I do most of my hiking alone, and without issue. Some people feel it is safer to hike with a friend. Honestly, there are various angles to the safety issue. If you go hiking, the most common bad things that can happen to you are:
(3) Slipping or Tripping
(4) Being bitten by spiders, ticks, bees, etc.
(5) Getting lost after dark
It is very rare that humans are attacked by animals or other humans while hiking, so that is not an issue that I wish to consider. Hiking with a buddy will not help you be less exhausted or dehydrated. Hiking with a buddy will not make it any less likely that you will trip or fall. You can laugh loudly while your friend cracks a joke, opening your mouth wide enough for an insect to come inside as well. Lastly, this is a more serious issue — if you hike with a friend, you will be more likely to be adverturous, and get lost after dark.
Two of the most dangerous hiking trips happened with friends. We were having a good time exploring a new trail. When you are with a friend, you pay less attention to the twists in the trail and more attention to your friend which means you are more likely to get lost coming back. I was smart enough to bring multiple flashlights with functional batteries with me. My friend brought none. I brought plenty of liquids. My friend didn’t bring any. My friend wanted to meditate for 45 minutes as the sun was getting lower and lower. I didn’t want to be a party pooper and rush her, but seriously — this is dangerous. You don’t want to get stuck on a mountain in Sedona with the sun setting. The fact that the spirits I call “The guardian spirits” were upset with our/her presence made it much worse. The spirits there had a reputation for making sure people would lose their way, and it almost worked with us. They just don’t like certain people, and nobody knows why. They are protective of their sacred land and Sedona is sacred to the local tribes. In any case, we barely made it out alive. The sun had completely set by the time we made it to flat ground, and fortunately we knew what to do from then to get to the car.
My other dangerous experience was with another friend. It was in the Southern entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. We hiked in the desert. The trail unfortunately twists and turns and goes through long sections of washes. The problem is that you lose the trail when you are hiking on a sandy wash. Coming back at night, it is easy to lose track of where you are supposed to go. You could easily dehydrate and die out there with nobody to save you. Luckily, my friend remembered the way back. So, we didn’t die. But, I don’t want any more close calls.
You are safer hiking where you know the trail. If you are hiking in a new place, it might make sense to take notes as to where the trail twists. It might help, or might not help jog your memory.
I know you’re all wondering — what about the hiking expedition and the rattlesnake? I considered throwing rocks at it from a distance, but decided to go and take the longer trail back down. Why take chances with a rattlesnake taking a snooze on a sandy trail at Griffith Park?
Oh, by the way, before it slips my mind. You are much safer hiking with a group that knows the terrain. That eliminates the possibility of getting lost, and someone can go for help if you get injured. Groups don’t always provide a pleasant social atmosphere as hikers are notoriously unfriendly. Yes, it is the rock climbers who seem to “always” be friendly. I’m not sure why that anomaly of nature exists, but it seems to always be that way.
Assuming you like hiking more than rock climbing, but value the “quality” of your accompaniments:
Heaven = going hiking with rock climbers
Hell = going rock climbing with hikers