Edwin Hammond Meredith, a chef based in the Florida Keys, is an avid outdoorsman. In addition to aquatic activities such as scuba diving and stand up paddleboarding (SUP), Edwin Hammond Meredith enjoys camping and hiking.
The best way to stay safe while hiking is to travel in a large group. However, circumstances or preference may lead an individual to a solo hike. There are several things a person can do to mitigate their chances of suffering an accident while hiking alone, beginning with notifying a friend or family member of one’s intentions to hike. At least one person should know when the individual is leaving, where they are going, how long they expect to be on the trail, and at what time they plan to return. As is the case with hiking in larger groups, the more people who know a hiker’s plans, the better. Hikers can even notify local park rangers and staff of their whereabouts, if necessary.
Hikers should also refrain from hiking alone when testing a new trail for the first time. Any number of surprises, from a deceptively weak water crossing to a surprisingly long diversion from the main path, can lead to a person becoming lost or injured on the trail. Hikers should never forget the importance of understanding their surroundings.
Lastly, all the basic components of hiking safety should be held to an even higher standard when hiking alone. Individuals should dress in very bright clothing, pack more than enough water and food, check up-to-the-minute weather reports, and do everything else in their power to avoid a dangerous or otherwise untenable situation on the trail.