My dog Aspen and I hiked from Wrights Lake into the west side of Desolation Wilderness to Twin Lakes. I picked this route for a reason and followed a few other precautions:
– Knowledge is power – I wanted to backpack in an area I was familiar with, I’ve actually hiked to Twin Lakes as a day hike before.
– Day hikers are your friends – I chose to visit an area with higher day use, so if something happened I wasn’t totally alone. I know part of backpacking is solitude and while Twin Lakes is a popular day hike for Wrights Lake campers, I only saw two other tents and that wasn’t until I was leaving the next morning. Plus I had the area known as Shangri-La to myself.
– I have bear spray and I’m not afraid to use it – I wasn’t too worried about bears, but I think bear spray might deter a few other things as well.
– Share your itinerary – I always tell someone my detailed itinerary and stick to it, but this was even more important since I was by myself.
– Hello wildlife – A lot of this hike was on open granite, but when I got into brushy areas I would switch between singing and talking to Aspen as to not startle any wildlife, especially the big ones with claws.
– Watch your step – A fall could have easily turned into a serious situation, so I erred on the side of caution.
I’m not planning on making a habit out of solo backpacking, but it was a rewarding experience. Plus, if I have an unexpected night in the wilderness I’ll be able to keep calm knowing I’ve survived by myself before. Solo backpacking may not be for everyone, but if you want to give it a try, start with thoughtful planning.
Do you have any solo backpacking tips?