In Defense of the Female Solo-Hiker

"Aren't you scared to go by yourself?" No, not even a little bit.

"But it's dangerous!" "You don't know what's out there!" "What if something happens?"

If I had a dollar for every time I heard these remarks it could probably fund my next big trip.

As a young female who often ventures to remote locations by myself, I can expect to encounter people who either do not understand why this is appealing to me, cast their less-than-supportive remarks on my decisions, or proceed to tell me all the awful things that could go wrong. 

And to the people who love me and want me to be safe:

First, I love you too. Second, I know.

Yes, I know. I know the things that can go wrong on these trips. I know the dangers that lie out there. I am well aware of the risks I am taking. I am not oblivious.

But I also know that calculated risks can reap massive rewards -- as I am a firm believer that life is made of experiences and not things. I get to experience some of the most beautiful sights this country has to offer. I get to expand my knowledge of survival skills and my environment, harness my independence, and have the absolute time of my life surrounded by nature and adrenaline; not to mention the exercise, Vitamin D, and some of the most incredible people I've gotten to meet through chance encounters. 

I've experienced and collected stories that can entertain the stuffiest of dinner guests. 

My adventures are some of my most treasured memories I have and I am incredibly thankful I've gotten to experience them. My decision --and preference -- to do it alone has only enriched these ventures in a unique and beautiful way. I welcome my travel buddies should they choose to accompany me, but my solo trips are uniquely valuable to my being.

I don't choose to ignore the risks associated with these decisions and I take measures to prepare myself for a variety of situations -- just as any good explorer should; female or not.

The truth is, there is risk all around us everyday even in the most mundane situations. Instead of entertaining these thoughts on the couch or behind a desk, I choose to live them among the pines, in between canyons, over rapids or atop the tallest of peaks. 

In life there are worriers and there are warriors and being a warrior means I won't let fear and society-projected trepidation stop me from the richest of adventures still to come.


Cover photo: Jason Zabriskie

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Katie Johnson

Alone in the wilderness.