Author Topic: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.  (Read 850 times)

tbown1

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Hi Everybody! :)
Until a few months ago Id never really spent the time to think too deeply about hiking, but speaking to many friends that share a passion for it opened my eyes to the great things that come from it. One of the main things I heard them talking about was the experience of connecting with nature alone, whilst out in the wilderness by themselves. This really peaked my interest in solo hiking, hearing them talking about something that to me at the time sounded so frightening in such a meaningful and inspirational way really drew me in to the whole concept.


So now the point of this post, I would really love to go out into nature and reconnect with it on a personal level on my own. I started to research into the topic to gain some more knowledge, weighing up the pros and cons to get an idea of what I was getting myself into.


What I found really motivated me to get out there; My goal is to take myself out of the busy world filled with so much information and take some time to learn more about myself and the beautiful nature that surrounds us.


This is where I need your help. Taking the leap to go alone is massive, and Im very fearful of doing it. so how do I get started? How do I walk solo and discover myself within nature without being so fearful?


What did you solo hikers do for your first solo hike, and are there any tips that you could share with me? The amount of time I spend outdoors makes me wonder too, If I want to stay a night.. is it best to find refuge somewhere or camp and what do I need to take for my experience to be enjoyable, but to not have a backpack so overbearing that it may ruin my experience?


I really want to get out there, and Im so excited to do it I just need some help to push me and give myself a full immersion in the natural world!
Thanks for reading! ;D
tbown1

gunwharfman

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #1 on: 17:49:47, 05/12/17 »
I personally started by concentrating on our National Trails and I camp! My reasoning was that at some point I would either meet people going my way or coming the other way. I also decided to hike to known camping sites, which gives a feeling of security to the mind. My starting hike was a bit dumb, I chose to hike South to North on the Pennine Way. I totally underestimated the demand on me and the weight I was carrying but even after these mistakes I felt I had done the right thing. I started at Edale, camped the night there, people around me so it was fine. I then walked on to Cowden and stayed they night at that site. By now I felt I was an 'expert' and spent the next few days going from site to site. The other bonus for me was the Pennine Way had loads of small villages, pubs and other places to eat. I was soon in the swing of things. I did the route without the need for a wild camp.

Wild camping came later. I still in various situations and places feel somewhat nervous but I now just treat wild camping as part of the overall expereience.

I do not like it where I am nowhere near a pub at the end of the day but of course sometimes it can't be avoided, I find a hip flask with Brandy in it compensates. I also, when necessary will also hitchhike, especially if I'm lost or the weather is so bad I just want to be somewhere else. Only came out of an area a few times but for me it often helps. As far as possible I just hitch back to where I left off.

gunwharfman

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #2 on: 18:34:46, 05/12/17 »
I've on skimmed on the barest of essentialls of course and what I did then and do now suits me. The other matter I forgot to mention, because I camp, was to learn how best to deal with arrival at a site and how to wind down my day and how to get up in the mornings, what to do, in what sequence and so on. So in the evenings its all about erecting my tent, organising my gear, attending to my personal hygeine, washing a couple of clothing items and so on, then hopefully down to the pub. I learned over time how to develop a regular routine for myself. In the morning my personal routine is to get up, keep busy, pack everything and start hiking as soon as possible. I usually just munch a choccy bar and drink water but only stop properly about 2 hours later, by then I feel alert, my head is into gear and I've been able to think about my coming day.


Hillhiker1

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #3 on: 18:40:49, 05/12/17 »

Why not go out with some of your walking friends to learn some routes before striking alone? (Or if they really must go alone lead / follow with a 10 minute lag.) Also (As I'm sure most on here would agree) be sure to take a map of the area with you and know how to use it. (If you don't already) A GPSr is also a very useful tool, but don't rely on the one on your phone..


Walking alone is great, but for me; all the more relaxing when you already know the route as you don't need to navigate. Exploring a new route is less relaxing as you're concentrating on the Nav, so I concentrate on the route more than the surroundings. Next time out is much more enjoyable.


Jump in and have a go, it's probably not as daunting as you're expecting.


AVOID COWS!  ;D ;D ;D Evil things!! Sheep are fine. O0

gunwharfman

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #4 on: 19:02:39, 05/12/17 »
I agree, avoid cows!

Slogger

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #5 on: 19:31:02, 05/12/17 »
Cows are ok, some people just react to them badly. :o
Seriously though, start with a short walk not too far from a road, maybe find a lake or reservoir with a path around it, a circular walk. just a few miles at first, then maybe up a valley and back the same way, then an easy ridge with a good path on it maybe dropping down to the valley path to return to your starting point. Progress at your own rate.
To help with confidence why not if you can afford it, purchase a Tracker device. they work on GPS so don't need a phone signal which may be absent in the country area. In an emergency they have a button which summons Mountain Rescue to your location (obviously to be used as an extreme last resort).
http://https://www.memory-map.co.uk/spot-gen3-satellite-gps-tracker-messenger?gclid=CjwKCAiApJnRBRBlEiwAPTgmxJXOVlqWfNNd1FKA0ekfmDn0nv_e0VekLhWzesxl9U38RD-z3rvDxBoCR6YQAvD_BwE
 
« Last Edit: 19:41:32, 05/12/17 by Slogger »

Ridge

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #6 on: 20:32:03, 05/12/17 »
Interesting first post tbown1. Good advice from Slogger, take it slowly not pushing your comfort zone too far and your confidence will grow.


Where in the world are you? How old? and, while it makes no difference to you ability it may colour you anxieties, what sex?
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

Islandplodder

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #7 on: 21:52:33, 05/12/17 »

I quite like hostels if I'm doing multi day on my own, they can be quite convivial in the evening.  But you don't have to socialise if you don't want to.
But I don't camp, I can't carry that kind of weight any more.
As has been said, just go for a walk, and build up gradually.  If you are feeling nervous, maybe don't do your first walks in remote areas where you won't meet anyone.

route2rock

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #8 on: 01:19:20, 06/12/17 »
I notice that you mention wanting to know more about the nature you are walking through. I was quite amazed just how much there is to see if you start looking. I also found that the closer I looked at things, the easier it was to get that sense of being alone in the world. Spending time sitting just a very short distance from a path and looking at every detail, it is easy to find that sense of isolation.

As others have said, build your confidence and skills slowly, as you build your ability, you can push out further.

If you are really not confident, try going out a few times with someone experienced, to increase your navigation, or basic nature knowledge or camping skiĺls, as this will give you the greatest confidence.

Where are you based in the UK?
Find out what I've been up to @ http://www.instagram.com/route2rock :)

mananddog

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #9 on: 07:56:38, 06/12/17 »

I mostly walk alone, I used to walk just with my dog but he is too old to come long distances with me. I agree with those above, find a short route you are familiar with and spend a night out camping. Once you experience solitude you will know if you are cut out for multiday solo walking. Some people find they get lonely, I never do. I am often alone but never lonely. some one once called me a bit of a loner, I say I am just comfortable with my own company. I like company at the right time - but when I decide to walk alone I mean to be alone.


I can stare for hours at the countryside. On my last trip I pitched my tent and because of a freezing wind, sat in the doorway and just sat looking at a narrow stretch of river, watching the yellow wagtails and dippers in the water and on the wing. After a while my reverie was interrupted by my back starting to ache. I looked at my watch and realised I had been just looking at a 5m stretch of river for well over an hour. This happens so often and I love it. One of my best times was looking at a Scottish sea-loch for hours not moving. A pod of dolphins went by then an otter, lots of sea birds, buzzards. Not even the cold wind could move me that day

barewirewalker

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #10 on: 11:30:15, 06/12/17 »
[/font][/size]Hi Everybody! :)  [/size]Until a few months ago I’d never really spent the time to think too deeply about hiking,  I would really love to go out into nature and reconnect with it on a personal level on my own. I started to research into the topic to gain some more knowledge, weighing up the pros and cons to get an idea of what I was getting myself into. take some time to learn more about myself and the beautiful nature that surrounds us.
 and give myself a full immersion in the natural world!
Thanks for reading! ;D 
tbown1


M&D has touched on that bit that so often gets left out and I often wonder if in their rush to get to national parks, many lose sight of that, which might be on there own doorsteps. Even in a large city, a train or bus journey will drop you off, where you can reach these places and a few hours will help in building up the skills of recognizing many of those little things that make the connections you are seeking.


The first thing is finding your way about. No other poster has mentioned 'paper maps', learning to read one of these 'archaic relics' gives confidence in finding places beyond, 'start' and 'finish', that is where you might want to go. Special places so often start with the tops of hills where the visual senses are overpowered by stunning views, though seeing a kingfisher take a fish right in front of your eyes may stay in your memory longer.
I married a country girl, but Mrs BWW was trailer-ed up with ponies and paraded around gymkhanas for much of her childhood, where as I grew up with a gun in my hand and had to rely on the vermin I killed to supplement my pocket money. Seeing the twitch of a pair of black ears was 7/6d, if I was fast enough to get my reactions together before the enormous burst of energy a field hare  can put into its sprint start. Little pointers, that are a legacy from this past, have allowed me to help Mrs BWW develop skills of perception that often beat me in picking up on the scent of a fox or hearing the first drumming of a woodpecker. She always now hears a cuckoo's call on the wind long before my hearing aids can give me a hearing of them.


I may no be allowed to go where I used to, as I did when I was young, nor do I want to. But the blessed Ordnance  Survey map will show me places where I am likely to find dragon flies dancing in the air or a dell that will be overpowered by the scent of garlic in the early spring as Ransom comes through.


I wish you well, in your quest and hope you find what you are looking for or hope to find.
« Last Edit: 11:33:35, 06/12/17 by barewirewalker »
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

Deolman

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #11 on: 12:13:41, 06/12/17 »
I very much enjoy solo walking. You can explore at your leisure, stop and take photos, take a rest break when you want etc. etc. I use walking world a lot, the navigation instructions are very clear, and there is a wide selection of walks to suit your capabilities/requirements. In addition to all the advice which has been given I would advise some consideration to safety.  Mobile phone coverage in the countryside is patchy to say the least and cannot be relied on should you be in a situation where you need emergency assistance. Following my second heart attack in 2015 I now use a SPOT Gen 3 personal tracker which uses GPS rather than the mobile phone signals. This allows my family to follow my walk on the internet and also lets me send pre-recorded messages to my daughters phone to let her know I am ok. It also has an 'SOS' button which can be used in a life threatening emergency.  At the beginning of Oct I had to use this after having a suspected heart attack whilst walking in Wales and it worked extremely well and I had the emergency services in attendance within twenty minutes of raising the alarm. There is an annual subscription fee to pay but I feel for peace of mind it is a price well worth paying.

Semigoodlookin

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #12 on: 21:57:29, 06/12/17 »
Like GunWharf, I underestimated the task of my first long walk, which was over six days and a distance I was ill-equipped to do. I was not fit enough, my pack was too heavy, and it was utterly miserable. However, I still enjoyed the experience and it got me the bug.


Walking alone has never bothered me, nor has sleeping anywhere alone. However, if you are uneasy, find a trail or mountain that is busy. Walk it on your own to at least see if you have the bug. People will be around, but you will be experiencing it on your own. Loving the idea of hiking and actually loving it in practice are different. Also, consider your chosen route and ensure you are fit enough. Don't over do it with your pack. First time or newer hikers tend to take the kitchen sink. Really think about what you need and don't.


Finally, make sure your footwear is spot on in terms of fit, comfort, waterproofing, and being broken in. A crappy boot experience first time out could put you off ever wanting to hike again.

fernman

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #13 on: 17:13:35, 08/12/17 »
I now use a SPOT Gen 3 personal tracker which uses GPS rather than the mobile phone signals. This allows my family to follow my walk on the internet and also lets me send pre-recorded messages to my daughters phone to let her know I am ok. It also has an 'SOS' button which can be used in a life threatening emergency.

If anyon'es interested, an independent, non-commercial review of another one, the RescueMe PLB1 Personal Locator Beacon, has appeared here https://blogpackinglight.wordpress.com/ today.

I think I'll wait until I get a bit more old and doddery before I spend that much on one, though, and if my wife was paying she would certainly think long and hard about it  :)

Ridge

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Re: I'm Scared... Taking the leap of hiking on my own.
« Reply #14 on: 17:19:29, 08/12/17 »
Not that I want to curtail an interesting topic as it may be useful for lots of people but the original poster has only ever logged on to the forum for the half hour in which they started this topic.
Though they may I suppose have been following it off line.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where