Growing up I had always dreamed of doing overnight treks in remote wilderness. For as long as I can remember I have been driven to explore the natural world. I made a promise to myself I would not put my life on hold waiting around for the right time and adventure partners to show up. I would make my own opportunities for adventure.
In the beginning I had to step outside my comfort zone a bit. Being alone in a wilderness situation sounded like serious business and to some friends and family it seems nutty to adventure alone. If you are prepared, feel ready and are confident to be on your own you should.
One of the first extended multi-day treks I completed on my own was the West Coast Trail. I had this idea in my head that I would have a week of solitude to escape to nature and tune out human interaction for a while. While this was still a factor on my trip, I was met by quite a different experience. At this stage in my early adventuring I had to overcome my fear of doing this on my own. Flash forward almost ten years later and I wouldn’t think twice about this as the West Coast Trail as a solo trek as this is now a casual walk in the park to me. It was this first experience however that allowed me to take that first step and grow.
(Photo: Day one on the West Coast Trail at Campers Bay)
The West Coast Trail allows for a certain number of hikers to leave from either trail head each day. So technically it’s kind of impossible to actually be truly alone, especially since you will be aiming for the desirable designated camp sites along the way.
From the moment I arrived at the first campsite on Campers Bay to crossing Nit-Nat narrows to eating a veggie burger at Chez Monique’s I met lovely and interesting people the entire way. As a solo female backpacker other trekkers approached me readily to enquire about my brave solo trek. They were ready to adopt me into their groups and were constantly trying to feed me for some reason. So was I actual alone? Not exactly.
In the city we pass each other by like other humans don’t even exist. Outside of cell service and in the forest we suddenly have this openness and willingness to connect to one another. As an introvert who has a hard time connecting to begin with, this is actually the best feeling. When I am in in my element and happiest outdoors I draw on so much positive energy from human interaction and I love it.
Had I been with a pack of hikers this would have been a totally different experience. I would have been more invested with my group and maybe not have talked to or met as many new people. This particular trip is one of the most memorable times and a landmark in my life.
(Photo: Fresh Caught Crab Lunch at Nit Nat Narrows)
There are some adventures where multiple people for really essential for safety reasons. Asses the risks of your adventure and make an informed decision as to if the adventure is suitable to go on your own. If there as an adventure you don’t have a buddy for or just want the experience of solo travel, go for it! Don’t let any negative thoughts about being lonely or fear hold you back. Focus on the positive and you can do it!
(Photo: Somewhere along the west coast trail)