@jinxypop I'm so excited for you that you love hiking enough to keep doing it, expand your skills, and enjoy the exquisite pleasure of a solo trip. I've read through all the comments and there is definitely some good advice and specific tips in there. One concept that I don't see addressed which might make you feel a little more confident is that there is a difference between an overnight backpacking trip and true wilderness exploration. I live in Alaska, where most overnights can and should be considered true wilderness. But I've also backpacked extensively in other areas of the country that are much tamer and definitely appropriate for a first overnight trip. I do concur with some of the other posters that your very-first-ever-overnight should probably be with at least one other person who has done it before, but you're not as far away from your goal as if you were tackling a true wilderness environment. I'd recommend a loop route, as opposed to a one-way. They tend to be more well-traveled, and harder to get lost in. As for the human-fear factor, which I think started out as your biggest concern, the comments from some of the male posters may help alleviate some of your concern about "their" intentions and give you a better-rounded perspective. And I second the thoughts of all the posters who mentioned martial arts as a boost for confidence. I enrolled my daughter in a 6-week Krav Maga program. Just 6 weeks, and the before-and-after difference in her confidence was astounding! Could she, with that much training have taken down an aggressive 250-pound human? I seriously doubt it, but she was no longer held back by her fears. It may have the same result for you, and I do very much wish you peace of mind!!! We go out into the wilderness partly to experience peace, and let's not rob our own selves of that benefit with excessive fear. If you are a reader, I highly recommend a book on the subject by Gavin deBecker, called "The Gift of Fear." It helps you both to tune in to your own internal radar for real danger AND to keep that radar from becoming overactive and determining everything is a threat, even when it's not. (I had trouble putting it down.) Happy Trails to you. Have a wonderful time.
... View more
Given that the majority of responses I've seen to this post were negative or about disappointment in REI, I just wanted to share my gratitude to you @AJH for calling out REI and asking for their support in this measure. I, for one, would prefer not to see ad's on facebook at all. But while we are subjected to ad content while we use the platform I think it is necessary to hold facebook at least partially responsible for the content that they profit from. Thank you @REI co-op for taking a more vocal position and in supporting BLM! Please don't stop here, we need more diversity in the outdoors!
... View more