How to Avoid Getting Lost on a Guided Wilderness Trek, Part 2

There are plenty of reasons to go for a walk on the wild side without your guide. Some folks might wish to meditate. Or to have a spiritual experience one way or another. Some head off by themselves away from camp to do photography or to go fishing. Again, as noted in my previous post, we are guides, not babysitters!

Another important reason to head off by yourself is the simple quest for solitude, because solitude is an important wilderness value, one of the defining characteristics of a true wilderness experience. To be alone or nearly alone in wild nature is a  necessary antithesis of the lifestyle that most folks live in their generally urban and hectic and crowded daily existence. One enters the wilds first and foremost to experience primordial nature, sure, but being alone or nearly so in the wilds provides another rich layer of wild experience that is difficult to attain while chatting with others around the campfire. Alone in the wilds, time slows down. Your senses become heightened. Self-awareness increases. So does your closeness to the friend or family member with whom you are sharing the peace and quiet. And those moments of solitude, away from the group, allow you to notice things that might otherwise slip your attention.

Even the Wilderness Act specifies solitude as an important wilderness value by including “an opportunity for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation” as part of the definition of a Wilderness area. Here at Big Wild, we want you to have a real wilderness experience, and we do not discourage folks from seeking heightened levels of solitude. But remember, tell the guide where you’re going and when you’ll be back, stick with the plan, and bring your daypack containing water, fire, warm cloths and rain-gear. And pepper spray in griz country. Always!

Anyway, although we’ve had a couple of close calls, in 40 years of guiding we’ve never lost anyone without quickly finding them. And we plan to keep that record intact.

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“Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”– John Muir

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