Tramping / hiking solo

I’d usually be described as an extrovert but when it comes to tramping / hiking I find it done best as a solitary activity, for a number of reasons…

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It’s safer
Well, probably not if you get into difficulties, but my theory is that you’re less likely to get into trouble in the first place walking solo. Without the distraction of someone else you’re likely to be more observant of your surroundings and the track. You will also be more risk adverse, from the awareness of being alone, and there won’t be anyone one pushing you beyond your capability, or a witness if you turn back for any reason.

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Walk at your own pace
Unless you’re very well matched with those you’re walking with chances are you will be walking faster or slower than your natural pace. This can be frustrating or tiring, and restricts the freedom to stop whenever you want to take a photo or rest.

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You’re more likely to see things
Without distractions or noise you’re more likely to spot and not scare wildlife, and more fully take in your surroundings.

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You can still be sociable
Particularly if doing multi-day walks and staying in huts or at a campsite you will meet other people with similar interests (or at least an interest in walking).

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Obviously there are risks from walking alone, which for me are outweighed by the advantages listed above. Be sensible about it, tell someone you trust what you’re doing, and take a map and an emergency beacon. These can be bought or hired and should be an essential part of your kit. Reading the New Zealand coroners reports on people who died on walks, the main mitigation would have been carrying an emergency beacon (and not crossing flooded rivers).

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