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by Diane Spicer
Solo hiking risks: a worthy topic for any female hiker.
I've been reading a lot lately about whether it's safe to hike by yourself as a woman.
Many voices paint a picture of the terrors, traumas and huge risks for a female alone on the trail.
Other voices chime in with testimonials of the freedom and rewards of going solo.
Who to trust?
Who to believe?
So I sat down and generated a list of risks any hiker faces when out on the trail, and put them into "unavoidable" and "avoidable" categories.
Now the comparative question becomes:
"Is a solo female at higher risk?"
That's the whole point, right? To get out into Mother Nature's big playground and see what there is to see.
But what if she surprises you with a spectacular display of power?
Or catches you off guard when you're just cruising down the trail minding your own business?
Most of the following risks can be avoided to a certain extent by staying on top of changing weather conditions and checking weather forecasts and trail reports before you hit the trail.
But not everything on this list is completely avoidable.
That's where advance planning and knowledge are going to be your ace in the hole.
b) Earthquakes: Big worries include landslides and rock fall
c) Fire: What to do if a forest fire breaks out near you?
e) Lightning (dry or storm associated)
f) Floods: flash, storm associated, getting trapped by washed out bridges, or uncross-able streams afterwards
a) People acting weird or giving off weird vibes
c) Verbal harassment
d) Annoying trail behaviors (loud music, trash, etc)
a) Bears: Think through what to do BEFORE you're face to face with this large mammal.
d) Tick bites
e) Chewing rodents (cute tho' they may be)
Hiking means taking calculated risks, and never being able to eliminate these risk entirely.
c) Unexpected exposure to cold weather (gear failure, falling into a river, bad planning) leading to hypothermia
d) Water crossings gone bad: Don't get in over your head!
e) Overheating in extreme temperatures
a) Being alone
b) Social ridicule
c) Getting lost
d) Loss of solitude
e) The dark (plus rustling in the bushes outside your tent)
f) A woman backpacking alone: specific risks
Be sure to read this about gaining solo hiking confidence.
a) Over reliance on technology
c) Over confidence
d) Not carrying the ten essentials
Drop me a line and I'll add it to the list.
And if you have an illuminating anecdote we can all learn from, please include that as well.
Solo Hiking Risks
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