Enjoying the outdoors with your friends or family can be a great way to break up the monotony of the "9 to 5" that isn't your local happy hour. However, its always fun to go on a meditative solo adventure or even just push your physical limits without the pressure of others. Whatever you reason is for exploring in the back country solo, its always good to practice these quick tips on doing so safely. This is issue No. 3 in the Adventures of Lambert mini series brought to you by graphic artist and San Gabriel mountain native Ricardo Soria. Enjoy!
Don't: Be Uninformed
Gather information about the current conditions of where you are going and understand the lay of the land. Use land marks to help you keep track of your orientation. This requires some sort of map or research on your part. You can check out our Caltopo video tutorial
if you want to learn the basics of this incredible mapping tool. We'll be releasing an updated version that delves into creating itineraries pretty soon. Make sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel!
Don't: Rely On One Form Of Navigation.
Electronics malfunction while paper maps require a foundational understanding of orienteering and often do not indicate less popular trails. Being able to cross reference multiple resources can help you gain critical insight on where you are or need to go.
Don't: Take Unnecessary Risk, ESPECIALLY FOR THE GRAM
Everyone is guilty of this, even those that stray from the use of social media Try not to define a successful day out in the wilderness by over committing to a goal when conditions are not optimal just because you drove several hours and took time off or need to impress your followers.
Do: Know Your Limits
Climbing Mount Whitney or running 100 miles doesn't make you John Rambo. The Whitney trail is a Class 1 hiking path that sees hundreds of travelers every day. Ultra marathon courses are literally selected to minimize risk. Humble yourself.
Have Everything To Spend The Night
This doesn't mean bring all of the luxuries of a glamping trip. Pick up an emergency bivvy
. It weighs nothing, fits in any pack (including a running vest), and can help you retain up to 85% of your body heat. A good nights rest is critical to keeping your mind clear and your energy levels high even when you have depleted food or water.
Tell someone where they can find the body.
Okay this one is admittedly morbid, but the reality is that we are always at risk when traveling in the back country. Check out our article: The Importance of Creating an Outdoor Itinerary
to learn how you can minimize panic among loved ones while focusing search efforts of the people who are literally putting their lives on the line to retrieve you.
We get that Billie Eilish just dropped a new album and you want to walk around the forest in a depressed state, but its probably more important that you keep tabs on your surroundings. Plus she's not that great.
Extra Don't & Bonus Do
Don't Be A Bully
- When someone is working something out, it is very normal for them to be so enveloped in the problem that they don't see all of the available solutions.
- If you've been in a potential life threatening situation, then you've made similar mistakes and should be humble enough to understand that you've probably made similar mistakes. If you haven't, then you really don't know how you'll react under the circumstances.
- Whether its a for good story, or an education opportunity, it also not unusual for online journalism and even official case studies to be written with a narrative in mind or with bad information. You simply don't have all of the information.
Do: Learn From Your Mistakes
If you find yourself in trouble during a hike, be aware that the culprit is very likely to be human error in almost every scenario. Think about what you could have done differently and put it into practice on future outings.