Hiking, Companion, Groups or Solo?
Choose your hiking partners or hiking group wisely.
“Be careful who you hike with — it can make or break your hiking trip. I was asked by a friend of mine to hike the John Muir Trail. It was always something I wanted to do — a dream I had — so I said yes. But I wasn’t prepared.
"She was a very fit woman, a park service ranger, and I was an overweight grade school teacher with asthma. Our philosophies and pace were very different. I almost quit the trail. She wanted me to quit. But that just made me want to hike it even more! I visited with some people who I met along the way, and they told me I shouldn’t stop my dream. So I hiked by myself during the day, and we met up in the evenings.”
Be open to meeting people on the trails.
“Hiking can be a very solitary endeavor, but on popular hiking routes like the John Muir Trail, there are always others out there. The days I hiked alone, I met incredible people. Put yourself out there and be willing to meet people on your journey! I knew the trail was going to be about the beauty of the wilderness, but the people I met along the way really shined. Without the 'trail angels' I met on the trail, I never would have made it. I was a solo hiker, but I didn’t hike it alone.”
If you’re afraid to hike solo … don’t.
“I don’t tell somebody to hike alone if they’re too afraid because there are some things out there that are difficult. If you really don’t want to go hiking alone, don’t. But don’t let being a solo female hiker hold you back from hiking either! Look for a partner or for an open-minded women’s hiking group near you.”
How to find women who hike.
“By far some of my most wonderful experiences I’ve had on the trails are when I’m hiking with just women. My husband doesn’t really like hiking, but I enjoy embarking on adventures without my husband. I have a friend named Nann who I do day hikes with to Yosemite. It’s just different with women hiking. We sing, we encourage each other, we share food and hiking tips for women. There’s nothing better than being out on the trail with other women who are enjoying it as much as you are (unless you want to be hiking alone).”
Find a women’s hiking group online.
“I’m part of a Facebook group called “Ladies of the John Muir Trail,” but there are so many women’s Facebook groups out there full of ladies just ready to support each other! Anybody can join these women’s groups, and they’re wonderful! The women of the JMT have carried me. They share wonderful information, like getting permits and leaving no trace, and we all encourage each other.”
Bask in your alone time.
“I loved meeting people on the trails, but the times when I was hiking alone were some of my favorite times. For a lot of women hiking, that’s why they do it; they want that solitude. There’s a deep place inside yourself that you can only find when you accomplish things on your own. Inside each of us, we have the strength to do things that we didn’t believe we could do.”