest researching local animals in the region before you go so you know what to expect.
10) Know Your Limits:
The best part about solo hiking is that you can determine your own pace. When you’re alone, you might be more ambitious and push yourself harder. Focus on the scenery and go at a speed that is neither too sluggish nor too fast.
Believe your guts. Turn back if you fear it’s becoming too late. Get out your pepper spray and be ready to protect yourself if you feel you’re being followed. When hiking alone, you should always follow your instinct.
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Going into the wilderness, alone or in a group, always has hazards. While you can never eliminate the danger, the chances of anything terrible occurring are low. The most challenging element is not avoiding risk but rather overcoming anxiety.
The more you backpack alone, the more at ease you’ll be with each trip. Even during a single journey, fear typically fades with time. The advantages of spending time alone in the woods generally exceed the hazards involved. I hope you enjoyed this article and if you think I forgot something or if you simply want to share a story or some advice, please leave a comment in the section below. But for now… Be Safe And Have Fun.!