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My Solitary Hiking Trip

Updated on March 16, 2017

An Area Near to where I Walked

Source: The photo is the property of the author
Source: The photo is the property of the author

Walking Alone in the Outdoors

I spent a couple of nights and days on a hiking trip, sleeping and walking in the outdoors.

Here I relate my experience of this endeavour.

Walking and sleeping outdoors on one's own can be lonely, but doing it for just a couple of nights and days is fine for me.

I remember reading about a guy who walked along the whole coastline of our country alone, wow what an accomplishment!

Crossing rivers was especially one of the most difficult tasks for him, he had to do it without getting his backpack and its contents soaked; somehow he managed it.

Do you enjoy going on hiking trips and the liberating feeling it gives of 'getting away from it all?'


The place I spent my first night

My photo - my friend took this photo before he left for home - back in the day when there were no cellphones that we could take selfies on
My photo - my friend took this photo before he left for home - back in the day when there were no cellphones that we could take selfies on

Some years ago, in the latter half of the 1970s when I was in my twenties, I'd completed school and spent 18 months doing military service; I did not yet have any employment and had a lot of time on my hands. One day I decided to go on a hiking trip to spend a couple of nights and days in the outdoors; or for as long as I could manage considering the amount of food I had with me and the circumstances I might encounter. In the past I'd enjoyed walking in the outdoors and spending a night or two there with a group of people.

So my friend Jimmy drove me to a mountainous area outside the city in which I live, and we walked down to a lake that is part of the river there. We spent the afternoon at the lake's edge and then it was time for my friend to say goodbye and leave for home.

The sun was starting to set: earlier, I'd found a place away from the edge of the lake under some small trees where I planned to spend the night. I had a groundsheet to put on the ground, a sleeping bag, a rug-sack (backpack), some food, but no tent; just some plastic sheeting that would serve as a bit of cover for the night. This I tied to the branches of the trees and shrubs around and above me.

It soon got dark; I ate something and prepared to go to sleep for the night. However, during the night after I'd fallen asleep, I was awoken by a scratching sound coming from the area where I'd placed my belongings. I had a torch and some candles with me; I investigated the sound, feeling a bit fearful as to what it might be.

It turned out to be a small brownish mouse that was trying to get at my food supplies. I tried as best as I could to put my food into a packet inside my backpack, and attempted to go back to sleep. The mouse however pestered me the whole night trying to get at my food supplies; I had a restless night, hardly sleeping at all, due to being woken up repeatedly by the mouse.

A small waterfall on a river

The photo is the property of the author
The photo is the property of the author

Well the following day I packed up my gear and started hiking along the river, inland through a forest area called Longmore; this being an area near Port Elizabeth, my hometown in South Africa. The weather was quite warm; if I recall, it was early autumn and the cold of approaching winter had not set in yet.

I had a swim in the river and continued to walk inland. There were some workmen in the distance working in the forest with the pine trees that grow there in profusion; it is a really beautiful area, especially with the river running through it.

Eventually, as I walked on I came to a type of weir where there is a body of water that is kept in place by a small dam wall. I spent some of the day there relaxing and having something to eat, then later returned the way I had come, and found a place next to the river where I would spend my second night.

There is a lovely pool at this part of the river, with rocks surrounding it, where I lay in the sun whilst swimming in the rock pool at times. There is a small flow of water running between the rocks down into the pool here: a small waterfall.

That night I slept near to the river next to some smooth rocks; some bats or some type of birds or creatures were making odd sounds during the night, in the trees above, but I managed to get a better night's sleep.

The following day I set off again hiking along the riverbanks towards the direction of the sea which is quite a few kilometres away. The weather had cooled a bit and it looked as if it might rain.

At some point in the hike I left the river and walked through an area where there are gravel roads and farmlands. Then I came to a tar road near the main highway and went to a small shop where I bought a few food supplies. Beyond this area there is a gravel road called Woodlands, that I went along. It eventually trails down to the river again but closer to the coast.

Then it started to rain, quite heavily and it did not seem to stop raining for ages. I got out my plastic sheeting and tried to cover myself with it as best as possible, to protect me from the downpour. However it was difficult to not get wet; as I walked on it continued to rain and I got wetter and wetter from the rain. Walking became a bit uncomfortable as my clothing was soaked and I was extremely cold too.

Heading towards Van Stadens River Mouth

Later on I reached the river and continued along its banks until it started to widen and at one point it was quite difficult to find an area to walk because of the high bank of the river here and the undergrowth on it being quite thick. Nevertheless I managed to make my way to where the river meets the sea; here there was, and still is, a resort at the mouth of the Van Stadens river along which I'd been walking.

My clothing and body were soaking wet and I felt a bit miserable. What was I to do, stay there for the night and hope the rain would stop and that my clothing would get dry the next day if the sun came out; continue along the beach a long distance to my home town, or try to get a lift home?

Eventually, after thinking about my options for a long time and realising that the rain was probably not going to stop any time too soon, I decided I'd had enough and used a public telephone at the resort to phone home. I phoned home and it was arranged that my one sister would come and fetch me, which she duly did.

I Can remember on the journey home in the car that I didn't have much to say, I'd spent two night's and days in the great outdoors, but unfortunately I didn't have proper equipment to protect me from the rain (such as a poncho). Thus I didn't want to continue with my hiking trip, I just wanted to get home to a warm bath, a change of clothing, something good and wholesome to eat, a rest and a good nights sleep. I also didn't have the finances on me to stay the night at the resort.

Nevertheless it was an interesting and enjoyable experience despite the hardships I endured; there were also good aspects to it, such as walking through the forests and mountains and enjoying a swim in the fresh exhilirating waters of the river.

So ends the true-life story of my solitary hiking trip in the great outdoors.

Source

Hiking the Great Outdoors

Do you enjoy Hiking?

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Comments welcome! You may have walked to the South Pole or climbed Mount Everest, or maybe done some hiking in various parts of the world or in your own country; perhaps you've done some day hikes. Share your experiences or feel free to comment on mine.

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    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 3 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @julieannbrady: Yes, it would be advisable to want someone to know where you are on a solitary hike. Thanks for visiting my lens.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 3 years ago

      I think a solitary hike can be relaxing but I would want someone to know where I was in case something happened, you know?

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 3 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @Jacolive: Thanks for the comment!

    • Jacolive profile image

      Jacolive 3 years ago

      Hi Davdlynch,

      Great story! I am from your part of the world, small town outside PE, so it was nice to read something about home. I love hiking, and had always wanted to do a similar solitary hike, but just never felt safe enough.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 3 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @smine27: Thanks for you comment, yes it is relaxing and enjoyable to hike for a few days.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I've never been on a hike longer than a half day one. It sounds like a relaxing experience though.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 3 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      Thanks for you comment susan369, walking also clears my head when I'm tired of my other activities. Most of my overnight walks on my own I did when I was a lot younger, nowadays I mostly do some day hikes. Nice to hear from someone who also likes solitary walks.

    • profile image

      susan369 3 years ago

      I love hiking but I'm not sure I would want to do it by myself for days. I love my solitary walks in the mornings though, after I drop my son at the school. It really clears my head and helps put things into perspective so I can carry on with my day with renewed enthusiasm. I think it's a true gift if you can enjoy your own company.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 3 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @Babu Mohan: Thanks for your comment, I agree hiking is relaxing

    • Babu Mohan profile image

      Mohan Babu 3 years ago from Chennai, India

      It is very relaxing and gives one the much needed break from the daily grind.

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      I haven't hiked like this but my Husband has, and he finds nothing more pleasing than being in the outdoors, desert or woods. I think it takes us back to our most basic selves, like when we sit in front of a fire outside. Thanks for your lens, its great!

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 3 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @Bercton1: Thanks so much for your comment

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 3 years ago

      Hiking is still one of my favorite things i like to do. So very interesting lens!

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 3 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @TheCozyDinosaur: Thanks for comment and would like to read your hiking stories

    • TheCozyDinosaur profile image

      TheCozyDinosaur 3 years ago

      My dad has always done solo backpacking trips. We camped a lot when we I still lived at home. I really enjoyed seeing your photos to go along with your story. I hope a the next few stories I will be able to share my own solitary hiking story.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @NoProblemmo: Thanks for your comment, yes I agree, just walking in nature makes me happy too.

    • NoProblemmo profile image

      NoProblemmo 4 years ago

      I love hiking, especially in good company. It is not important where the path leads, it is the path which makes me happy.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @jan93: Thanks for you visit to my lens and for commenting

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      jan93 4 years ago

      What a lovely scene.I truly enjoy and love this kind of adventure.Have fun.

    • KateFeredayEshete profile image

      Kate Fereday Eshete 4 years ago from Ethiopia

      I'm surprised your military service didn't teach you about being prepared for bad weather, but, then, the young often don't consider all possibilities! I once did a solitary walk - well, not quite, because I had my poodle with me - 75 miles across the Scottish Highlands, which took a week. I was fortunate that the weather was fine and I slept outside sometimes, but the midges were terrible. (For those who don't know, Scottish midges are small biting insects that buzz around you in a cloud.) Also, I was lonely at times. Years later I walked 500 miles across the (midge-free) Ethiopian Highlands but this time I took a donkey and an Ethiopian friend for company, but after almost seven weeks of walking, we'd had enough! There are plenty of people who do long-distance walks that last months and years. They must be very strong physically and mentally. Anyway, thanks for sharing your adventure and you've inspired me to write lenses about my long walks, when I can find time to do it!

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi I enjoyed reading about your solitary hick. I have done a little hiking and camping it was a lot of fun.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Sounds lovely!

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @ChristyZ: Thanks for visiting and commenting, yes I agree hiking and camping is good way to get our thoughts and outlook on life right

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      ChristyZ 4 years ago

      I love hiking through the woods and camping, it's very therapeutic. Thanks for sharing your story. :)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Ibidii: Thanks for the comment, I didn't have my laptop for a few days so could only respond now, but thanks

    • profile image

      Ibidii 4 years ago

      What a lovely few days you had on your solitary journey. That was great you got some photos and have great memories to share. I had a similar experience in hiking and spending the night with out a tent etc. Coming back I hitch hiked and stayed in a water tower that was a place for travelers to stay with some dry food and a wood stove on the beach in Northern California, USA. I too was very tired when I got home and wanted nothing but to have a nice shower and hot food!

      I didn't have a camera but I have the memories. Very nice lens! I am glad that you did not have permanent damage to your right ear after the fireworks incident. Also thanks for stopping by my lens on Volunteering for the 2002 Olympics. :D

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @mommysue lm: Thanks for visiting and the comment

    • mommysue lm profile image

      mommysue lm 4 years ago

      This sounds like a wonderful way to explore our beautiful creation. I may try this some day myself.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @anonymous: Yes, tramping about in the woods sort of feeds my soul, I feel rejuvenated afterwards and enjoy the experience at the time. I once went for a two or three day walk along the coast with our one dog for company and camped here and there in a kombi and a panel van that I had years ago. I do mostly day hikes these days; thanks for commenting! Don't recall problems with mosquitoes, they bother me at home sometimes

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      If not for the rain and not being prepared that way, this sounds wondrous to me. I could tell by that first picture of you that it was the 70's and could relate to many times out and about. I would camp and maybe do day hikes or walks in the woods but never had to carry any real gear. I love being alone in the wild, a time when being solitary is food for the soul. Water is just wet and has spoiled many plans but it gave you an experience too....and a great article years later! I'm wondering if you gave it a try again, with the lessons you learned now in your pack. No mention of mosquitoes, must have been late enough in the season.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @aesta1: Thanks for visiting my lens and commenting

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      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I wish I can do this. It must be wonderful.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @DebMartin: Thanks, yes it certainly helps to spend time alone in the outdoors.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Good for you. Time alone in the wilds is so very important.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      What a nice lens, well done.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @sheacherie: Thanks for your visit and comment!

    • sheacherie profile image

      sheacherie 4 years ago

      Wow looks great. Your lens made me want to leave everything and just go hiking! thanks for you visit btw ;)

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @nick-white-kcmo: Thanks for your comment and enjoy your hiking too.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @InfoCoop: Thanks for comment, yes I've done some hiking with friends and groups, not as many I'd like to have done but there's still some time in the future to do some more

    • InfoCoop profile image

      InfoCoop 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story. I hope that you've enjoyed many more hikes (better prepared-I'm sure) since then.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @Melissa Miotke: Yes I,m sure at the time, it did me a lot of good, a lot of time to reflect, thanks for your comment.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @Michael Oksa: Thanks for stopping by my lens and for the comment.

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 4 years ago from Arizona

      I think doing a hiking trip like this by yourself would really lend itself well to reflection and de-stressing. It sounds wonderful!

    • Michael Oksa profile image

      Michael Oksa 4 years ago

      Sounds like a great place to do some hiking. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Dave Lynch profile image
      Author

      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @Jogalog: Thanks for the comment, I think I was a lot braver in my youth; I'd probably think twice about hiking and sleeping outdoors alone these days.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @David Stone1: Thanks for the comment, have recently updated this writing further.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes, I do :)

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      Looks like fun.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @MarcellaCarlton: Thanks for comment!

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      MarcellaCarlton 4 years ago

      I used to go camping by myself. It was wonderful! One time it rained all weekend. I caught up on sleep, and spent the rest of the time reading in the tent. A great weekend.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      A solitary hike is a real adventure. I think you did well as I'd have been terrified after hearing noises in the night, even if it was only a mouse.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @choosehappy: Wow, 6 months is a long time to be hiking, hope he thoroughly enjoys it!

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      I don't hike, but my daughter's boyfriend loves it; he's planning a six month hike this year. He's beyond excited and preparing for it now.

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @darciefrench lm: Thanks for the comment, sounds like quite a hike you went on, great stuff!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 4 years ago

      I went on a solo trip from BC Canada to the desert of Northern Arizona - best trip ever

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @anonymous: Thanks for the comment, appreciate it!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love hiking. I used to hike a few times a year long distance but now I can't. I walk a lot over the local nature reserves there are a few around here that are so pretty sadly they are sometimes ruined by kids on vile chicken chasers and quad bikes so you kind of get lost in their row rather then the birds and the trees.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I enjoy hiking. All of my favorite hiking haunts feature waterfalls like the one you found. What a neat adventure!

    • Dave Lynch profile image
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      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @anonymous: Thanks GypsyWhim,

      most of the wild animals are in game reserves here, I think possibly attacks from man might be our most feared threat, however there are some baboons in the area I walked, normally they keep at a distance,

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Oh no, I don't hike. Wow! You are a brave man and I give you all the credit! I'm such a wuss. Mother Nature doesn't frighten me as much as lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Now, I DO camp in a tent during the summer, but i suspect the campground is nothing like the terrain of Africa. Yikes.