Venturing Into the Wilderness Alone to Find Some Peace and Quiet? Here Are a Few Tips
A trip to the unknown wilderness is not always such a good idea, especially if under-prepared. You may have done basic research, loaded the car with necessities, and are ready for some well-deserved R&R but before starting, do cover all the bases, even if your sojourn is brief. Never underestimate essentials to ensure a safe adventure as you need preparation for the outdoors, especially if you happen to be a lone adventurer.
While preparations are daunting with permits and endless supplies to pack, the need to move outside in the boundless outdoors, safely and successfully, is important. John Muir, the great naturalist said that only when one goes alone in silence, can they understand the heart of the wilderness. Some tips before testing Muir’s Theory, are discussed here.
RULES FOR CAMPING IN THE WILD
A very important factor to consider before venturing into the wild is to be familiar with the local area rules and regulations and obtain the proper permits. Rules do vary, trails and roads are often closed because of extreme weather predictions or a sudden increase in wildlife activity may disrupt access to some areas. The website of National Park Service is a great reference point before your trip, while a Google search will also be informative. A common rule is camping 100 feet away from water sources, keeping certain specific distance away from wildlife, re-packing all waste products including used toilet paper and of course, following specific fire regulations. Ignoring rules could lead to heavy fines.
Never underestimate the power of the wild outdoors, both for avid outdoor-persons and first time trekkers, as things rarely go according to your laid out plan. Always go prepared and carry equipment to ensure safety, especially when things do awry. Simple items in your bags are a physical area-map, a first aid box, knife, matches, rope, and your water- purifying kit. For more guidance, you can follow this backpacking checklist, which can prove to be an invaluable resource. If in bear country, carry bear spray and a bear canister to store food away from the hungry creatures. Knowing how to respond to a mountain lion, brown bear or grizzly bear is important.
COMFORTS ARE IMPORTANT
You must review the various conditions expected in the wilderness. Follow the weather updates regularly before packing your gear for appropriate clothes and sleeping paraphernalia. You should monitor carefully the weight of your haversack and not be carrying unwanted things. Never compromise your comfort and safety by not packing an insulated jacket, just to have your bags weigh less. Sore shoulders by carrying a heavy pack is better than getting drenched by unexpected rain showers. An important point is to let friends and family know your entire schedule. Your chances of getting aid are high if people know where you had planned to go. All that is required is a call or text, and must not be forgotten.
You must read completely and fill out all trail permits beforehand as you may not find them at base of the trail. Some wilderness areas and trails require you to fill out forms; listing all members in your group, whether you carry livestock, the region to be visited or camped in, and your stay duration. Park employees or even the Rangers will review the data, as this enables them to verify where you could be in case you don’t return in time. Familiarize with the surroundings, pack carefully, and let family and friends know where you would be, and that you are well on your way to safely enjoying your solitude in the wild.
ENDURANCE AND EXPECTATIONS FOR THE LONELY TRAIL
Irrespective of the fact that your trip was planned in detail, or was a spontaneous adventure, battling the elements as you tread across the trail, loneliness is ever present and can often take time to get used to. The solitude, open expanses and the quiet are all elements that cause uneasiness, and often give way to gloom. With time, you ease into the experience, giving way to relaxing peace and euphoria experienced. One way to ensure this is to carry a book. When taking a break for snacking, or when you relax by a lakeside or next to the warm campfire in the evening, whip out your book/e-book and read a few pages to help you feel the connection you are missing.
You must know your limits by starting small as you have to impress only yourself. You need not go for an arduous 50-mile maiden journey into the backcountry. Travel at a comfortable pace, taking on new trials leisurely. While the urban world is thickly populated with noise and distractions galore, there exist pockets of untouched and pristine wilderness around us, just waiting to be explored. To de-clutter our heads and realign aspirations and values, we must often escape to the wild. As you are now equipped with all that you need to know, go where the mountain is calling!
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