Please let me camp alone!

10:10 a.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Patman recently shared his awesome experience of camping with his wife (my hat is off to you Pat) for the first time and I got to remembering something.

Back in my early twenties the in-laws thought it would be great if I took an in-law's boyfriend hiking.  "You're both outdoorsey, it should be really fun!"   I really didn't like him but it seemed really important to the family and I was to polite to say no.  I was polite but I was (am) a tad on the mischevious side as well. 

So, I ended up "forgetting" the tent, most of the food and the hike we took included several miles off-trail through slash-alders on the backside of Mount Si.  I sort of purposely created an epic out of the trip just to make sure I'd never have to hike with him again.  As it turned out it wasn't a bad trip, the boyfriend gave it a really good effort, we caught and ate several nice trout and it didn't rain.  Still though that was the last time we hiked together.  For a while I sorta felt bad about what I did; I'm fine with it now.

Have any of you ever created an epic on purpose just to insure that you won't have to hike with a certain person ever again? Or am I the only person that devious?




11:32 a.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Wow, bro, that's low. Genius, but low ;) 

I have not done that, but these I only have a handful of weekends that I can get out, so they are precious. So I carefully gauge the ability of someone who want to go, and If I think they truly aren't up to it I won't let them go. But I won't tone down a trip just because I know they won't enjoy a challenge.  I like introducing people to the outdoors, and will take people on "easy" trips for that purpose, but if I've already planned a more rigorous trek, I am not likely to change my plans to placate. 

2:28 p.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for the laugh, FStS. Truly evil, I'd say!

At least the in-law stepped up when he had to. On the other side of it, he was probably feeling pressured into hiking with you, too! I did a similar trip of a week in the Rockies with a (somehow-related, second cousin?) farmer from Manitoba, and while we had a nice series of hikes, I think both of us would have preferred to be on our own.

3:21 p.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
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So I guess this kills my chances of finding a hiking partner here. ;)

6:06 p.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
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the only boyfriend hike, i went up Mount Washington in New Hampshire one summer.  Long day hike.  The guy was dating one of my wife's best friends.  He wasn't my favorite person, though I didn't dislike him.  If anything, I made a point of going pretty hard that day.  To his credit, he was game, in good shape, and didn't crab about the cold & wind on the summit cone.  one weird reality about Mt. Washington is that my wife and her girlfriend DROVE UP and met us at the top for lunch. 

partially self-created epic: on a weeklong trip, also in the presidentials, we did the pre-trip pack weigh-in.  my brother's pack was 45; mine was 55; my rather slight female friend's was 52.  I urged her to lighten her load, created in large part by a mess o' organic food, much of it canned, and too many extra jackets.  She declined, and though I had a pretty good idea it would be a problem for her to lug that pack up some pretty ambitious trails, i figured she's a grown up, and this would teach her a lesson.

it taught us all a lesson.  indeed, her legs began quaking and gave out on the way up the madison gulf trail - a steep, slabbed trail that requires a lot of scrambling.  as we were faced with either turning around or splitting the load in her pack, it finally dawned on me who was going to carry that load.   we ended up literally hauling her half-full pack up a few of the steeper sections and toting a substantially heavier load otherwise when the hauling got ridiculous because the pack kept getting hung up.  it was a very hard, long day.  on the upside, it paid off a few days later when we descended the equally difficult huntington ravine trail.  i think we all felt stronger having suffered so hard early in the hike, and we were lighter by a few days' worth of food. 

wholly self-created mini-epic: on a winter trip a couple of years back, this time going up Mt. Adams in the same area, I ascended despite having horrific jet lag from an overseas trip.  Unwise.  My legs started quaking and locking up from cramps.  significantly delayed our ascent, and i ended up dropping my pack about a half-hour short of our destination, carrying the lid with the essentials up to where we camped.  my sister and a friend emptied a pack, descended, split my stuff, and trudged back up.     

funny thing is, these are some of the situations that make the trips so memorable.   and a large part of the reason i sleep so well in tents. 

8:00 p.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
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not an epic by any measure, me and my husband did blue lake for our honeymoon. he wanted to go back east. 1500 ft elevation gain with 70 lbs of gear. he had 50 plus in his pack and I had about 25. we did it no problem, and ended up having a good time. we did pack it in a day early though... :P

8:49 p.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Great stories everyone...

No, I have never created an epic with motive but found myself in one once last year in the Grand Canyon. Here is the trip report for the longer version but in short I had to get a sick buddy and his pack out of the Grand Canyon to the North Rim. In retrospect I probably should not have attempted that hike with him; I knew he wasn't ready in the honest places of my mind but tried to fool myself about it because I was so excited to go.


But Andrew is right....these things do make for some very memorable trips!

11:38 a.m. on September 21, 2012 (EDT)
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I had forgotten about two trips with a guy that I was hounded into taking. 

The guy was a second or third cousin, one whom I hadn't spent much time with growing up. But our families' paths crossed when I was around 17, and his mom begged me to befriend him and take him on outdoor trips. I was an enthusiastic if somewhat naive kid, and said "Sure!" 

Later that year, in late autumn, I he and I headed up to the mountains, driving through snowy patches as we got above 4,000ft. Our destination was Hucklberry Knob, a relatively easy and short hike from the skyway. 
He was supplying to tent, and I was providing the stove. This was prior to my having spent the time and money to put together a good kit. So I had some fleece, thermals, tennis shoes, and some synthetic clothing not designed for that use. He, however, owned all the name brand stuff: North face tent, patagonia shell, vasque GTX boots, you name it he had it. 
It was late on friday when we arrived, so we hiked through the snow and fog, set up camp. Well, I set up camp, because he didn't know how to set up the tent. We fixed some dinner and went to bed. It snowed through the night, and we woke to dense fog and heavy wet snow. 

We were only up for a few minutes before he declared he was miserable, and we were leaving. I was a bit dumbfounded, and tried convincing him to stay the second night and enjoy the snow. No dice. He began to get agitated and refused to even fix breakfast. So amidst an incessant stream of complaining about the conditions, we packed and hiked back to the car. He wasn't even game to go find a campground along the way at lower elevation, so we drove the three hours back home and we parted ways. I wasn't happy. 

A couple years went by, and I crossed paths with his mom again, who related how his "almost fiance" had dumped him after 6 years of dating, and would I "go camping and fishing with him? He really needs a good friend right now." Well, against my better judgement, I went on another trip. I mean, he was family, right? By this time he had got a tricked out SUV and fishing boat, so we headed up to Ocoee Lake to fish and camp on one of the islands. Things went fairly well the first day, though he started acting sullen and depressed as we set up camp. The next morning he was bizarrely chipper and enthusiastic in comparison to his mood the night before. I shrugged it off and we headed out on the lake to fish. By mid morning he was annoyed we hadn't caught anything, and once again declared we were leaving. Upon arriving at the boat ramp, we discovered his SUV windows busted with his 10 subs, radio, and all valuable stolen. He was unsurprisingly really angry, then became silent and wouldn't talk. During the drive back, however, he began mumbling and slowly getting more enraged, and declared his intent to come back that night with another car, leave valuable in plain sight as bait- that he was going to wait for the #@&%$ in the bushes with a 22 and shoot their manhood off. 
I am not even kidding. I tried calmly explaining that was not a good idea, but he got angry with me for defending the thieves. At this point I was getting a little scared, and tread *very* carefully with everything I said and did on the long drive home. 
I told his mom about the incident, and she was alarmed and profusely apologetic, telling me he must have stopped taking his medication! I was polite, but suggested it might have been a good thing to tell he had such pronounced difficulties before I went out into the wild with him. 

I haven't done anything with him since. 

2:52 p.m. on September 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Be honest with people and you will never have to "discourage" them by planning a bad trip on purpose.  I am sure you were a lot younger then and easily talked into some stupid ideas.

3:34 p.m. on September 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Wow Gonz, a night with someone off their meds! Thats fodder for a scary movie!

4:39 p.m. on September 21, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm wondering how you managed to forget that gem of a story! Must be one of those ones you try to erase from memory out of frustration!?

8:18 p.m. on September 21, 2012 (EDT)
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on a trip with someone off their meds...that sounds bad. thank god I don't get crazywhen I'm off my meds.....:P

3:30 p.m. on September 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I give you some serious credit man, there is no way he would've gotten a second chance out of me.

I've learned my lesson over the years, if I were going to do anything like bring someone I didn't know along, all the gear, transportation and everything else I might rely on is going to be mine. This way if he decides to throw a hissy fit and wants to leave, I just tell him go ahead start walking. I don't deal well with women that are spoiled brats but I certainly have no tolerance for men and act that way.

 Sage, I like the premeditated deviousness.

10:16 a.m. on September 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the comments, guys. I must have really "blocked" the trips from my memory, because I can barely remember the details of the first trip at all, Ha!
The second outing made me much more cautious about who I am willing to go on a trip with. I had already learned you need to know someone is physically up for a given trip, but I had never thought about someone being unstable or potentially violent before that. It was quite a bizarre eye opener! 

April 26, 2018
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