Haha, this is a serious conversation with my mother and I. Can anyone relate?
Hey, Mom, I am going hiking today.
Are you going alone? No, I am not going alone, but you need to get used to me hiking alone.
No. No, you’re not going to hike alone. Yes, I will hike alone in the future. I have before.
No, that’s not right. One day, I will hike to Canada, so yes, I will hike alone.
No, I am telling you, no. Yes, Yes, I will. Okay, fine.
Are you going with the other people? Yes.
Any men going? No. Just from my hiking group.
Did you hear about the girl that got attacked when she was hiking? Stop reading the news. **eye roll**
But its dangerous. It’s dangerous for me to walk to my car in the middle of the night at work.
Let me have the phone number of one of the girls that’s going? Seriously?
Text me with updates! I’m leaving. Ok Byeeeee!
So every time that I am going hiking now, I make sure I pack up my things quietly the night before so that I do not make too much noise in the morning. I leave everything by the door and even pack my food. Some would say that makes me very prepared and are actually impressed that I can time manage.
But let’s be real for second. Packing up quickly and getting my things out the door as fast as I can is actually one of my many strategies to avoid the Spanish Inquisition that is my mother when I leave for another adventure. Haha!
As much as I get annoyed at times, I remember that it is a mother’s right to worry about her child, and it’s unfortunate that we can so easily forget that.
However! I have included some tips and tricks to ease the fears and extensive questionnaire of our biggest fans.
- Prepare early!! Research the trail, check the weather, and pack up quickly the night before, so you already shorten your time to be interrogated.
- Anticipate the questions—it oddly feels much better when this is done instead of being asked.
- Take your Mother with you! Reality is a powerful thing.
If you can, give an itinerary, update when you can, and then send pictures! I always forget to give her vital information right before I lose signal, but if I can send her a summit shot, she’ll forgive me.
- Explain what Girls Who Hike really is. For some reason, if I am not going hiking with a man, I am no longer safe. It has helped to explain the high level of expertise a lot of the woman I have hiked with have. “No mom, she’s hike the JMT—that’s like over 200 miles. Yes, all at once. She knows what she’s doing.” Or “Mom, they hiked three peaks in 24 hours?!? We’ll be fine. I’m the slow one. They’ll take care of me.”
- Use a trail map app like AllTrails. I have the pro which allows you to download maps offline. You can send the map to your mum, or ensure that you won’t get lost on your trails so that you can hug your mum after.
- Sometimes less is actually more. We have all had those friends who do not understand why we would like 10 miles at a time or for 10 hours—our mothers may be the same way. Unless of course they are hikers themselves! But if that’s not the case, just be brief and constantly reassure them, but always leave your hiking plans/map with someone you trust. Like a sibling, or a friend.
- I took a Wilderness Survival and Safety Training and First Aid which has given me the confidence in the outdoors. This will also help with the anxiety that may come from hiking alone and you will have concrete examples to defend how you will be safe in the wild. “Mom, I can build a shelter by myself. I can survive!”
- Share your location (If you have an IPhone) with someone you trust. For your safety and for their peace of mind.
- Take your adventure pup! They are quite wonderful company, but be sure to plan and prepare accordingly with enough water and food to take care of both of you.
Lastly, I think it is important to share your experiences and your knowledge. Pull out your pack, show her your p-style and blow her mind with the diva cup haha! Show her all the 10 Essentials and first aid kit that you carry so that she can see that you are a responsible adult that has researched the trail and are prepared for even some of the worst scenarios. It may not work right away, but the questions have definitely subsided for me.
Photo by Girls Who Hike IE members, Terri Joens-White and Lori Petersen Bloom, respectively.
I strongly believe that with preparedness and knowledge, we can have a wonderful and enriching experience hiking outdoors! It will only make the experience MUCH better if we also communicate that with our mummies as well 🙂
What other ways do you reassure your mom when you are going hiking?