Sorry Mom, I’m Going Solo

This thru-hike is something I’ve been thinking about and planning and saving for for 2-3 years now. It has been in the back of my mind ever since I left Trail Days back in 2014. Around May or June this past year is when I started getting really serious about actually committing to it. I began to research gear more in depth and start making purchases and testing things out and figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t, etc… I mentioned my plans to my family and judging by how immediately supportive and nonchalant their responses were, I could tell they didn’t really think I was going to do it.

Originally I had planned on hiking with a partner, someone I had met along the trail the first go-round. But those plans changed and I remember thinking to myself, “Well I’ll have to wait until 2018 then because I can’t go alone”…

I think, as women, we’re taught from a young age that we shouldn’t be alone. Somewhere between “Take a buddy with you!” and “When are you going to find yourself a nice boy?”, we were taught that being alone just isn’t meant for us, isn’t safe for us. We’re taught that we need to have someone to rely on and someone to take care of us.

And to that I say, “Revel in your own strength and independence.”

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Hiking to Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain NP

When I decided that I was going to do this alone (and that I was in fact actually going to do this) I had to re-tell my parents. I could see the resistance in my mom’s eyes when I told her I was going solo. The hesitation. She didn’t say much at first. We talked the next day and I could tell that she was trying to be supportive but I could also tell she was worried as hell. I mean I get that; she’s my mom, I’m her daughter. She would have been worried even if I was going with someone else!

I’m not naive in thinking things can’t happen. But you can’t control other people, the only thing you can do is be aware of your surroundings, look out for yourself, and trust your gut. What you can’t do is let fear control your life. Thru-hiking is something I want to do and the fact that I can’t find a hiking partner shouldn’t change that.

Besides, I’m starting the trail in March as a NOBO, I don’t think I could be alone if I tried.

71 days!
Kylie

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Comments 7

  • Avatar
    Karyn : Jan 20th

    Hi and congratulations on hiking solo despite your own (and every one else’s) reservations. I’ve done a lot of reading and basically it boils down to; 1. you are not alone most of the time (and question: is “alone” what you really have to fear? Isn’t it more about predators, which means, you are not alone – they can be anyone), 2. you can get hurt (mugged, lost, whatever might happen) ANYWHERE, USA – alone or not.

    I’m thru-hiking the AT this spring solo as well and the only reservation I have is getting lost in the wilderness of Maine and it isn’t even that much of a concern. I’ve been hiking in the White Mts alone for years and I meet a lot of women (and men) who are also hiking alone (sometimes with a dog). If you haven’t been hiking alone much it does take a little getting used to (maybe two hikes) because, as you’ve stated, we women are trained to live in fear. Once you are over that you begin to feel more confident.

    There are no guarantees in life that someone will always be around when you need them…it’s best to train to be independent with courage. Living in fear is a hell of a life.

    Reply
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    james : Jan 20th

    I’ve be section hiking the AT for years and seen literally hundreds of female hikers – 99% hiking alone (and with no issues). You’ll be fine – have a great hike.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Taylor "Flower Power" Boone : Jan 22nd

      I thru-hiked the AT SOBO last year, and as a solo female I felt safer on trail with the hiking community than I do in “real life”! I was initially fearful of being completely alone, but you’ll find it rare to be 100% alone. And even when I was completely alone, I really learned to love the “me” time. I made several amazing friends along the way, and have no regrets! Enjoy your hike!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Vicky : Jan 21st

    Hi. I am 63 and have been hiking solo for many years. Never had a bad experience but am not naïve either. I find hiking solo much more enjoyable. I’ve hiked with a group and find I meet more people when I am alone. When your with a group, they tend to stay amongst themselves. I love waking up, in the morning, and not worrying if I need to hurry. Can take my time or get going if I so desire. Also, I am a fast hiker and don’t like having to keep pace with others. I was meant to like alone….;-)

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Ember : Feb 1st

    Good for you, Kylie! Like Vicky, I’ve hiked alone for years (I’m 45) and there’s nothing like having that time in the forest to be still. When people ask me if I’m afraid, or what I would do if I met a “crazy”, I’m sure to tell them that I’m more likely to be in danger in a parking lot than I am on the trail. You hit the nail on the head…women are socialized to believe we need protection; research your hike, take precautions and ENJOY!!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Pong : Feb 2nd

    I traveled and hiked solo for many years.
    If you do the AT solo, you will have a wonderful gift at the end: It is entirely YOUR thing. And not yours and someone else’s.
    You will think differently of yourself and this feeling will last the rest of your life. Probably it will even influence your choices in partnerships and jobs. Nothing – and I really mean it – is more valuable in life than to overcome your fears and thereby increase your freedom. It makes you a happier person because you will know that you choose your life out of a free will and not out of fear.
    HYOH!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Mama Chip : Mar 13th

    I looooooove this!! So happy you’re doing your Hike and I’m looking forward to your posts. I have an adventurous daughter and had to put my money where my mouth is a few times (“you can do anything you put your mind to”) with her and it has been well worth every sleepless night and worrisome day. Remember to trust your inner voice over any other’s voice. That said, Adventure on!!

    Reply

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