If not NOW, then WHEN?
My first backpacking trips in college were done solo. Didn't know anyone who liked that sort of thing. Never was in scouts so I started with simple overnighters in good weather as I dealt with the learning curve; no internet back then. Not much has changed since then as 95% of the time I'm sill hiking or backpacking solo.
I just celebrated my 50th birthday by going the day before my birthday and hiking alone up Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. As I was sitting on a cliff and watching sunset I thought to myself that if is what the first 50 years is like I can't wait for the next 50.
Make sure you are comfortable with your skills and get out there and enjoy that time by yourself. I have a friend I hike with but it is good to get away and relax and be a little selfish and only have to worry about your own hike and nothing else.
I hiked the Ouachita Trail here in Arkansas all by myself. It's only 223 miles long, but it's pretty unknown by most people. An example of this was when I got to the end, I was talking to two other day hikers in the state park that it ends at and they had no idea that the trail was so long. Point is, I would have been screwed if something had happened to me. Fortunetly I made it out ok. Like most people have said, just use common sense.
We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
the big advantage of hiking alone.. there's no one else about to make you feel you are too slow or too fast. Plus.. when I go alone.. I love the company!
10-K I love this sentiment.
One step at a time and presence is so important.
One step at a time even in a storm, is not as paralyzing as the thought of all those steps together.
I too would like to find a good partner to do more hiking with. I am a member of the Nashville Backpackers meetup group that RainMan refers to. The problem i have is i had surgery on my feet and do not want to commit to hiking in a group because i do not want to slow them down. So Solo for me right now. The problem with that , for me is i can't stand my company
I start out the Day with nothing and by the end of the Day I still have most of it.
I love hiking alone and setting my own pace - it helps me do big miles, think about things, I focus on things that matter in a clear headed way. I so love to hike alone all day and then meet other folks (if I'm on the AT or other big trail) at night that are roughly on my same pace - hiking with others for a bit is fun passing folks, having them get ahead of you, all this is fun but basically going it alone gives you lots of options
There was an Old Man with a owl,
Who continued to bother and howl;
He sat on a rail, And imbibed bitter ale,
Which refreshed that Old Man and his owl. . WOO <Audio
"You do more hiking with your head than your feet!" Emma "Grandma" Gatewood...HYOY!!!
Southbound solo thru-hike. Never had a hiking partner. Went from Katahdin to Monson without seeing a soul. Didn't see anyone on the trail until some day hikers coming off of Avery Peak. Didn't share a shelter until Grafton Notch.
It was my 2nd backpacking trip.
I developed a simple set of rules that gave me great comfort then and on subsequent trips:
1) As best you can, let family members or friends know where you are.
2) Plan, plan, and replan. Preparation is mandatory when hiking alone.
3) Try to never camp within 2 miles of a road. Jerks aren't going to hike an hour to harass you.
4) When first meeting small (less than 4) groups of people on the trail, be vague about the size of your group, where you're going, and where you've been. Once they've earned your trust, then you can divulge this info.
5) Minimize time in towns and don't let townsfolks know your details (same thought process as above).
6) Always know where the nearest road out is, in case of an emergency.
There's so much advice to not hike alone, but I've always been aggravated that no one has devoted more emphasis on how to do it safely.
I grew up and live near Philly...........being in the woods is tons safer
To me being alone in the woods is awesome...................the core issue is self-confidence
Pretty basic stuff..........the AT is not too far from anywhere, common sense rules.
It's pretty impossible to hike alone on the AT now.
I did it for 1000 miles back in the 1970's and almost always had shelters to myself or maybe one other.
But there are just too many people now.
Find a different trail, or go in the extreme off season if you want to be alone.
Last year in April-May I hiked the VA AT, and we counted the north-bounders as we approached Damascus. It was never less than 30, and the high number was 80. If you hike for 8 hrs that's passing someone every 6 minutes.
Why do you say use water bottles rather than bladders?