Tips From An Expert For Your First Solo Adventure In The Backcountry

Getty Image/Sarah Grothjan

Sarah Grothjan loves nothing more than escaping the confines of her Portland life for the backcountry of the Great Pacific Northwest. Grothjan worked as an award-winning journalist before focusing her writing prowess on the natural world. These days, she’s focused on her own platform — blogging about her outdoor adventures, the reality of life as a solo outdoorswoman, and sharing practical advice for hitting up remote locations.

Over the years, Grothjan has taken on solo travel in the backcountry of America’s wildest regions. This inherently comes with risks. Packing in water and filtration systems, rationing food correctly, and staying safe from animals and, well, other humans are all facets to making sure a backcountry excursion will be fun (and safe). As much as we’d all like to think we can just pick up, hit the road, and figure things out as we go, sometimes we have to be prepared and think ahead a bit.

After all, the very joy of the natural world is that it’s wild and unpredictable. Danger is, to some degree, implicit.

We caught up with Grothjan recently when she was back home in Portland between hikes. So we picked her brain about hitting the trails, staying safe, and sharing stories on Instagram.

Solo travel feels like it has become a movement with a clear focus on woman safely getting on the road. How do you feel about the female solo travel movement?

I love the momentum that solo female travel is getting right now. I don’t even know if it’s new. I posed that question to a few different people, “do you think this is something that’s more recent, or are people just talking about it now finally?” Either way, I think there needs to be more conversation around it.