Here’s a little bit about my solo backpacking story and how I got here. I didn’t just wake up one day and say,

“I think I want to spend as much time as I can out on a trail by myself.”

My solo backpacking journey has been years in the making. It’s taken a lot of trial and error. A lot of mistakes. A lot of time and energy. A lot of sacrifice.

I’ve had to not only face a number of my own fears and challenges along the way, but I’ve also had to deal with the fears of my friends and family who don’t really understand why solo backpacking is so important to me.

Over and over again I hear:

  • Why would you want to go by yourself?
  • Is it safe for a woman to go backpacking alone?
  • Aren’t you scared?
  • Are you going to carry a gun?

The short story of how my solo backpacking journey got started was out of necessity. I was training and preparing for a big trip and didn’t have anyone else to go with me.

I was tired of waiting for someone else’s schedule to align with mine just so I didn’t have to go hiking alone. So I started taking myself on solo training day hikes and I discovered quite a few perks of being out on trail by myself like:

  • I didn’t have to hike at anyone else’s pace. I could hike as fast or as slow as I wanted to.
  • I could decide how many miles I wanted to hike instead of having to consult with someone else and keep up with their timeline.
  • I could take breaks whenever I wanted and wherever I wanted

And for those solo backpacking trips:

  • If I wanted to stop to swim in a lake, I could do it without having to ask anyone else if it was okay.
  • I could also camp wherever I wanted to and wherever my tent would fit. You know how many sweet, single tentsites that are out there?

I also discovered quite a few mental perks of going backpacking alone like:

  • Realizing that I really do enjoy spending time by myself, especially when I’m surrounded by the beauty of Mother Nature
  • I get to hit the reset button and there’s no distractions once I lose cell and WiFi service. It’s just me and the trail.
  • Getting to prove to myself over and over again that I’m much stronger than I give myself credit for
  • Even though I might not necessarily want to face my fears and have to overcome challenges when I’m out on trail alone, whenever I do, I always come away from the experience feeling like a much stronger human
  • Also, knowing that I can be 100% self-reliant in the backcountry is the ultimate confidence booster.

Okay, so now for the long story of how my solo backpacking journey got started.

Remember when I mentioned that I was training and preparing for a big trip?

In May of 2015, my best friend had somehow talked me into hiking the Grand Canyon with her. I’d have four months to train and prepare for this trip.

Did I want to go? Of course I wanted to go with her.

Could I be ready for it? Well, I wasn’t 100% sure, but I knew I could do anything in four months so I made it my goal to be as ready as I possibly could be, by the end of September.

As part of my preparation for this big trip, I knew I’d have to do a lot of hiking. I was having a really hard time finding people to go with me. Schedules wouldn’t align. We couldn’t decide on the same trails we wanted to hike. Our vibes out on trail didn’t mesh – we had different hiking objectives and paces.

So out of necessity, I started going on day hikes by myself.

I’m not going to pretend that this was an easy decision to make. I was terrified of the thought of being on trail by myself.

What if I saw a bear?
What if got lost?
What if I got hurt?
What if I ran into a creepy person?
What if I felt sad and lonely being out there by myself?

You know, all of the common fears most people say they have whenever someone asks them if they’d ever consider hiking alone.

But what if those things I was afraid of didn’t happen?

What if everything went…right?

After the first four times I went out for a solo day hike, I started asking myself,

“What was I so afraid of? Why didn’t I try this solo hiking thing sooner?”

With each solo hike I went on, I felt my confidence grow. I started picking longer trails that were further from my house and I increased the number of times each week I’d go out for a hike.

I became obsessed with hiking alone.

Going on that big trip at the end of September to hike the Grand Canyon was probably one of the hardest things I’d ever done, both mentally and physically.

But I did it.

I accomplished this huge goal I had been training for over the last four months.

But now what? All I wanted to do was keep hiking.

It was during my time spent hiking in the canyon that I started thinking about thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. You know, the 2,652 mile trail that spans from Mexico to Canada that most people take 4 to 5 months to complete? Yeah, that ONE.

So after I finished my Grand Canyon hike, I came home and began the process of planning, preparing and training for my PCT thru-hike.

Quickly, fear started to set in. I knew if I wanted to thru-hike the PCT, I’d have to hike it alone because none of my friends or family could or would want to do this with me.

As I started to tell the people in my life how I was preparing to thru-hike the PCT, I’d hear things like:

  • Why would you want to go by yourself?
  • Is it safe for a woman to go backpacking alone?
  • Aren’t you scared?
  • Are you going to carry a gun?

All of those old fears I had when I first started hiking by myself were coming back to me, only this time, instead of me questioning myself, it was other people who were questioning me.

Why would I go by myself? Well because I knew no one else would want to or could go with me so my only other option was to hike the trail alone.

Is it safe for a woman to go backpacking alone? Absolutely! As long as you’ve done the proper trip planning, are prepared with the right gear and training and have good judgement and confidence in your own skills, solo backpacking can be a safe experience for anyone, regardless of gender.

Aren’t you scared? Of course I was, but I didn’t need other people to remind me that hiking a trail alone could be a scary thing. I mean, I could continue living my life in fear or I could choose to face my fears and possibly do something really fun and amazing.

Are you going to carry a gun? No and I’m going to leave it at that.

Regardless of anyone else’s fear of me wanting to go backpacking alone, I left to thru-hike the PCT by myself in April of 2018. And it changed my life forever.

I came back from my hike not only wanting to do whatever I could to spend more time out on trail, but I also wanted to help as many women as I could to want to face their own fears and help them plan, prepare and go on their own solo backpacking adventures because I know how much solo backpacking has changed my life.

Getting out of my comfort zone and deciding to go solo backpacking has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Since my PCT thru-hike, I’ve made good on that promise to myself to spend more time out on trail. I’ve gone back to section hike over 1,400 miles along the PCT in Washington, Oregon and California. I hiked the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park and the John Muir Trail in the Sierra. I did the Everest Basecamp trek in Nepal. I even went back to the Grand Canyon, where my solo backpacking dreams began and hiked the Rim to Rim to Rim Trail completely solo.

At the beginning of this year, I went to solo backpack the Trans Catalina Trail on Catalina Island in Southern California and later this year, I’ll be hiking more of the Pacific Crest Trail by myself for a couple months.

Solo backpacking has become such an important part of my life that I’ve now made it my life mission to help inspire women like you to want to get out on trail for your own solo adventures, safely and comfortably through the online backpacking program I’ve created for women, The Confident Solo Female Backpacker System.

This program is open for any woman who has goals of getting out for her first or next backpacking trip this year. If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to help you achieve your backpacking goals while getting ongoing coaching as you plan your trips, have access to an incredible community of other women hikers and backpackers and want the opportunity to join me out on trail for group trips throughout the year, then this program is for you!

Interested in becoming part of this awesome program? CLICK HERE to schedule a free one-on-one Zoom call with me where you’ll get to talk to me live about your backpacking goals, ask me questions about the program and if you’re a good fit for The Confident Solo Female Backpacker System, you’ll get the chance to enroll into the program on our call.

Since creating and launching this program over two years ago, I’ve been able to help several women plan their own backcountry adventures. You could be next!

I share my story with you in hopes of inspiring you to make someday or one day TODAY. To show you what’s possible when you make your dreams a priority and put in the time, energy and work to turn them into a reality.

For those of you who are interested in spending more time hiking and backpacking out in the backcountry, ask yourself:

“Would I rather go alone or never go at all?”

I’m not saying you have to quit your job and go spend five months thru-hiking a long-distance trail. I mean, if you want to do that, awesome but that’s just not a reality for most people.

But maybe you want to be able to go hiking whenever and wherever you want without having to wait for someone else to go with you?

Maybe you want to go on an overnight backpacking trip by yourself?

Or plan a group backpacking trip with some of your friends or take your kids out for an overnight backpacking trip by yourself?

Maybe you’re interested in spending a few days or a week section hiking a long-distance trail?

Whatever your hiking and backpacking dreams are, if you’re tired of talking about someday or one day and are done waiting for someone else to go with you, solo backpacking could be a good option for you.

So I guess the moral of my story is whether you’re interested in solo backpacking or there’s something else you’ve been dreaming of doing with your life, a lot of the time the only person who’s in your way is you.

I hope you found my story helpful with wanting to pursue whatever dreams you have and maybe, just maybe my story has intrigued your curiosity enough to want to check out solo backpacking for yourself.

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