Like the tagline proclaims, I hike, I camp, and I do it alone. In the past five years since I started solo hiking and camping, I have encountered a lot of reactions, from the awed (“I could never do that, it must be amazing”) to the critical (“that is unnecessarily dangerous and stupid, and so are you”) to the curious and interested (“aren’t you bored/lonely/scared?”). I have often wished there was some resource or guide I could have looked to for advice and encouragement, and so…Her Side of the Mountain was born. May you learn from my mistakes, failures, joys and successes.
Where to start?
Rules for Safety: Click on the “Rules for Safety” tab above. These are a work-in-progress, which means I reserve the right to add to or change them whenever I feel like it. I’ll eventually blog about each one, so stay tuned.
The Good Stuff: Many times rules are daunting, and can be discouraging. The Good Stuff is meant to be a counter-point to the rules, a bit of encouragement. Check back as it evolves.
Equipment: A list of recommended equipment that every solo female hiker and camper should have.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. When I say solo hike and camp, I mean day-hiking and car-camping. I haven’t through-hiked the Appalachian Trail* or done backcountry pack-camping alone. I don’t rock climb. That’s not to say I never will, and that a lot of the information on this blog couldn’t assist you in those endeavours, but my experience is limited to more accessible camping and hiking.
In fact, I’m not a granola hippie chick at all (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I’m kind of a girly-girl. When home, I like high-thread-count sheets and watching tv about rich angsty high schoolers. I crave fashion, in particular bags and shoes. I delight in girls’ nights and giggling over cute guys (and, increasingly, babies), and I love a good pedicure.
None of that means that I — and you — can’t also love the outdoors. I find peace in the woods (and the desert and the cliffs) that I don’t find in the bustle of the city in which I make my life. What I hope it does mean is that I can provide a resource for other women to make the outdoors more accessible, even to those of us who enjoy sipping Sapphire martinis (dirty, three olives) in Louboutins sometimes.
In addition to discussions on solo camping and hiking, we’ll also talk about road tripping as a solo female — again, something that often makes eyebrows raise (or mothers place their hand over their heart). The two go hand in hand, really — there’s no kind of freedom like driving around the country from campsite to campsite and spending your days on the trail.
And then there’s the National Parks. America’s National Park system is truly astounding. The variety of landscapes and ecosystems that a hiker can experience is mind-boggling, inspiring, and soul-restoring. We’ll talk a lot about specific parks, campsites, hikes, and programs, because I love the National Parks. They make camping and hiking (in particular solo female camping and hiking) very accessible and enriching because of access to rangers and other resources and travelers.
So come along for the ride. Ask questions. Share experiences. Have fun.
*There are lots of great resources for through-hiking the A.T. This just isn’t one of them.
(c) Her Side of the Mountain, 2009.