Why a Solo Hiking Trip is Just What You Need Now
A while back, The Onion published this hilarious article that instantly went viral: Woman’s Solo Hiking Trip Shockingly Doesn’t Have To Do With Inner Journey Or Anything. I think something like 95% of my friends sent it with me. Yes, I laughed along with everyone else, but it got me to thinking about all the reasons I do go on solo hikes and wilderness trail runs.
With COVID-19 limiting travel and other adventures, hiking has become a great way for women suffering from cabin fever to get away from home and recharge. And, while catastrophic events like the loss of a parent, or a devastating breakup certainly make heading out on a solo hike all the more desirable, but my life doesn’t have to be in shambles or coming apart for me to strap on my hiking boots and head out the door.
There’s no doubt that losing yourself among the trees for hours or days on end gives one plenty of time for introspection and the taming of demons, but I find that generally, I’m in a good mood before hitting the trail by myself.
6 Reasons I go on solo hikes
(and you should too)
I can: That’s right. I do it because I can, and it really isn’t that hard. I mean, who doesn’t want to wander through towering pines and kick back by secluded, babbling creeks? I’m not sure why hiking (solo hikes specifically) as a pastime has long been considered something only men can or should do but in truth, it’s really no big deal. If you own the right equipment and have done a little planning, going for a solo hike is far less complicated than buying groceries for the week.
To avoid the gym: In case you haven’t been made aware, hiking is actually a pretty amazing workout. According to Live Strong, a 160-pound adult burns between 430 and 440 calories per hour while hiking. That number increases dramatically when you add a weighted backpack or throw in a bit of an incline. If you are like me, and you can’t stand the idea of spending your days on a treadmill or lifting weights next to a muscle head who shouts with each bench press—hitting the trail solo might be perfect for you too.
To get away from people: Real alone time is hard to find these days. Even when you’re by yourself…you are not really alone. The internet and smartphones keep us connected to both the people and things we love, as well as everything else. The good news is, lots of hiking spots are out of cell tower range and in dead zones. That means you get a whole day of real solitude. Bliss!
For an inexpensive ass lift: I primarily hike in the Pacific Northwest. It’s difficult to find a hike that doesn’t involve at least a small ascent. In general, my treks include steep inclines which work my glutes and all of my leg muscles. Solo hikes uphill help keep your back end perky and almost always result in epic views. You just can’t lose.
Solo hikes work better than Xanax or Prozac: It’s not just me, research agrees that spending time in nature is a natural mood booster and stress reducer. You don’t have to hike far to reap the benefits. A short half hour trek is enough to change your outlook and help you relax.
Public nudity is acceptable: I love skinny dipping in natural pools and there’s no better time to get naked than when I’m alone in the woods. I’ve even hiked topless when the temps were unbearable a time or two. Guys sure have it good.
Hiking solo is fun. Nature is awesome. Sure, heading out alone comes with potential risks, as does going to the club on a Saturday night. Take precautions. Bring some sort of protection with you. I like to bring a canine companion along to help deter both animal and human threats. The wilderness is no longer “man’s territory”, women are perfectly capable of navigating the wild as well—even when we already have our shit together.