Hiking with a group has its advantages, it’s easier because you can share, and it is more secure.
Hiking with another person has many benefits and before hiking a trail in unfamiliar terrain, perhaps try and find a hiking buddy via social media platforms like Meetup, Facebook etc. Hiking with another person will increase the chances that in case of emergency or unexpected event, help will come on time and save you more quickly. Also, it`s easier to share the load and split the carrying of the gear. Sometimes it can also mean that trail will be finished earlier than predicted.
We all have had situations in life when we cannot reconcile our plans and wishes with others’ and decide to do things on our own, if we are brave enough.
One of those things is solo hiking, both on familiar and unfamiliar terrains, and more and more people are deciding to do this for multiple reasons.
Before taking a solo hike, it is important to take the proper precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some tips:
- Plan your hike to the small details. Include weather forecasts, type of terrain, potential dangers on the trail, how to get help, tidal information etc.
- Be sure that your physical condition is optimal to complete such a hike,
- Ensure someone at home is familiar with your hiking plan, finishing/starting days in case they have to get a help for you,
- Explore how to best protect yourself from wild animal encounters,
- Be adventurous but realistic,
- Stay on the trail, because there is a lower possibility of meeting wild animal there. They usually avoid people and noise,
- Take the extra steps to use the bridge when crossing rivers or streams. If none is available, go to a spot where the water is shallow. A deep, fast-moving stream can easily knock you over.
- If you lose trail makers, retrace your steps to the last one you saw and check for other marks,
- If you get lost… S.T.O.P
- S – Stay calm, relax, sit down, and take a sip of water, breathe slowly.
- T – Think. Get out your map and see what you can learn.
- O – Observe. Look for landmarks, look for footprints.
- P – Plan. If you know the route, go carefully and mark your trail along the way.
- And if you’re really unsure, stay in one place, don’t panic! It’s a rule of the woods. You’re easier to find that way. Periodically blow your whistle three times. Three blasts of the whistle is an international distress call.