Yeah, you DO need a hiking buddy.

It’s really not smart to go off into the woods by yourself because too many things can go wrong. (Things that you haven’t even thought about yet.)

Actually, let’s back up a little bit.

Before you head out on a hike the first thing you should do is tell somebody where you are going. If you forget, use your smartphone to text that person.

The next thing – even before you decide where and how long – is to arrange for your hiking buddy to come along.

One benefit is that you can carpool to the trailhead and another is you can park one car at the beginning and another at the end and hike point-to-point.

But the major benefit is safety. The notion that if something goes wrong, you have somebody else there to look after you.

What could go wrong?

Well, despite being extra careful you could trip and fall, a branch could fall on your head, a bear could come your way or you could have an unplanned medical event.

Volunteer Work on the AT!

This is especially true for older hikers and those who take medicine for chronic diseases.

For example, I have diabetes and my blood sugar goes low during strenuous activity. Some times too low.

More than once, I have had to sit down and eat something in the middle of a hike and each time is was good to have a hiking partner there.

Of course, there is always a trade off: Doing ANYTHING with another person requires compromise and anytime you add a third, fourth or fifth human being to the group the compromising becomes more complicated.

You should have someone who is similar in your hiking speed and ability so you are not going faster and/or they are not going slower.

Also, you’ll need someone who lives close by, someone who shares your goals, someone you get along with, someone who has comparable hiking experience, someone who matches your physical abilities and someone who has a car.

And, because most people go into the woods for the solitude, you’ll need someone who doesn’t talk a lot.

Good luck with that!

Map of the Appalachian Trail Shelters RIGHT HERE.

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