Solo Adventures

Solo ArchesIt’s typically a good idea to have a buddy when you head out into the wilderness. Not only is it nice to have the company of a friend, but it is significantly safer to be with somebody rather than to be on your own.

However, there is something to be said for solo adventures. The peace, the solitude, testing your mettle. It can be a rejuvenating experience. But there are some things to consider before heading out that door on your own.

Backpacking, camping, or even just hiking on your own requires special skills and preparation. Yes, it’s entirely possible to walk into the woods without a lick of sense and make it out the other side, but the odds are stacked against you. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to venture out by yourself.

  • It’s a good idea to leave a note. This should have important information like where you’re going, when you expect to be back, what you’re wearing, etc. This ensures that someone knows where you are and has some identifying information should you fail to make it back.
  • Have some outdoor skills under your belt. You should know things like basic first aid, how to identify plants (especially the ones that can cause you harm), and firestarting. The more you know the better.
  • If you’re camping or hiking by yourself, you will probably want to bring extra gear. Don’t bring just the minimum. You should pack a water purifier, water filter, emergency blanket, extra food, etc. Basically, you want to be prepared for an emergency.
  • Awareness isn’t something you can pack, but it is something you need for solo adventures. Keep up with your surroundings, watch for potential dangers like loose or slick rocks, snakes, etc. Identify landmarks at regular intervals and have a general sense of your location at all times.
  • Use your best judgement. Being on your own isn’t the time to take risks. No chasm jumps, no 50/50 river crossings. Take a longer, safer approach. Unnecessary risks are significantly more dangerous if you are flying solo.
  • You should be at a solid level of fitness. You don’t have to be in ultramarathon shape, but your definition of exercise can’t be lifting a pint glass. The better your physical condition, the safer you will be.
  • Know the forecast. If it’s going to be cold or rainy, pack the appropriate gear.

Of course, some relish the excitement of the unknown. Checking forecasts or sticking to familiar areas might seem like it contradicts the spirit of adventure, but when you’re relying on nobody but yourself, safety matters. Being prepared doesn’t inhibit adventure, it just makes those adventures safer.

One Comment

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