About the Author: Hi there, my name is “Z”, I am a queer solo female hiker from California. I run around the local ER as a nurse a few days a week. I love rock-climbing, bouldering, nerding out on DuoLingo, and being a crazy cat lady of one. I believe outside is for everyone, and I am passionate about making the wild an inclusive place for all. You can see what I’m up to on Instagram @The_Wandering_Z.
To see more posts from Z, click her name above!
You’re solo this summer?
As in you’re going to be by yourself?
What are you going to do if you get into trouble?!
What if you get sick?!
What if the water is dirty?!
What if you lose power?!
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITHOUT YOUR HUMAN THERE?!
My cat Midna does not have a Farmin InReach, but she’s got a plan and she’s got some new gear of her own to use at home while I’m out on the AT.
When you are a female or feminine hiker most questions you get revolve around your own safety, what’s your plan if x y or z happens, etc. Yes I’ve got a plan **insert eye roll**, but I spent quite a bit of time acknowledging and coming up with a plan for my pet at home.
Just like on the trail, accidents happen. Pets get sick, they get bitten by spiders and insects: my cat Midna swallowed a bee once. I came home to my little cat looking less like a cat and more like a seagull with a fish in her gullet. I nearly had a crazy cat lady heart attack before rushing her off to the vet.
I’ve learned that having thorough pet care instructions is key for my peace of mind while in the backcountry. I stick to the resume rule of keeping everything to one page and I let my ER nurse brain create a standard of care and snapshot for Midna.
Just like I have emergency contacts for myself, my pet also has emergency contacts for when I am away. A few local friends with extra spare keys that can help my pet-sitter(s): if they get locked out of my apartment, if they need help, if they get sick, their car breaks down, etc. I also include my property manager’s number in case there is a problem with my apartment.
I make sure to include my InReach number on my pet instructions. An easy way to find your InReach’s number is to text your own cell phone number using the Earthmate App. I also text that number to my cat’s emergency contacts (as well as my own emergency humans) so they can save it to their phones.
Midna the Cat’s SoBo Gear List:
Also great for other pets – yes, even dogs.
This is a cooling mat for pets to lay on during those hot summer days. This is a great piece of gear, especially if you’re like me and only have a pet sitter that is doing shorter drop in visits each day and you don’t have central AC. With the chill pad Midna can independently get cool when she needs to.
Being a SoBo means my pet is spending summer without me. This drinking fountain holds 3.78L of water that is constantly being circulated and simulates natural running water. This encourages my pet to drink more which is really important during the warm months.
My cat is a rescue, and in some ways she really rescued me. We are very bonded so even being away for a stretch of 12 hour shifts at the hospital can be tough sometimes. It is definitely hard when I am away for a long time on big trails or traveling. So I looked into getting a pet camera for my apartment so I can peek in and see how Midna is doing. Almost all the “Pet-Specific” cameras are pretty pricey and can put you back a few hundred dollars. I found an awesome and very small “Security Camera” for under $40. It is smaller than a stick of deodorant and is really easy to set up. The camera links to an app on my phone, and it works wherever you’ve got cell service or WiFi. It does work over long distances, including internationally, it worked when I was in Spain last spring, hiking the Camino Frances.
Now the next adventure is here.
I am sitting in my apartment with a purring tuxedo cat on my chest, soaking in all the kitty love I can. I leave for my AT adventure in just 17 days, and I feel content knowing my little tuxedo cat is ready for my adventure too.