Backcountry withdrawals...

1:41 p.m. on February 22, 2013 (EST)
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Have any of you experienced backcountry withdrawals?

A bit back I received a substantial promotion with the company that I am employed with. Well with that came a whole new level of responsibility as well as elevated time consumption shifted to work and away from my forays on the trail.

Needless to say I haven't really been able to enjoy any trail time since this past summer and I am really feeling it in a major way.

I am buying gear like it is going out of style again but that only helps so much and is pretty much null & void when one cannot get out and enjoy said gear...

So, have any of you out there been through a scenario like this or similar?

What were some of the things you did to alleviate your back country withdrawals?

2:04 p.m. on February 22, 2013 (EST)
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I haven't been out since the summer, so I go for walks or dayhikes. I bought a new stove and I'm dying to try it out in the field, but I am also a fair weather hiker. just have to wait for the new season, I guess.

5:01 p.m. on February 22, 2013 (EST)
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Rick, I really don't know whether to offer congratulations or condolences...

Are off-day outings possible for you, or do you have to travel too far? I understand the cabin fever, it's funny what a deep craving you can develop. Back when I lived in a city working a 9 to 5, I would unconsciously go off sidewalks to walk on any dirt or grass I could find. People stared. So I figured out how to leave work with my pack on Friday, get to a wild place, and stay there all weekend.

Right now I'm a bit housebound by severe weather (you may have seen my thread about hurricane force winds ALL THE DAMN TIME here this winter). So I'm spending far too much time online reading southern-hemisphere hiking blogs and reviews for gear I don't need and will never buy. Also expedition memoirs, survival manuals, watching nature documentaries, and researching routes for the To Hike list. Helps. Our day will come!

5:17 p.m. on February 22, 2013 (EST)
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Islandess said:

Rick, I really don't know whether to offer congratulations or condolences...

Ya know, the money is nice. Especially with all that has happened around here as of late with my wife, so on and so forth but I think people have a tendency to get to consumed by the all mighty dollar. 

I was never one of those people but at the same time the bank that carries the loan on my home is...

Ugghhhhh.....

Are off-day outings possible for you, or do you have to travel too far?

Nothing within an hours drive really sparks my interest.

I understand the cabin fever, it's funny what a deep craving you can develop. Back when I lived in a city working a 9 to 5, I would unconsciously go off sidewalks to walk on any dirt or grass I could find. People stared.

I do the same thing constantly. If I am downtown Pittsburgh I will hit a park and walk through the grass just to make my trip somewhat worth it. I actually had someone ask me one time why I chose not to walk on the black top walkways but instead travel parallel to them in the grass.

I responded with "I am trying to cut down on the wear & tear of my footwear(soles.)

That generated an interesting look.  

So I figured out how to leave work with my pack on Friday, get to a wild place, and stay there all weekend.

Right now I'm a bit housebound by severe weather (you may have seen my thread about hurricane force winds ALL THE DAMN TIME here this winter). So I'm spending far too much time online reading southern-hemisphere hiking blogs and reviews for gear I don't need and will never buy. Also expedition memoirs, survival manuals, watching nature documentaries, and researching routes for the To Hike list. Helps. Our day will come!

I am actually looking at a whole slew of gear I typically wouldn't even consider. Lowa's Ticam is probably going to be my next purchase in orange.

Now if you have seen some of my previous posts in regards to footwear this breaks a golden rule for me. All leather and gore-tex. I am an FGL/no membrane kinda guy. The whole k.i.s.s. philosophy seems like the best approach for me.

Then we have the fact that I want them in orange.


lowa-ticam-orange.jpg

                (photo courtesy of Lowa Boots)
 

Another rule breaker for me. I am not a bright color kinda guy. 

I suppose if I walk the trail on my hands the color of the footwear could be somewhat beneficial during hunting season. 

Yep, I am losing my mind.

6:55 p.m. on February 22, 2013 (EST)
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Well, they're very...cheerful?

I tease. Actually, I think they look pretty cool.

12:52 p.m. on February 23, 2013 (EST)
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I've had backcountry withdrawal a few times.  I think it is a real thing. The last time I got off the AT, i'd been in the woods for 3 months. All of a sudden: Bills, e-mails, staying up late, running water, traffic noise, people, phones, pets, chores....too much!

My "treatment" has been to get small doses of my backcountry medicine when I can.  If that means waking up super early, biking to a local park and going for a quick hike, so be it!

3:23 p.m. on February 23, 2013 (EST)
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pretty high vis boots! do they glow in the dark or reflect light?:P

4:21 p.m. on February 24, 2013 (EST)
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I had this back when I was in shape, and now I'm having it again.  My buddy and I (seattle, wa) realized we needed to do a 50-miler but didn't have a week to do it.  So then I realized we could do it in one day.  We did it, and it was epic.  Oil City-La Push, then up to lake ozette and back.  I realized that with one single day I could have a full week's worth of fun.  Like drinking OJ that's still concentrated; you have to go at it in a very different manner.  

Now I'm in SF, very bored, and I have a couple kids.  I'm not in shape and I just don't understand the bay area.  So now I buy gear.  This works.  One piece a month, or so, especially from geartrade.  My wife just watches in awe as I get three of the exact same jacket.  

The only real cure? Move back to Seattle.  That's happening in June. That's the only real remedy for long-term satisfaction.  

9:57 p.m. on February 24, 2013 (EST)
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Rick,

I have suffered from long term withdrawals, a bit different than what you are experiencing - as well as several weeks with no outside time, like you mention.

First, when I moved away from the mountains to a coastal region, I really had withdrawals from the  mountanous terrain I liked so much. I took a good bit of time off from work to drive the 500+ miles back to my old stomping grounds I missed so much. I would stress over not being able to make a trip back in time to fly fish certain insect hatches or see certain plants in bloom.

In time I have really come to enjoy what my new coastal area has to offer, not breathtaking vistas and lush coves, but very cool in it's own way.

I also am currently working long hours in order to ride out the economic mess and have reduced my trips to weekends, sometimes three day weekends.

Oh how I would love to have the time to travel back to TN for two weeks of backpacking like I used to do a couple times a year!

However, I have learned to use the extra time to read, learn, plan, save money, etc.

Life is not always fair (the fair is a place to eat corndogs & not part of life) so hang in there buddy, we're all pullin for ya!

Who knows, maybe in ten years you and I will share a campsite and talk about these trying times.

Maybe there will be a remedy for prostate problems by then, haha.

Mike G.

 

 

 

 

 

1:30 a.m. on February 25, 2013 (EST)
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Rick,

       Been there! Done that! You will figure it out. I , myself wait for  cold snowy nights and camp out in my backyard like I did when I was a kid. That helps. I also make grand plans for future trips. Keep going over those plans every day.I look over the smallest of details to iron every possible scenario out. Not that I have an answer for everything, it just keeps me occupied. Now I think half the fun is in the planning. Gotta do what you gotta do! It all works out in the long haul.  Hike on!

                                              The Schlock

2:03 a.m. on February 25, 2013 (EST)
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If I am not "out there", I am thinking about being "out there". I haven't gotten out snowshoeing as much as I have wanted, and it is driving me bonkers.

I agree with Schlock that planning anesthetizes some of that outdoor itch. I have watched YouTube vids on the hikes I want to take and tweaking food planning, and doing everything but going out on the summer trails NOW :)

In fact, since my husband and I have been watching these vids and getting really frustrated with how poorly some of them are done, and we have zillions of our trip pictures... Well... I am learning iMovie now so I can upload a bunch of our trips, to throw a little more figurative cellulose onto the fire to stave off that withdrawal just a bit, for me and maybe any viewers.

Between building the vid/slideshow, which takes me back into each trip, and planning my new ones, I feel at once soothed, ever so slightly, and excited, piquing my desire for the new season.

Guess it is my methadone....it holds off the deep pangs, but, dang! It is just not the same ;D

7:32 p.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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YES.

I recently had a kiddo, who is now 5 months old.  I work full-time, I am in the process of applying to grad schools, and my wife works full-time as well.  I have had plenty of opportunities to get out for extended day hikes and snowshoe treks, many of which have been accompanied by my pup and my little man, but I have not had a good multi-day trek since last summer.  I am thinking of a spring trip to the Shining Rock Wilderness area, and I think that I have already received (tacit) approval from the wifey.  

8:00 p.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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There are times in life where one cannot sleep outdoors, or at least go backpacking in some substantial forest.  One time I lived in a small NC mountain town and had to pull a week of jury duty so I got permission from some friends in town to let me set up my tent in their backyard and I pulled the whole week getting both my bag nights and doing my civic duty.

Another time I had to spend 3 months in a big city helping my Mom move and sell her house and the whole time I slept out in her front yard in an old Mt Hardwear Light Wedge tent.

When I'm not out on trips now I am able to use the backyard to get my bag night fix.  Retirement also gives a person much more free time, etc.  Point is, even if a person cannot be backpacking they can at least be sleeping out every night on a porch or deck or in a yard.

10:53 p.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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Gotta say Rick,

I'm pretty hardcore on the military style lugs. But, I gotta say... those look like they came out the muffler of a bad ass V8 Challenger. Sweet style man. I dig em.

As far as withdrawls, we have a few hundred acres for me to play in when I get that itch. I've blazed dozens on dozens of trails through there. Mostly following the already existing animal trails. But hey, my next step is to set up a self sustainable camp a 100yds from the pond. Already have a natural well to use. So that gives me something inbetween trips right?

11:54 p.m. on February 28, 2013 (EST)
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I believe "backcountry withdrawal" is real.  I imagine it comes down to it being something we like ... something that makes us feel good ... so when we go long periods without it, we miss it.

12:31 p.m. on March 1, 2013 (EST)
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I am beginning to get them now after being in town (Tucson) for over two months. I have about another month and a half before I will be back out for a few weeks to a month on my way through SW to NW New Mexico, Northern Arizona and Southwestern Utah before my next summer job near Zion. I bicycle tour about 4-8 months of the year and backpack along the way. Next fall,winter and spring I am going to start up in the Canyonlands area of Eastern Central Utah going out into the Needle's District and the Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers.


Route-map-for-April-to-June-bike-tour-20

This is my itinerary map of my spring travels. I will start in Tucson going east to Lordsburg then up through the Gila Wilderness and up to Ship Rock, then west to Lees Ferry and the lower Paria River, then to the North Rim f the Grand Canyon and back north to Southwestern Utah where I have a job in Mount Carmel about 12 miles east of Zion NP.

12:56 p.m. on March 1, 2013 (EST)
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I just returned from a 2 week trip to the desert.  We were on the Colorado River for 6 days and unplugged, out there with the bighorn sheep, river otters, coyotes, sandhill cranes, and great-horned owls.  I am home now and the forums and the newspaper, and politics seem very unimportant.

5:49 a.m. on March 2, 2013 (EST)
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Backcountry withdrawls- Rick I thought this thread's heading was referring to urban encroachment, but I reckon instead you abuse the outdoors in a different manner, and need an intervention and expertice to help break your dependency on nature’s most addicting substance.

Ed

12:41 p.m. on March 3, 2013 (EST)
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ppine said:

I just returned from a 2 week trip to the desert.  We were on the Colorado River for 6 days and unplugged, out there with the bighorn sheep, river otters, coyotes, sandhill cranes, and great-horned owls.  I am home now and the forums and the newspaper, and politics seem very unimportant.

I believe what you described is one of the most valuable effects of spending time in the backcountry.  It helps put life in perspective.

12:23 p.m. on March 4, 2013 (EST)
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I don't know if you have time for a dayhike, but you could take a tarp, food, stove, water filter, etc.  on a short dayhike to make it "feel" more like an extended trip.  You could also experiment with tarp pitches, different stoves/cooksets, and different meals, different clothes, different water filters, etc.  

Hike for an hour or so.  Then, pitch tarp, make lunch, experimenting with your stoves and cooksets.    After lunch, pack up and walk more.  See a stream?  hey, filter some water!  Why not?  Hike back to your car.  Maybe 2-4 hours?

I don't know, just trying to come up with a solution for you.  

1:21 p.m. on March 4, 2013 (EST)
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The outdoors are not a bunch of sports, they are a mental health plan.  I have no outdoor "toys", but implements of discovery.

The recent canoe trip was especially transformative for 2 crew members that haven't been on any long trips lately.  It was a gift to get them out there and challenge them surrounded by all of that magnificent desert in winter.

11:53 p.m. on March 4, 2013 (EST)
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After being away from the outdoors for a while, when you do finally get there... its like a high that can be found nowhere else.

9:10 p.m. on March 24, 2013 (EDT)
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I hadnt posted in this thread yet, cause I wanted to get a good pic to show why I dont suffer from bc withdrawl. I live in the backcountry, not really but I have woods all around me and I can see mt mndk. I got that pic today, when I get to my laptop, ill put it in this thread. I have to get away, regularly, I have several camps near my house. Two of them have semi- permanent structures, a leanto and a dome shelter. I find just gettin to where I cant see or hear people, cars or buildings is all I need to relax. Thats one of the main reasons I moved to nh from nc, I need my space.

9:25 p.m. on March 24, 2013 (EDT)
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Yeah, I wish I had that. I live in Pittsburgh. I have actually been strapping on the day pack and "trekking" to work. It's about as close as I can get to being away.

I haven't been able to get out since last summer and I am really losing it lol.

8:58 a.m. on March 25, 2013 (EDT)
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This is about a ten min walk from my back door, with maybe five hundred feet of elevation gain. Its easy for me to get away.
IMAG0957.jpg
and heres one with a sticker
IMAG0964.jpg

sorry about the poor depth of field its from my phone

4:45 p.m. on March 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Very cool Hotdogman! I hope to one day live close enough to a wilderness to start a trip on foot. Even though I’m in Knoxville, the closest suitable mountains are still an hour drive for me. I share your desire to travel beyond cars, structures and crowds.

Rick,

I’m chronic….I get withdrawals if I can’t go for more than two weeks. I start getting depressed and irritable. Hmmm, classic signs of addiction huh?

I do have some Wildlife Management areas within a ten minute drive but I have to share those places with seasonal hunters, mountain bikers, and so forth. And the largest one (30 miles of trail) borders a small airport which creates noise pollution.

5:22 p.m. on March 25, 2013 (EDT)
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The ridge to the right in the pics is a huge piece of land owned by a gravel company, its totally undeveloped. I can walk to mndk, about 7 miles down the old rail bed, but its tio much for a day hike. They only allow camping on mndk in a campground thats too noisy and cramped for me. I have hiked most of the way and stealrh camped by the rail bed, to awakened in the middle of the night by a convoy of snowmobiles. I wander thise woods when im solo and dont wanna drive anywhere. I have tons of little mtns and parks within an hr, too many to list. Thats the best part of livin in nh, in my opinion.

7:42 p.m. on March 25, 2013 (EDT)
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you lucky duck. I have to drive an hour to get to my dayhike place.

9:35 p.m. on March 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Hotdogman, I rememember Mount Monadnock (aka "the most climbed mountain in the northeast").  We camped in that campground when I was a kid.  Then, and in later years I did multiple hikes up there, if I recall correctly, on trails such as the White Dot Trail, White Cross Trail, Pumpelly Ridge, etc.  :)

11:06 p.m. on March 25, 2013 (EDT)
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There are five main trails up, plus lots of connecting ones. I climb it a lot, I can be there in ten mins from my house. It gets tons of hikers, but mostly on a couple of the trails. The other trails dont get anywhere near the traffic of the main two. Patman, one of my best friends is moving to knoxville in a few weeks. Hes tryin to talk me into movin back south, ive been considering it. He lived in knox for three yrs around 2000, ive got a decent business opportunity there, but its hard to move school age kids.

8:20 a.m. on March 26, 2013 (EDT)
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Still too cold here in ND to go out. Was -25 after the windchill last night. I can do cold temp camping, but that is too cold for my blood, even after living here 10 years and getting more used to it. I have been looking at all sorts of trails and hikes and found a lot of trails I did not know about that I plan on visiting this summer if I can find the time.

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