You Go by Yourself? What if Something Happens?

What if 1

By Jessica Shouse

What if? What if? What if?  As a mom, wife and female that loves to hike alone, I am often asked, what if something happens? Aren’t you scared? What if you see a bear? (I have, and lived to tell about it).  I’ve had people tell me I am crazy & insane.  I’ve had people ask, “your husband lets you go alone?”  Yes, yes, he does. More on that in a minute.  People politely inform me of all that could go wrong. Wrong turns, sprained ankles, wet clothes, no clean water, etc.…

Guess what?  I know. I know all the things that could go wrong. No, I’m not scared. Do I have moments of fear? Of course, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t.  But for the most part, being on the trail, alone in nature is very comforting and very soothing. The majestic mountain peaks surround me like a big protective hug.  There is a specific point when driving on Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain National Park that comes to mind.  You turn a corner and then, bam!  Hallett Peak, among other towering beauties, emerge and a sense of calm and safety rush into me and I’m reminded that all will be okay.

What if 2Sure, there are risks.  There are inherent risks in everything that we do.  Think it’s not a risk to get in your car to go to work or ski down your favorite slope? I try to be smart and prepare for every hike despite the risks.  I do my research.  I am a smart, college educated woman.  I can hold my own.  I check conditions and study trail maps before I depart.  I always do an inventory of my bag; ensuring I have all the essential safety and emergency items.  I always tell at least one person my plans and I try very hard not to deviate from those plans.  I make sure to have my special good luck charm with me on all my adventures.  My son has a little transformer action figure, Bumble Bee.  As I was preparing to set out for a solo hike one day, Jacob brought Bumble Bee to me and asked if he could go for a hike.  I obliged.  I made sure to take lots of photos of Bumble Bee that day, just for Jacob. He loved seeing those photos! Bumble bee has been on every adventure since and as silly as it sounds, he makes me feel a little safer out there on the trails.  People also love seeing him.  I receive lots of comments about him. He rides right on the front of me in a little elastic strap on my pack.  He has an awesome front row view to some of the best scenery in the world.  I will be sneaking photos of him in future posts.  Now if you see him, you know his back story!

History and society have told women for years and years past that we shouldn’t be alone in the city, let alone in the mountains!  In fact, National Park Service jobs used to be “men’s only.”  A bunch of bull if you ask me!  There is scientific evidence to show that female solo hiking is not more dangerous than hiking alone as a man.  80% of search and rescue cases involve males…  Back to my husband letting me go alone.  Let me make one thing clear, I am way too strong & independent of a woman to let a man, or anyone, stop me from achieving my goals.  With that being said, we have a very solid relationship.  We are equal. No one is above the other. We respect and support one another 110%.  He is supportive of me hiking alone because he knows how much I enjoy it and how much it means to me to connect with nature.  He has seen first-hand the benefits it has provided me. And, hey, as they say, happy wife happy life right?

What if 5Sure, I was a bit scared on my first solo hike.  But the more & longer solo hikes that I do the more & more I realize I am just fine out there all alone.  I have learned so much about myself!  That I am capable of anything I put my mind to.  That I am a strong, brave, powerful and wise female.  Hiking solo has become the number one thing I do to help manage stress and my anxiety.  What better way to get rid of all that toxic energy than by putting your hands in the soil, wading your feet in a cool river, feeling the tension blow off your shoulders in the wind.  I love being in the woods alone.  Perhaps one of my favorite things in the entire universe is to find a nice flat rock next to a river or lake and bask in the afternoon sunshine for a good hour.  Sometimes I listen to my favorite songs, sometimes I pull out my favorite book and many times I simply lay still, enjoying the serene stillness and calmness that life does not often provide us.

Did I mention the boost of self-confidence that comes from hiking a new trail alone?  Solo hiking has taught me to acknowledge any fears of doubts I may have along the way.  Then I think of how amazing the views are going to be once I reach my destination for the day.  Those fears and doubts are quickly cast aside.  Now, I am not suggesting that we throw all fears away.  Sometimes those feelings we get are trying to tell us something important.  My advice, trust your instincts.  If something just doesn’t feel right, take action.  I have had to cut a long-awaited trip short because unpredicted thunderstorms quickly rolled in.  With many of my preferred hikes being at 9,000 ft evaluation or higher, lighting is a serious concern.  That day I continued on for a few minutes despite a few very strong claps of thunder, not wanting to ruin the day.  Where there is thunder, there is lightning… I had a brief conversation with myself and was quickly reminded that the risk at that time was not one that I was willing to take.  I quickly turned around and headed back to the car.  Good thing, because not 5 minutes later the skies opened and it started to rain a torrential downpour with multiple lightning strikes recorded in the area.

What if 3Solo hiking has trained my brain to be able to handle all sorts of tough situations in many areas of my life in a much more calm and positive manner.  Being alone allows me to savor every moment. To enjoy every ray of sunshine and every inch of powder blue sky. I can stop to take it all in as much or as little as I want.  I can take a nap and breathe in that crisp clean mountain air for as long as my heart desires.  Being alone on the trail is paradise to me. A very crucial & important part of my self-care routine.  Sure, there are risks.  I’m not trying to deny that. However, risks result in rewards. No risk, no story.  If we never take risks and challenge ourselves how will we ever grow? How will we ever know what we are capable of?  A quote comes to mind, “You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there’s no joy living your whole life on the ground.” So ladies, lace up those boots, grab your backpacks and go on a solo adventure.  I promise, you’ll be hooked and will be begging for more.

Blogger, Reviewer and Multiple Contributor at

I’m a 30 something, wife, mother, boss babe, photographer, blogger, gear reviewer and avid nature lover. Jessy's my name, and hiking’s my game! I am blessed to call beautiful Colorado home. Getting out and enjoying nature, being in the mountains helps me to escape the pressures of life.  Being up in those peaks takes away all my stress, all my worries. It is my solitude, my peace - my healing place. I go to the mountains to seek guidance and find clarity.

Reconnecting with nature and developing a true passion for hiking and the outdoors has literally saved me. This is why I created Colorado Mountain Momma.  I want to share the incredible healing power of hiking & nature with other Mommas that may be experiencing their own struggles.

By opening a very personal door into my own journey and life experiences I hope to show others that they too can benefit from all nature has to offer. Through Colorado Mountain Momma, I aim to guide others to find a healthy balance between catering to life’s responsibilities and caring for one's self and passions.

32 thoughts on “You Go by Yourself? What if Something Happens?

  • August 7, 2019 at 12:05 am
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    Many more women are going solo hiking, just like solo travel. So long as you check conditions, know your routes, have emergency contacts and back up of equipment and food, go for it.

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  • July 25, 2019 at 9:15 am
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    I have done plenty of things on my own including moving to another country. Camping I won’t do though because I’m not a fan of bugs. 🙂

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  • July 24, 2019 at 4:57 am
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    I love a mom on a mission. As a new mom it can be so hard to take time out and to just take care of yourself. I used to hike before I was pregnant and want to get back into it. I’ve hiked in my hometown but haven’t gotten the courage to do it alone anywhere else. How did you pick your first few hikes alone?

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    • July 24, 2019 at 2:07 pm
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      Hi Corritta –

      Thanks so much for reading and for your question. I started out by picking shorter, easier trails that I knew had lots of other people around. As I got more comfortable, I’d do longer hikes, still on popular trails. I’ve worked my up over the years to more remote and challenging hikes, but still generally pick trails that I know someone will come along within a few hours. Happy hiking!!

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  • July 23, 2019 at 9:12 am
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    I honestly don’t think I could hike alone. You are very experienced and you have a great checklist and plan. I admire your honesty and bravery. It is your time to unwind and relax from the day to day life stresses.

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    • July 23, 2019 at 2:07 pm
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      Thanks for reading Jane.

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  • July 23, 2019 at 12:59 am
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    I think with anything there are risks although it’s very unlikely anything will happen. I travelled across Europe on my own and had a blast! If you have a goal just do it

    Laura x

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  • July 21, 2019 at 6:11 pm
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    I really love your positive attitude towards life. You are truly a go-getter who knows how to banish her fears and strive for what she wants in life. Your post has motivated me to pack my bags and go for a hike right away. I completely agree ‘there’s no joy living your whole life on the ground.” It’s important to take calculated risks in life and trust your instincts.

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    • July 23, 2019 at 2:11 pm
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      Thanks for your kind words Shaily. I still have fears for sure, I just don’t let them guide my journey!! They take a back seat, but they are certainly still there. They do keep me in check sometimes, when I do get into situations that I probably shouldn’t be in.

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  • July 21, 2019 at 3:40 pm
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    You are right. There are risks in everything we do. I believe some are riskier than others but that can be argued. I have never gone hiking on my own before. Would like to try it.

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  • July 21, 2019 at 3:08 pm
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    I agree with you that you cannot live your life with a bunch of what-ifs which haunt you for the rest of your days. You have to live your life to the fullest and then whatever happens happens. You will never be happy if all the naysayers just stop you.

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    • July 23, 2019 at 2:13 pm
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      Thanks David! I completely agree with you. I just leave the naysayers in the rear view mirror.

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  • July 21, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    I love this article, always gives me little bit of sense what I need to do and be prepared for Thanks!

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  • July 21, 2019 at 5:18 am
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    I absolutely love your can-do attitude! I think I might be uncomfortable going camping by myself even if I was a male…for me it’s more a “safety” thing than a “gender” thing…

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  • July 20, 2019 at 12:54 pm
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    You rightly mention that risks are there everywhere. Whether it is just going to an office in your home city or heading into the jungles on a solo adventure. And yes it is the mind which needs to master these fears and forge ahead. Your post makes for fascinating reading and is an inspiration to those hesitating on the threshold of their homes to head out into the great outdoors.

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  • July 20, 2019 at 6:19 am
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    You are an inspiration. As women we are generally considered as weaker and dependent. And when people see us overcoming barriers , they are in awe. Absolutely going alone helps to build a lot of confidence..

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  • July 20, 2019 at 6:18 am
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    A great topic for a post, as there are defintely a lot of things to consider when it comes to camping and hiking alone, or indeed any solo travel. I think you are right that as long as you don’t skimp on your research, and you make strong plans, including contingency plans on how to deal with potential issues, you will be OK, even in the event of something unexpected.

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  • July 19, 2019 at 5:00 pm
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    You are inspiring, and there is always a lot to learn from your posts. I agree we always have the call inside “What if?” At the same time, as you have said, it is the self-confidence that keeps us going. I love your hiking stories, keep bringing them more to me.

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    • July 23, 2019 at 2:19 pm
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      Thank you so much for your kind words Shreya. It means a lot to know there are people reading and enjoying my posts. It’s absolutely the self confidence that keeps me going.

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  • July 19, 2019 at 3:45 pm
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    I too travel alone and that’s a question I face too. The usual answer I give is, esp., if the person is from my country, is the tagline of Redbull India. It translates to ‘Be scared, for ahead for fear, lies victory’! Haha.
    I don’t hike solo though I’d love to do it in future. Just awaiting my toddler to grow a bit more, so I restart my solo adventures again.
    Btw, pls add a picture of that bumble bee in hikes. I really want to see it!

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  • July 19, 2019 at 1:54 pm
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    This is something I often think about when thinking about people who travel alone, I know it is something I could not do. But whether you are alone or with someone things can happen x

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  • July 19, 2019 at 10:34 am
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    I agree that hiking alone can help to build your confidence. As a solo traveler, it has changed me for the better!

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  • July 19, 2019 at 9:01 am
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    I thought ‘what if’ was only for India and the Asian countries… your post is so motivating. I want a Bumble Bee and a car to go solo. But maybe not far to begin with. You rock woman!

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  • July 19, 2019 at 7:38 am
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    Thank you for this inspiring article. I, too, hike alone and it reassures me to read about other women solo hikers. I receive so many comments on why it isn’t safe and how things could go wrong. During those moments, I counter with a story of how things went wrong on a group hike (twisted ankle). Life happens one way or another and fear shouldn’t stop anyone. Keep hiking and crushing it!

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  • July 19, 2019 at 5:19 am
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    It’s always dangerous being alone… I mean, anywhere! You know how to take care of yourself! I think it’s quite an adventure!

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  • July 19, 2019 at 2:48 am
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    I do think about the dangers of being alone, whether I am camping or hiking. I have actually not done it. Good for you to be careful and venture out!

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  • July 18, 2019 at 11:34 pm
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    I’ve got to say you are very adventurous and daring. But as for me personally, I wouldn’t go alone. Then again, you aren’t really alone, you go with Bumble Bee and you both have fun. So…. just kidding. 🙂

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    • July 23, 2019 at 2:05 pm
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      Thanks for reading!!

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  • July 18, 2019 at 8:23 pm
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    How adventurous! Things can go wrong even when you are with people. We should not allow the what if’s to be a stumbling block.

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    • July 23, 2019 at 2:03 pm
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      I agree! Fear can be so debilitating if we let it. I would even add that even when we run into stumbling blocks we need to try to learn from them and then keep moving on, climbing up that mountain.

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  • July 18, 2019 at 8:23 pm
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    To go alone is sure risky. But if you are well-prepared than the risk is reduced. I did the similar things on other occasions as well. After all, I would be more confident than before. That’s is what I wanted to achieve.

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    • July 23, 2019 at 2:01 pm
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      Preparation is key! Thanks for reading.

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