Solo Wilderness Travel

“Discovery Lake” July 2019, Day Six of a 7-day solo. South-Central Purcells

In my previous post I talked about how much I learn from going on trips with persons-of-character. In this post I am going to talk about how much I learn from going on trips alone — “Solo”.

White River – Limestone Lakes – Joffre Creek 6-day solo, 2020. Height-of-the-Rockies

I really enjoy my own company (is that “normal”?). Overall, I like the person that I am. I know that I have plenty of imperfections, but my relationship to those imperfections is one of acceptance (and even of “amused observation”).

Going on a solo is exciting for me. I enjoy the kind of thinking that being alone for 6 or 7 days allows.

When I am on a solo I usually select routes that minimize the chance of me seeing other people. Being alone and seeing other people is “OK”, but being alone and NOT seeing anybody else for 6 or 7 days is awesome. This may explain why I do so much bushwacking (wilderness travel without trails). When I am alone, I want to be really alone.

Morning moon, sunrise, and alpine campsite, 2020. Southern Canadian Rockies.
There is no human trail for the next 4 days. “Really alone”.

When I am on a solo I am more intuitive. I make more decisions based on “just because” than I would if I was travelling with someone else. When I am hiking with someone I need to justify (explain) my decisions (and rightly so). But when I am by myself I can tap into my intuition more. This doesn’t mean that I abandon logic, or jeopardize safety, it just means that I tap into more information sources. I give myself permission to follow more hunches and give more credence to non-obvious information … because I am the only one who has to live with the consequences of a hunch that doesn’t quite work out.

Picking my way up the Abruzzi Glacier during a 13-day solo in 2008. An intuitive hunch that did work out.
Southern Canadian Rockies

I have had many, many good (great) trips with persons-of-character. And I have also had many, many good (great) solo trips. Solo trips are different than trips with other people. I like both kinds of trips, and I like the differences between them.

6-day solo in Top of the World, September 2017. Just enjoying spending time alone.

A solo winter campsite at 7100 ft. 6-day snowshoe trip, February 2020. South-Central Purcells.
Alone, but never lonely.

“Never did I think so much,

and exist so vividly,

and experience so much,

never have I been so myself …

as in journeys I have taken alone and on foot.”

— J.J. Rousseau
“Alone and on foot”.

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