When you decide to do a thru-hike, your first instinct might be to recruit friends to come along too so you don’t have to go alone. Consider the benefits of solo hiking first before you invite anyone.
• You have more freedom to decide how fast you want to hike, when you want to stop for the day, and what towns you want to go into.
•You meet lots of people when you’re solo. It’s far less intimidating to strike up a conversation with one person than a large group.
• It’s easier to cover more miles in a day when you’re not hanging out with a group.
• You can drift between crews easily when you’re on your own.
• You get hitches more quickly if it’s just you.
• You can get lonely if there aren’t other hikers around.
• You will end up camping alone eventually (some people don’t mind).
• If you get injured, you might have to wait several hours before someone finds you.
• You form strong bonds with your crew.
• There is more beer drinking when you have a group.
• You have people to split motel rooms with.
• You can trade snacks with each other.
• The group helps each other out and shares with each other.
• Crews can be clique-ish and discourage other hikers from making friends with you.
• It’s hard to get the right amount of resupply between towns because crews tend to hike slower than individuals.
• It can be hard to get motivated to hike when there are other people to hang out with.
I hiked with several different crews during my thru-hike. Sometimes we would split up and reunite later. I loved hiking with a crew, but I also loved hiking solo. I could push myself more when I was solo, but I always had a great time hiking with a group.
Even if you start the trail alone, you can definitely meet people to hike with. It’s hard to find someone that’s willing to drop everything for 6 months and live in the woods. Don’t let not having a partner be the reason you don’t attempt a hike.