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#166335 - 02/04/09 02:01 AM Thoughts on solo hiking. Is it wise to or not?
Sherpadog
Unregistered


In another thread, it ws mentioned that "hiking solo is dangerous". The purpose of this post is to discuss a couple common questions/concerns. Do you think that solo hiking is wise and safe? Or do you think that solo hiking is dumb and dangerous?

Also is a female hiking solo more at risk then a male hiking solo.

These topics have been discussed many times on other dedicated hiking/backpacking forums we participate in and be interesting to read the discussions here.


I'll start....I know from much personal experience and the experience of many other people that solo hiking can be safe. As I mentioned in a previous post, while hiking alone, you need to be prepared, mentally, physically and gear wise. If you meet and continuously follow all three of these requirements. Furthermore, hiking solo also imparts more importance on leaving friends and family comple and exact details of your hike....this applies regardless of gender.

As to wisdom of females hiking solo, I posed this question to my G/F tonight. Her response was:

Although I am female and have done many solo hiking and running training sessions (note: she is an ex adventure racer and speaking in this context) over all kinds of wilderness and I have never feared for my safety whether it be human or animals. In fact, the only time I have ever been approached by anyone in an ill manner is when I am in the city. I fear more for my safety in a city then I do out in the woods.

Thoughts on all the above?

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#166343 - 02/04/09 02:32 AM Re: Thoughts on solo hiking. Is it wise to or not? [Re: ]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
I like going out by myself, if for no other reasons that I set my pace, no one else does. I don't think I'm am significantly less safe alone than I am with most of my hiking friends simply becuase if something goes wrong and I'm out of it, most of them can't carry me. (Most of my friends are a lot smaller than I am.) So... they can run and get help while I take care of myself, or I can take care of myself and they can send out the call if I'm overdue as they are my safety people. *shrugs* Yes, there is a slight safety edge by going out in a group, I don't think it is enough for me to NOT solo.

As for the gender based issue, snot, dirty ears, and other comments. The male vs female threat issues are no different off than on the black top, and are due more to the popular conception of femininity vs masculinity in society. Woman don't have the potential upper body of men, they have higher potential stamina, it all evens out in the wash. I'd rather keep it free of certain prejudices and say lets compare people, regardless of gender, based on body size and degree of fitness when it comes to non-human hazards.

Then again, my grandmother was a competitive shooter in college, and "held the fort" when my grandfather was in the hills when they lived in Liberia. My mother taught me to throw knives. And my little sister is a better medic and a MUCH better mechanic than I am. :P The whole dainty, shy, shrinking violet kind of girl really was culture shock for me when I got to grade school, and still not the kind of girl I'm interested in. I'm pretty sure Ben's daughters fit into the same class, and in 12-15 years, any boy breaking the heart of one of Blast's daughters might be best off just going into witness protection.
_________________________
-IronRaven

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#166347 - 02/04/09 03:04 AM Re: Thoughts on solo hiking. Is it wise to or not? [Re: ]
bilojax Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 36
I'm an active canoer, and as you can imagine, this topic gets a lot of attention on canoeing forums. The bottom line is that while, yes, it may be a little more dangerous, aficianados find it so much more enjoyable that the modest increase in danger is well worth it.

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#166348 - 02/04/09 03:07 AM Re: Thoughts on solo hiking. Is it wise to or not? [Re: bilojax]
bilojax Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 36
P.S. The above does not apply to whitewater canoeing of class III or above. Here, there are so many ways for a single person to get in trouble that a partner can cure, that it's not considered to be worth it. In the hiking world, maybe this would be analogous to steep trails where falls are a major danger.

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#166349 - 02/04/09 03:09 AM Re: Thoughts on solo hiking. Is it wise to or not? [Re: bilojax]
Desperado Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
To each his own. I would not choose to go solo without exigent circumstances being involved. I knew my spotter would either drag my corpse back, or mark the map where he buried it.


Edited by Desperado (02/04/09 03:14 AM)
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I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.

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#166350 - 02/04/09 03:33 AM Re: Thoughts on solo hiking. Is it wise to or not? [Re: Desperado]
lifeview Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 05/09/06
Posts: 80
Loc: Nashville,TN USA
Iíve pondered this on and off and have mixed thoughts. Having a friend(s) along can help keep a minor event from turning into something more serious, thatís an important fact. ButÖhiking alone lets you keep a distance from the influence of your rowdy friends to do something foolish (approaching storm???-itíll blow over) and makes it a little easier to be prudent. Cleaning windows at home can be as dangerous as a solo day hike. You prepare, try to be smart about the activity at hand and resign yourself to the fact that life can be a crapshoot, gender notwithstanding.
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LifeView Outdoors

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#166351 - 02/04/09 03:33 AM Re: Thoughts on solo hiking. Is it wise to or not? [Re: bilojax]
CANOEDOGS Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1821
Loc: MINNESOTA

i'm more of a walker than hiker.i don't like to carry a load on my back all day.like bilojax i canoe,lots of solos over the years..a month a year over 25 or so years.solo is almost a Zen sort of art to alot of people,like taking to the big trails out east for the summer.as to the question --wise or not--i'll say that having done your basic homework it would be foolish not to take to the woods on your own if the spirit struck you so.

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#166354 - 02/04/09 03:56 AM Re: Thoughts on solo hiking. Is it wise to or not? [Re: Desperado]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2593
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Almost all of my hiking and backpacking has been solo. I honestly prefer it that way; I wouldn't get the same depth of cleansing, meditation, renewal, call it what you want, in amongst a gaggle of geese. If I want a crowd, I'll go to the mall.

I have always accepted that there is an increased degree of risk in walking solo.

But: when the nearest help is at least 48-72 hours away, you act differently. You prepare a bit more deeply. And a solo walker tends to be much more conservative in taking risks than a group.

And to be realistic, it is considerably more dangerous to drive to a hiking trail than to hike on that trail. That puts it in some perspective. So does that fact that a downtown parkade makes me much more edgy, spidey-sense-wise, than an open trail.

That's my take anyway. I see no good reason to change.

- - - - - - - - -

Pleasant quotes on the subject:

"Although "solitude" and "loneliness" describe identical physical conditions, the mental states stand poles apart."
-Colin Fletcher

"The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off."
- H.D. Thoreau

"A bore is a person who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company."
- John MacDonald (?)

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#166357 - 02/04/09 04:22 AM Re: Thoughts on solo hiking. Is it wise to or not? [Re: ]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Assuming that you are talking backpacking in the boonies type hiking, I don't think that solo is all that great an idea, just 'cuz it is sooo easy to hurt yourself to the point that you need help. No partner, help might be a long time coming. As far as bad guys go, it is my experience that they are lazy SOB's. They might break into your car while it is parked at the trailhead, or try to jump you near the parking lot, but they ain't gonna hump ten or so miles back into the boonies to work their trade...
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OBG

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#166369 - 02/04/09 05:28 AM Re: Thoughts on solo hiking. Is it wise to or not? [Re: ]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
Most injuries occur inside homes.
Never stay home alone.

---
Lifeview's comment about that is right.
_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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