The Greatest Peril of Solo Hiking and Traveling

“It’ll be lonely!”, “The world is full of bad people!”, “What if you get lost!?”, they are all WRONG. That’s not the greatest peril of going solo. So let me tell you the secret. Across generation, it’s been keep secret from mere mortals. But, I’ll bite the bullet and just tell you. After all, I’m a rebel with a cause.

The greatest, the biggest peril of traveling and hiking solo is…… DOGS! Yes! Those fuckers! Four legged canine creatures!

Why, you asked, confused, like a third grader get lost in a supermarket, looking for her parents.

I’ll tell you why. I have a severe Cynophobia. From wikipedia: Cynophobia (/ˌsaɪnəˈfoʊbiə/; from the Greek: κύων kýōn “dog” and φόβος phóbos “fear”) is the abnormal fear of dogs. Not gonna deny it, however uncool that might be. I even afraid of puppies. Oh well.

So, here’s the thing. I love traveling and hiking. With one caveat: alone aka solo. I really love the experience and the freedom. I can do whatever I want to. I can go wherever I want to go to. The freedom is huuuuge. So, like any other great solo travelers and hikers in the history, I explore cities, towns, villages, and hiking trails alone.

And here’s where the problem lies. When you’re (I’m) exploring alone, sometimes I would encounter dogs. Caged dogs, leashed dogs, roaming dogs, you name it, doesn’t really matter, they’re still dogs. So when I hear a slightest sound of bark, or see a slightest part of a tail, or smell a slightest odor of canine (not really!), that Cynophobia would generously kick in. A lot of scenarios would come up in my mind: my right leg got bitten, my left leg got bitten, my jugular got bitten, etc. My stomach lurching. Cold sweat trickling from my forehead.

Usually, in the cities, I would just detour and find another way to avoid those creatures, with a great success. The percentage of me get bitten by a dog is 0%. I’m proud of that stat.

Peril

However, just this morning, I hiked the Kosakora hill (I will post it later), and at the fucking trail, there were two dogs, already barking to me when I was still 50m from them. “Oh great, I’ll just detour, oh wait there’s no other trail… So, I guess I’ll just cancel the hike then, go back to my room and cry”. I was already on the move to go back, when there was an old man, gathering grass for his cow.

Like any other good solo traveler, I then opened up a conversation. After all, the purpose of going solo is to open up to locals and immerse the surroundings. After sometimes of conversation, I pointed out my severe and urgent problem. The trail was infested by dogs, I said. With a laugh, he then said, “Lol it’s OK, they’re not a problem at all”. “Yeah sure, what an advice”, I thought. I gave him a proposition, what if he helped me to get past of those foul creatures? Like any brave warrior, he of course accepted it. Only, he wanted my IDR 20k. Oh well, totally worth it.

We then hit the trail again. When we were going past those abominations, they just ran away. “Lol, take that foul creatures, I’m now with my guardian angel”, I almost thought. After that, well, let’s just say that I reached the peak safely. Thanks Mr anonymous, you’re so cool.

That’s an IDR 20k well spent, if you really think about it hard enough. The choices was basically either a) pay IDR 20k, or b) get eaten alive by dogs.

Peril

That’s not the end by the way. To get back, I had to use the same trail, which in turn had the same problem, and the same dogs. So what do I do? Well, there was an another way. You see, Kosakora is right at the shore of Indian Ocean, and that trail is just about 100m from the shoreline. So, I took a risk, and traced the shoreline. I was wary, sure because it’s not a normal route. It’s just a cliff and rocks, with the wave crashing every now and then. But, if I have to choose, facing dog, or facing Poseidon/Neptune/Nyi Roro Kidul, then I’ll choose to face those deities 24/7.

Peril

I’m lucky, the tide was not high at that time, so I can hop up and down the rocks safely. I’m grateful to my hiking boots. Sharp rocks? No problem. But I’m not that grateful to those damn rocks, a lot of cuts can be found on my hands now.

After about 15 minutes, I came safely to the other side of the beach, successfully bypassing those damn creatures.

So, lesson learned:

Dogs are awful, I’m generalizing here, because all of them are When you have to choose IDR 20k or your life, chose the later There’s a reason why hiking boots used for hiking Have I mentioned that dogs are awful? And that’s it folks. That’s the greatest peril of solo traveling and hiking, untold.

But, you know, a wise man once said, “A glass half empty is a glass half full”. I could see that particular experience as a bad experience, or, I could see it as a great adventure, tracing the shoreline.

It’s all thanks to the dogs.