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Going Out Alone: Tips + Encouragement to Those Who Enjoy Flying Solo

Yesterday, I hiked my 10th 14er: Quandary Peak. This was my birthday-14er, as well as my 1st solo-14er. (Hi, mom & dad).


I know better than to get egotistical about being in Nature alone, because when it comes down to it, Nature will always win against the ego.

Having hiked around 20 peaks since moving to Colorado in March, I have learned a TON about hiking in the mountains*:

What to take

– Water.
– Food.
– Good Shoes: bad shoes can ruin a hike. I’m nursing two yucky heel-blisters right now.
– Trekking Poles and/or gel inserts to save your knees during descents.
– Breathable clothing.
– Layers: you will remove and put-on layers frequently during hikes above tree-line.
– ClifBar Bloks or that tasty Honey Stinger energy goo: these are amazing for bursts of energy!
– Water.
– Water.
– Water.
– A water filter in case you need to drink from a stream. I use the LifeStraw.
– Water.

What to know:

– The weather will change, and it is probably against you.
– Start early. Get off the peaks & back to tree-line before noon to be safe from afternoon storms.
– Leave water in your car, so when you run out on the trail, you have something to gulp down when you get back.
– Take waterproof everything – the weather can and WILL change on you!
– Tell more than one person your plans, time estimates, and check in if you happen to get service on the mountain. (Yesterday, I had service for my entire hike on Quandary).
– If something doesn’t feel right, LISTEN to that. Turn around, bail, etc. Intuition exists for a reason.

*These are MY findings. Nothing official or professional. Feel free to comment & tell me what I’ve missed, for I am still learning. 🙂 

Why Go Alone?:

Ladies, get ready for people to really care about you when they find out you want to do things like travel or hike alone. I don’t know if it’s the same for guys, but I get lots of cared concern from friends/family when I let them know I’m heading out (to hike) alone. I absolutely love going on hikes & traveling alone because I get to completely open up and take in everything around me. I also love going with people, because I get new perspectives and have great conversation.

However, if you do not normally venture out solo, here is why it’s a great thing to try:

– You learn more about yourself: when you’re out alone, you don’t have other people to silence your own thoughts. It gets interesting to see what your mind does when it’s unleashed.
– You can try new things, while nobody else is watching: it’s interesting to be by yourself and try things simply for the sake of trying them. You don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks, and you can fail or succeed, and then take pride in the fact that you gave it a try.
– You find confidence: doing things on your own shows you what you are capable of. Insane confidence-booster.
– You find new perspectives: take yourself out of the normal social situation: it leaves you with you. Your perspective can change just as much on your own, as in group gatherings. Allow yourself to see everything, for the sake of seeing it.
– You get the chance to face your fears: yesterday, I hiked for about an hour with a  headlamp, in the woods, alone. I could hear my heart beating in my ears, because my #1 fear during a hike is running into an animal who hasn’t eaten. I usually let my intuition guide me during these type of situations.

I encourage everyone to get out there on your own. A hike, a road trip, whatever. You will refresh you soul, your perspective and find out more about yourself.

Do you already go out alone? What do you like about it?

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17 Comments

  • Reply Amira Amjad

    Just went to Denver and hiked Gray's solo. It was my first solo trip and hike. I loved every moment of it.

    October 20, 2014 at 8:24 pm
  • Reply TIffiny Costello

    Oh, sounds perfect! Gray's was my 1st 14er – loved it.

    October 21, 2014 at 4:10 am
  • Reply Cal

    I plan to train for my local 12,000ft mountain, San Gorgonio via the South Fork trail head this year. It's a 22 mile hike & so worth all the views! Thanks for inspiring me. =)

    October 21, 2014 at 7:15 pm
  • Reply TIffiny Costello

    Awesome!! Man, I have yet to hike that far… 😉

    October 21, 2014 at 11:58 pm
  • Reply jblackhawk

    Congrats! You are definitely an inspiration!! I've done a lot solo even going to Hawaii by myself, yet I am so intimidated by taking a long hike to summit a mountain alone. (crazy men, bears…) lol
    I am going to cough up the courage by starting out on some shorter ones and maybe borrowing a dog.

    October 26, 2014 at 12:25 am
  • Reply Alisa Zuniga

    I love it!! I hiked Berstadt and Sherman by myself. Sometimes preferred cause I love taking pics!! I have also done some solo Snowshoe trecks. I will always be intimidated by Mother Nature Bears, Mt. Lions, etc…but you live once and there is so much I want to see and do. I hope to have a little companion one day(puppy)…congrats keep going!

    February 2, 2015 at 12:35 am
  • Reply Cindy

    Beautiful post. I stopped going out alone but this inspires me to start again.

    February 2, 2015 at 5:04 pm
  • Reply Brendan Gleason

    Doing both my first 14er and my fist solo this September at Pike's Peak. Any advice?

    February 4, 2015 at 10:55 pm
  • Reply TIffiny Costello

    Ah, see, the thing about crazy men, is they would have to work to get to the summits. Nothing to worry about. LOL

    February 8, 2015 at 9:25 pm
  • Reply TIffiny Costello

    Animals are definitely my #1 fear when hiking alone. Just gotta listen to you gut!

    February 8, 2015 at 9:25 pm
  • Reply TIffiny Costello

    Happy to hear! 🙂

    February 8, 2015 at 9:25 pm
  • Reply TIffiny Costello

    In general, take lots of water and let a few friends know where you're going and what time to expect you back.

    As far as Pikes, I have yet to hike that one. Maybe after the snow starts to melt!

    February 8, 2015 at 9:26 pm
  • Reply Beth Lakin

    I LOVE hiking alone. And I'm probably not as nice to genuinely concerned people as I should be anymore because I'm tired of the condensation and the (letsbehonest) gender implications of their concerns. Fortuantely my family, (including my 87 year old grandma!) are finally understanding how much being outdoors alone (or with my pup) does for me and are supportive.

    BUT. We should take a break from hiking alone and probably hike together one of these days. Have you done Redcloud/Sunset? Would you be interested in doing them with a down hike over “Sundog” with me and my pup?

    May 27, 2015 at 1:15 am
  • Reply Beth Lakin

    How long is the Pike's Peak hike? (Sorry, not as familiar with Denver/Springs area hikes as I am with SW CO!)

    If it's long/strenuous, I'd start with some shorter less strenuous hikes (and maybe some short tough ones!) which totally build up those “alone in hard times outside” muscles. And having those muscles? THE BEST EVER.

    May 27, 2015 at 1:17 am
  • Reply Beth Lakin

    Yeah, I worry way less about crazy men the further I get from trailheads and start dreaming more about gorgeous mountain men. (I mean, actually, I do very little of that but in my front country dreams that happens to me in the backcountry.)

    May 27, 2015 at 1:41 am
  • Reply TIffiny Costello

    I have not done it yet, but I think the standard route is close to 20 hours RT?

    June 3, 2015 at 5:32 pm
  • Reply TIffiny Costello

    YES!

    June 3, 2015 at 5:33 pm
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