Thinking of doing the Overland Track alone? Sue leaves for Tasmania tomorrow to walk the Overland Track on her first solo adventure. It has been a nerve wrecking build up for her but should be successful due to one factor - planning.
In January, Sue announced she was thinking about doing the Overland Track in Tasmania on her own. This was a surprising announcement in the "Our Hiking Blog" household as she had never hiked alone nor expressed any interest in the concept.
Over the last few months many issues have been discussed, with detailed plans formulated to ensure the trip would be a success. We will list the issues here in a Q & A format, to provide information for anyone else who is planning this walk solo.
Sue cooking dinner somewhere along the Overland Track last year
The list is not exhaustive, as other information is available within "Our Hiking Blog", (and widely on the net) but the goal is to outline the issues she raised to assist anyone else who is planning the walk solo.
Am I experienced enough?
The Overland Track is a well defined and supported wilderness walk. It is very well marked and there is a good system of huts and shelters if the weather turns bad.
Sue has walked the Overland Track about five times in different configurations and seasons. She has also done the South Coast Walk and other multiday walks. She is experienced on these types of Tasmanian walks but would not consider herself an experienced Tasmanian bushwalker (there is definitely a difference)
What if I get injured?
The track is very popular. There are several thousand people who walk the track each season. You are rarely more than 30 minutes for another walker or group. This is obviously a disadvantage if you desire a pure "wilderness" experience, but reassuring if you trip over and break your leg!
Will I be lonely?
No, definitely not. There are around 30+ Overland Track walking passes allocated to EACH DAY (excluding the walkers on commercial trips ....) Sue will have 30 ish close buddies starting the walk with her as there are only 2 spots left for her departure date. In addition nearly all of March was booked out.
One of the great parts of the whole Overland Track experience is the people you meet. It is a truly international crowd. Everyone is blown away by the journey and the wilderness (yes, in this context we refer to the wildness, the spectacular scenery and the pristine environment) Once you reach the huts in the evening there are great stories of the day's adventures, often occurring in several languages with young and old all enjoying each other's company in this unique place.
What if the weather is bad, yes really bad?
The weather will be bad. There is a 90% probability it will be bad one, two or every day. We have had snow in December , sleet in November, rain any old time. The key is taking good gear. Clothing that can be multi layered , excellent rain gear, good boots. There are lists everywhere. This is the link to a good hiking gear list that was developed by the Hobart Walking Club.
We have collected some excellent (and ultimately expensive) gear over the years. We have great confidence it is robust, warm, waterproof and appropriate for all conditions.
Fuel, i.e. FOOD is important. Eating small, high energy snacks, frequently in cold weather, keeps up your energy.
Read up on the signs of hypothermia and how to reduce the risks.
Won't people think I am mad, crazy, irresponsible wanting to do it on my own?
Maybe, but who cares. Only you know why the idea appeals. Possibly it is the challenge to be self reliant, the need to have some personal space or just the timing means you have to walk alone without your usual hiking mate. What ever the reason, as long as you have confidence in your ability, have prepared thoroughly and probably bounced the idea off a more sane person (s)(thanks Colin and John) then go for it without any hesitation.
What if I miss the plane, bus, boat etc?
One simple word, don't. Get everywhere early. Double check your bookings. Travelling solo means you are in charge and responsible for all facets of your trip. If you pull it off successfully, a great buzz. If there is a stuff up.....well, who knows what stories you will have to tell.
We will post more stories and picture of Sue's adventure on her return home.
Have you ever completed a multiday hike solo? Dreamed of heading out on a hike on your own? Please take the time and leave a comment and share your tale or dream with our readers.