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Solo or with a buddy?

11:46 a.m. on January 11, 2009 (EST)
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I would like to know how many front country and back country hikers and campers travel solo and how many travel with a buddy? The reason I ask is that I use to travel and camp with a girl friend and really enjoyed all of our trips. But about two years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and lost her interest in adventure. Now I usually travel solo and seem to have less fun. I am still taking trips but not as many and not as long. If you travel solo, how do you pass the time? - especially after dark?

1:03 p.m. on January 11, 2009 (EST)
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With my dog.

5:06 p.m. on January 11, 2009 (EST)
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With my dog.

5:49 p.m. on January 11, 2009 (EST)
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Hi Frazier,

I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I had very good friend with whom I did EVERYTHING. I lost her at age 26 to colon cancer. When I do any activities I used to do with her, hiking, biking, inline skating, etc., I feel as though I am doing them in her honor. I know she would want me to keep going rather than just quit.

Perhaps your friend would still like to help you prepare for your trips, or could keep in touch with you via sat. phone, or via spot device or something. That way you would be alone, but not really without your buddy.

7:21 p.m. on January 11, 2009 (EST)
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Frazier,

A good book, nothing like reading a good book in the middle of the woods.

Solo hikes to beautiful vistas with a camera.

Do you write? A nice secluded campsite in the forest with pen and paper.

Audio books are pretty cool too.

If you really want to get back into it. Try your hand at a few new hobbies. Bird watching, get your bird book and some binocs, work your way through the book trying to ID some birds.

Some people like to identify plant life, bug life etc. there are tons of things you can do in the back country, you just need to experiment and find one that suits you.


Personally, I am just happy to be there. I don't get bored just "doing nothing" when I am in the mountains.

2:39 p.m. on January 12, 2009 (EST)
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Crown Royal

3:54 p.m. on January 12, 2009 (EST)
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solo, with my brother, or with friends. When by myself I usually write or read or listen to audio books in the night hours. I can usually find stuff to do during the day. Sorry to hear about your friend.

2:40 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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I'm sorry to hear about those of you who've been affected by cancer and losing hiking partners.

As to the question, I mostly go with my buddy/husband. Usually our small kids are with us, unless we're able to get away without them, in which case the two of us go together and do something harder we couldn't do with the two of them along.

I prefer hiking with my husband to solo, but I'd rather go solo than feel like I need to bring along a partner, just because.

There are some friends we like to hike with, but I'm happy to get out and do my own thing on my own terms.

2:52 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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I prefer to be alone. I've seldom found myself "looking for something to do" when out there. But all of the above things sound like good suggestions. My own practice is to try to soak in my environment, and become as much a part of it as possible, without adversely affecting it. Just realizing that I'm there, I'm part of the wild, and comfortable in it, makes it worthwhile to me.

5:45 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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Try planning shorter trips than you normally would to start with kind of like you are just starting out after a long sabbatical from the wilderness. I use to do a lot of 5 to 7 day and a few 10 day trips as well as the weekend and long weekend trips with a group whether it was with the boy scouts or the group of friends I grew up with or my family. But now I have no one that wants to go anymore and I am single so it kind of narrows down my options most people I know today only want to go on day hikes. Although I do like to have my time alone and there is no better place than the wilderness in my opinion. I do get lonely or board sometimes after 3 or 4 days with no one around but I do enjoy it when I come across people that I have never met before on the trail. So I just plan shorter trips like 3 days 2 nights and a few 4 day 3 night trips and go places you have never been before or are not real familiar with.

Some of the other posters have some good advice and some others activates you could also do. Like bird watching, plant identification, wildlife identification, animal track identification, animal scrubs, rubs & wood carving & whittling & geocaching etc. You could make a custom carved walking stick or look for or make a nice gift to bring back for your girlfriend. A good sipping drink like Single Malt Scotch helps too lol.

P.S. If you ever get up my way let me know and ill go camping with you.

6:28 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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usually just me and my dog.

9:13 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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I usually hike/camp alone. On vacations I have a good friend with me. For the 20 years I hiked the Grand Canyon I always hiked alone, only hiking sometimes with others I met on their own also. No discussions of where to camp, sharing meals, but mainly because I have a longer stride I rarely find someone to keep up with me. Or that I want to hike with longer than a few days. I like solitude.

1:05 a.m. on January 14, 2009 (EST)
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Moments are like snowflakes...enjoy them in the present before they melt away. Your girlfriend has been experiencing adventure (cancer) every moment of her life for the past two years; it is understandable that she's not up to another adventure. Illness of any kind is a solo experience and your girlfriend would probably have some great ideas on how to pass the time alone. Let her courage inspire you to find ways to adapt your hiking/camping to include her on those long trips... RV, ATV, maybe booking a couple nights together at a lodge surrounded by beautiful views and great low impact trails, or a sunrise breakfast at a secluded beach, revist your favorite destinations only this time go all out... cabin, nice hotel, great food. Come up with fun ways to include her, and inspire her to stay as healthy as she can. Become her knight in shining armour that sweeps her away to a distant place... far from doctors and hosptials. Just some suggestions... I'm sure that you've already done some of these, but maybe others in similar situations have not... anyway, just a few suggestions since from your post it seemed that you were going alone, but you really wanted to be there with your girlfriend.

3:41 p.m. on January 14, 2009 (EST)
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions and concerns. I see that most of you travel solo and that you have a lot of good ideas. I don't have a dog but books, music, and whittling are all good suggestions. f klock - I was shocked to see that your companion died at such a young age. It reminds me that life can end at any moment and that we must enjoy our time on earth while we can. Mike068 - I'd like to get up to new york someday and hike in the adirondaks or catskills. Let me know if you ever get down to Tennessee or the Smokeys. Maybe we can get together. laughingbear - your perspective was especially touching.

4:32 p.m. on January 21, 2009 (EST)
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Camping Solo and with a friend or friends had it's own rewards. I have been camping with 50 to 100 friends from Alcoholics Anonymous a big sober weekend. For some it was their first camping sober, for others, their first time camping, and guys like me who grew up Scouting. I have been camping with girlfriends and my late wife, camping with guy friends since I was a Boy Scout. Each brought to me a deeper richer life. I am so grateful for camping with riends sitting around a camp fire sharing stories of lifehaving a good laugh together.
Then there are times I have been solo. I have spent probably more time solo than with a friend or friends. I have had to battle cancer 3 times in my life. Camping solo has always been very healing. Cancer can restrict movement sometimes. I find it better to tell cancer, oh no you don't, I am going to go mix it up with nature. I find that the state of mind is as healng as chemotherapy and radiation. Let me tell you it is so cathartic to stand upon the summit of some mountain, and scream out Cancer be gone, Cancer shrivel up and die, Cancer go to hell I am meeting with freedom the wonders of creation. Yeah!!! After a weekend away, in the wilderness can and will strengthen one's resolve to defeat that deadly thing in your body. Solo camping to me is such a spiritual journey, that your spirit man is awakened and refreshed. Please don't be so selfish as to be just a soloist or a multi party camper. There is great fruit and joys in both.

11:30 a.m. on January 22, 2009 (EST)
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By myself. Just moved 2000 miles. So dont know many people. But I'm looking for that partner. :)

9:50 p.m. on January 22, 2009 (EST)
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Zen Master Seng Chao, the third patriarch of Zen, said that the sickness we all share as humans is our anxiety with emptiness/boundlessness. We go into natural settings, into the wilderness, attracted by silence and vastness and infinite diversity and change; but we are also threatened by these. That is to say, our small self is threatened by the very silence and boundlessness that it seeks.

We look for our true home; but we are anxious to approach it. So we look for diversion, distraction... 'things to do'. I know this well in myself. I'm often amazed at how busy or bored my mind can be in natural settings. But if I stay without distracting myself, and let Nature do its work on me, then I find myself settling, settling, and returning to stillness. It is then that I remember who I am. I AM that boundlessness; I AM that Nature.

As others have said above, there's no need to 'do' anything. But I do understand the antsy feeling of having nothing to do. It makes sense that we would feel that way as we taper out of the workaday world and start to see our busy thinking-and-doing minds more clearly.

I hope we can all persevere through anxious territory and find the peace at the other end, remembering who we are.

10:55 p.m. on January 24, 2009 (EST)
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I have to admit I'm either solo or with my dog. I am very comfortable with being in the wilderness alone but I can understand people who aren't. And there's nothing wrong with that. For me - I find all of my senses are heightened by being alone and there is nothing to distract me from becoming a part of my surroundings. It's funny but I don't feel alone out there - but instead feel like I belong there. You begin to see things that you would never see if you were distracted in conversation with another person. I had a boyfriend who I spent many trips with and after we broke up he never went again. I found it hard to believe but he just couldn't do it alone - if he didn't have someone to share it with it had no meaning for him.

Sometimes my dog and I become an extension of each other. She sees and smells and hears things that I don't or would otherwise miss. And occasionally I point out the squirrel that she missed seeing run up a tree! Nature becomes your "TV" :) And if the weather holes me up in my tent I make sure I have a really good book if there isn't a storm to watch!!
Have you considered a canine companion? They are wonderful company if you can't find a human one! :)

11:17 p.m. on January 24, 2009 (EST)
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DesertRobin said:

"For me - I find all of my senses are heightened by being alone and there is nothing to distract me from becoming a part of my surroundings. It's funny but I don't feel alone out there - but instead feel like I belong there. You begin to see things that you would never see if you were distracted in conversation with another person."

YES!! You get it!
You can become part of the place if you will allow it to happen. Listen, watch, and learn. I have been amazed at how much I learned without realizing it.
Don't try to force yourself on the place, but rather quietly blend in.

8:28 a.m. on January 25, 2009 (EST)
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100x better than a stink'n tv
The mind becomes alert. For me, this becomes second nature. It is like I belong.

11:15 a.m. on January 25, 2009 (EST)
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The most interesting part about this conversation is the fact that we do belong outside. And the fact that we feel incomplete if we do not have someone to share it with. When I'm out there I feel like I'm sharing with the world. I might not be verbalizing to another person but I am communicating with everything around me - animate and inanimate. I'm a part of it all. Back to what is basic and pure in my life.

Sorry - I think I really took this off topic! :)

2:13 p.m. on January 25, 2009 (EST)
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Well, I often go on solos, I also go on trips with a couple friends several times a year.

Whether solo or with a group, there are rewards to be had.

2:32 p.m. on January 25, 2009 (EST)
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Im astonished. Up till now as far as I could just Alicia so far has said that she goes hiking with her spouse. Im so fortunate that this is what I do for most of my trips. Some tours are with just my dog, he is never left at home.

3:08 p.m. on January 25, 2009 (EST)
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Hi OttoStover,

My wife likes to camp too, but she likes to stay in a cabin or large tent. There must be a store nearby!

We enjoy our time together, we take short hikes together, cook together, play cards and such.
Sometimes we go to the mountains which is a five hour drive for us, and sometimes we stay near the house in one of the local campgrounds.

Other times she goes shopping and visiting with friends and such, while I go on one of my backpacking trips.

It works for us.

10:30 p.m. on January 26, 2009 (EST)
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Yes, I think I'm lucky to have a spouse whom is my favorite hiking/backpacking/outing partner. I'd rather go solo than feel like I needed to bring someone else along for the sake of company, with the exception of my kids.

I don't think spouses/partners have to have exactly the same interests and be attached at the hip, but it always surprises me how many women never join their husbands/partners outdoors, or how many husbands/partners don't ask their spouses/partners to join them in those activities.

But, that's just my experience. To each his or her own.

10:42 p.m. on January 26, 2009 (EST)
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Alicia,

I have heard several couples say:

"Actually, we like having some time apart."

Or at least something similar, I guess all relationships have different dynamics, but it is nice to do things with your special someone that you both are very passionate about.

I enjoy camping with my wife, even if it's just locally on a campground, she loves feeding animals and so do I, in fact we have a "critter food budget". Our neighbors think we may be responsible for the squirrel population around our home. (they may be right)

Anyway, it has enriched our lives and our relationship.

11:17 p.m. on January 26, 2009 (EST)
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Hi trouthunter. My wife has also so far vetoed pure tenttours in winter, in summer it's OK. We plan our winter tours using the many huts and cabins we have, they are plenty as you know. The tent is with us on longer winter trips, but only for safety. As we have the dog to pull, a few kilos more is no problem.

I have a plan to make her join me on wintercamping as well, but it takes time. First I must provide her also with a downmat like I have. Then I must convince her to try it out one sunny day.

Another plan I have is to join me on a climb on Stetind. It has been voted to be the national mountain of Norway, and it is just three hours driving away. Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8PxMYiUtwU

11:07 a.m. on January 28, 2009 (EST)
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I hike with the best friend I ever had, Boone my Standard Poodle. Before Boone I hiked with Mindy a miniature Poodle, she logged 10,000 miles at my side in 15 years of hiking. I hike an avergae of 6 miles a day. Backpack whenever the urge strikes (very often), and kayak with my son, not my dog.

11:00 p.m. on January 28, 2009 (EST)
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Boone43...I've been taking the large dogs hiking, and leaving my pug mix home. Even though he's energetic, I felt it would be too much for his tiny legs and paws. Thanks to your post, Ricky will be joining me on my next short hike. We'll walk slowly, and I'll encourage him with tales of the great Mindy that logged 10,000 miles.

7:49 a.m. on January 30, 2009 (EST)
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Right now, 90% of my camping is done with the Boy Scout troop that I am Scoutmaster of. On the flip-side, about 90% of my backpacking is done solo. I'm trying to get my boys out more but we only do one outing a month and most of the boys don't have the time to do a decent trip.
I have only been Scoutmaster since last July and I have a few interested in a 50-miler this summer. I'm working on getting more of them interested but the leader before me wasn't into the outdoor thing much at all (most of the previous leaders were like this. They might have liked to camp (car camping) but none of them have really been into bakpacking). It's a tough job...but one I am looking forward to struggling through.

10:04 a.m. on January 30, 2009 (EST)
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I started hiking solo about 10 years ago out of necessity because I never could find anyone else who liked to backpack.

I discovered that I only get “bored” in camp. So I try to maximize the time I am hiking.

I get up at first light, break camp and hit the trail. I’ve found this also increases the amount of wildlife I see. I’ll stop along the trail and eat my meals as well. It allows me the opportunity to eat my meals while enjoying the best views. I leave myself just enough time at night to make camp, hang food, etc. and hit the bag. I never cook in camp so I don’t have all those normal issues to worry about either. I try to hike “no impact” so I don’t ever make a fire.

If I can’t get too sleep right away, I like to enjoy the stars and contemplate my insignificance in the universe.

12:20 p.m. on January 30, 2009 (EST)
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scottmphoto,
Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to get our youth away from the various forms of electronic timewasting, er, entertainment. There are so many pressures and distractions out there - pressure to do the homework deemed so necessary to get the grades and get into a good college, pressure to participate in the organized "sports" (are the present forms of youth soccer, Little League, high school football/baseball/basketball/track/swimming/waterpolo/etc really sports anymore); along with the electronic distractions. I spend a lot of time, long since I retired as a Scoutmaster, training adults to take the youth out (this includes the girls in the Boy Scout Venture and Explorer program as well as the boys). You have probably already found that more and more parents are "too busy" or "have never gone camping and know nothing about it."

And media stories like the series in the Hearst newspapers that just started today (in the San Francisco Chronicle, but I understand started yesterday in the Seattle Hearst paper) don't help. The fact that the articles are very slanted and contain a lot of misinformation and distortions (apparently due in large part to biases and ignorance on the part of the reporters) just makes things that much worse.

It is sometimes a struggle, but in the end it is worth it to get the youth out into the wild, so they can appreciate what is left and hopefully work to protect it.

Ok, I know, this is a bit off topic. But whether you get out there solo, with friends, or with a group of girls and/or boys (your own, a Scout troop, a Y group, or your kid's classroom group), just get out there and do it!

12:27 p.m. on January 30, 2009 (EST)
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And media stories like the series in the Hearst newspapers that just started today (in the San Francisco Chronicle, but I understand started yesterday in the Seattle Hearst paper) don't help. The fact that the articles are very slanted and contain a lot of misinformation and distortions (apparently due in large part to biases and ignorance on the part of the reporters) just makes things that much worse.

What are the articles, Bill? Can you post a link somewhere?

1:23 p.m. on January 30, 2009 (EST)
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The article that I have read is in today's SF Chronicle. I bought the paper at my local 7-11, but I found the link on the web at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2009/01/30/MNAK15FFTA.DTL I understand it was in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer yesterday. The Seattle link for today is http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/specials/scoutslogging/398086_development30.html listed as part 2. There is a link to part 1 on the page.

I see that the Seattle paper has a slide show on what they say is clear cutting at some scout camp. But here in California, at least, CalFire only allows selective and sustainable harvesting and has requirements for maintaining a healthy forest and reducing fire fuel loads. There are also comments about inadequacies in the submitted harvest plans. The actual process is a back and forth of several rounds with CalFire normally requiring modifications and clarifications before approval , like anything involving permits from government agencies. The Hearst writer makes statements that these revisions represent some sort of violations that were punished.

2:14 p.m. on January 30, 2009 (EST)
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Hi everyone! Read Frazier's profile and you will find him a motorcycle camper which is why it must be hard for his companion to ride along. Laughingbear has a wonderful attitude. Re-read her post! I have met several people hiking along the AT who have been supported by spouses or friends traveling by car, truck or RV who meet up at the end of the day. Cades Cove in the Smokies, or a campground in the Shenendoah NP might be nice places to set up a base camp or meeting place. Also, I am not sure from the original post if your companion can travel at all.

5:07 p.m. on January 30, 2009 (EST)
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Scottmphoto.
Keep up the good work. I wake up everyday thankful that I had not one but two good scout leaders to teach me about being outdoors, being a man, and a good human being. I also will never forget the trip we took to backpack at Philmont Scout Ranch. Those two guys dedications to us kids and making learning fun is one of the main reasons I stayed in and achived the rank of Eagle.

Bill S
Thanks for the info on that topic. I caught a piece of it on the news last night, but did not know exactly what is was about.

7:46 p.m. on February 1, 2009 (EST)
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Early on always with my wife and kids, recently the kids have moved on and the wife is not interested anymore. Now mostly solo, and thats one of the reasons I came about this site. Would like to see a thread for regional areas so I might find someone interested in the same areas I am.

1:29 p.m. on February 3, 2009 (EST)
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Im astonished. Up till now as far as I could just Alicia so far has said that she goes hiking with her spouse. Im so fortunate that this is what I do for most of my trips. Some tours are with just my dog, he is never left at home.

I'll second that, and will cheerfully and proudly up the bid by saying I have done a lot of trail time with my two daughters as well. Although we don't do much pure backpacking or winter camping, we have used the comfort and safety of the Norwegian huts (or, back in New England, the AMC huts or various trail shelters) to do hikes and ski tours of up to 10 days together as a family. We were doing overnighters by the time my youngest was 5, and did a six-day hike in the White Mountains when she was 6. This basically requires a steady supply of snacks and non-stop talk, including stories of when I was a kid or fantasy, pioneer, or other stories made up on the spot. Not so easy for a guy who has, in fact, spent a lot of time in the woods alone, before marriage and kids. Sometimes we wonder just what we did right that our kids enjoy both the ups and downs of outdoor life, but we feel really lucky that they do. This summer and winter my older daughter has started striking out on her own, doing 60 km on foot in 14 hours, camping out alone (only a 1-nighter so far), and last weekend going a 3-night winter bivy trip with the local outdoor youth group in sometimes below-zero weather. Does a father proud!

But when I did do solo time, books and sometimes a dog were my main companions. And sometimes I travelled or hiked in areas where there were shelters, huts, or trailside inns to stay in, and made a few new friends along the way. Although I have the basic instinct to head into the woods to get away from other people, there's something to be said for traveling in places and ways that help (or force) you to meet other people.

7:20 p.m. on February 3, 2009 (EST)
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A lot of my hiking, biking, climbing, backcountry skiing is done solo, though a lot of it is done with Barb. We originally met in our university mountaineering club and decided after a few "solo/couple" backcountry tours to make it a permanent "lifelong companion" thing. Since injuring her knee some years back, she does less of the long distance things and doesn't do the harder climbs. Plus, since she is still working and I am retired, she doesn't have as much time off. But as much as possible, we go together. One thing we sometimes do when I am going for a longer distance hiking/biking/skiing is that she goes with me the first few miles, returns to the car while I continue on a point-to-point and drives to the pickup point, then hikes back until she meets me for the last few miles. Sometimes, if the trek is long enough, that entails her doing a solo overnight backpack. This works well for her photography, since she likes to take macros of flowers, while I tend to take more scenics, birds, and other animals.

7:00 p.m. on February 19, 2009 (EST)
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Nice (and not really surprising) to see so many scouters here. I myself was a scout, and then a Scoutmaster, before I moved to LR for medical school.

Like some of you have mentioned, it seems the "outdoorsiness" and committment has been on a downhill, and good leaders are a hot commodity! I was blessed with 3 of them, and all I can say is that if you can spare the time, a scout organization could probably learn a lot from anyone on this board!

9:28 p.m. on March 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I go with a buddy or with a group (Appalachian Mountain Club trips), b/c it's safer that way and it's fun to share the experience with others. The downside to going in a group, for me, is that I like to keep a decent pace and not make excessive stops and that gets harder the bigger the group gets. So, my ideal scenario is to go with one or two buddies with similar habits and levels of conditioning.

1:57 p.m. on March 20, 2009 (EDT)
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Frazier,

I have been going solo for 5 years now, both hiking and camping.

I too had a girlfriend for 4 1/2 years. No more. She's long gone.

Actually going solo is not too bad for me personally. I did meet a friend while backpacking the Archers Fork Trail a couple of weeks ago. He is now camping at the Lamping Homestead Recreational Area here in the Wayne National Forest. Real nice young man. We did hike the Lamping Trail together. Had a great time I'm most pleased to report.

5:16 p.m. on March 20, 2009 (EDT)
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Good backpacking buddies are hard to find. Hell, even a buddy to find to backpack with is hard for me to find. Solo is the way I go. I would definitely like to have someone or two to go with as I am fresh to the backcountry scene. Growing up an inner city youth limited my exposure to the outdoor life and experiences. Being the son of parents from beautiful parts of the world, Caribbean Island and Southeast Asia, I got the opportunity to see these unbelievably beautiful places on a few occasions. These experiences, combined with the natural urge as a member of the species homo sapien, to explore and be outdoors, has made me take to the backcountry as often as possible now that I live in an area that provides these experiences. I hope to learn as much as I can so that I may pass this along to my children who, if they so choose, have the opportunity to experience these things before the natural world that is still available to us is reduced even further. Being able to see the land as only a few have is truely a remarkable feeling to me. It would have been nice to share the times and experiences with the closest friends I had, or share in the moment with newly made friends and build new bonds. But above all, the times I'm out there by myself, a new stone is always being turned over within my own soul that I can not share or others can not experience. So in a way, I think I do prefer solo. (sorry folks got off on a ramble)

11:47 p.m. on June 17, 2009 (EDT)
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I almost always go solo, whether it's out for a day hike, and overnighter, or a week long car camping trip. I also mountain bike and geocache solo. Why? Because I can't seem to find anyone to go with me! I bathe regularly, too.

3:30 a.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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JimDoss

Welcome to Trailspace I hope you like it here

As far as you last statement goes I end up the same way as well.

10:17 a.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks, Mike. I've poked around here for months now, mostly reading reviews. Thought I'd join and share my opinios.

BTW, I'm not opposed to going with other people, it's just hard to find people with similar interest and time off.

11:31 a.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I usually take two pals with me who don't talk back. JACK DANIELS AND JIM BEAM.

11:50 a.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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... I can't seem to find anyone to go with me! I bathe regularly, too.

There's your problem. True woodsy folk bathe only once a year. Oh, wait! Once a year is regularly, isn't it?

7:12 p.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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Welcome to Trailspace JimDoss & Notellin!

I also have a hard time finding someone a lot of times, everyone is too busy, or would rather just hang out at home. I do have a few friends who I get together with a couple times a year and we have a blast in the woods!

I live in SC on the coast and it's not exactly a backpacking mecca, lots of surfers though. I have to drive about 5 hours just to get to the mountains and most people around here just aren't that into it.

Oh well I still have my faithfull dog, if only he would split the gas with me!

8:26 p.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
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Notellin

Welcome to Trailspace

Since you put it that way I guess I do go with a friend my old buddy Jim Bean usually goes with me but me and Jack had a falling out years ago lol.

2:53 p.m. on July 26, 2009 (EDT)
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Bringing a dog would help pass the time. That would atleast make it a little more exciting than going by yourself.

10:13 p.m. on July 28, 2009 (EDT)
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I enjoy being by myself on some trips. Usually I am hiking with my wife. Sometimes we will go with others.

1:08 a.m. on August 28, 2009 (EDT)
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Dog! Guitar! Jim Beam! Not necessarily in that order.

1:49 a.m. on August 28, 2009 (EDT)
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I still prefer being alone, I like not having to discuss hiking plans with others and I hate conversations about society when I am in the woods. So being alone I can be myself and not listen to anything but nature.

4:47 p.m. on August 28, 2009 (EDT)
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Im with Gary for the most part, I prefer to be solo most of the time but sometimes it is nice to have someone with you. Or start your trip solo for a few days and then meet up with someone or someone's for a couple days. IE 3 days solo and 2 days with a friend / friends

7:55 a.m. on August 29, 2009 (EDT)
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For me it depends on what I want from the trek. A good number of my hikes are solo; but I also enjoy taking my brother and nephew out hiking also. I enjoy the solo hikes because it's a chance to be alone with nature and my own thoughts for a while. I enjoy having my brother along because we'll end up joking around and laughing about the things that brothers laugh about. It's also nice to have my nephew come along with us because he is so curious about everything ... from what's over the next hill to whether or not catterpillars are eddible.

2:50 p.m. on September 1, 2009 (EDT)
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I almost always hike alone. If I've been hiking hard all day, it's about all I can do just to get my tent pitched and crawl inside and pass out before the sun goes down. A stiff drink after dark is lovely but heavy to pack. I usually bring one airplane bottle for a little victory celebration at the top. At high altitude it feels like 5 drinks anyway! =)

When I do have energy left I write. It's really fun to read when I get back home. I also like to play night stalker with the nocturnal wild life. I hang out in the bushes, let my eyes ajust to the dark and then see who comes out to play.

9:26 p.m. on September 2, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm sorry about the diagnosis for your girl friend.

I don't mind solo but I think I'd prefer to go along with my brother. Friends are cool if they are like minded and have the same interests. But there always seems to be something that bugs me and it brings down the trip. So it's either me and my camera which is what occupies my down time or with my brother.

9:19 a.m. on September 7, 2009 (EDT)
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I mostly backpack solo except in winter when I always go with a group of at least 3 other people. When it gets dark, I look at the stars for a while and then go to sleep. Going to sleep at sundown is one of the things I look forward to after a long day of hiking. It's even better in winter when you get to sleep 10-12 hours.

3:45 p.m. on September 30, 2009 (EDT)
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Either or.It is always nice to have company on a wilderness trip.But at times i also prefer being alone.Seems that when alone i "tune" into my surroundings more.Also as i age it seems to get harder to find partners that have stayed interested in the same adventures as I.Finding winter camping partners has been the hardest.But i must say i am not giving up on what i enjoy most because i have to do a lot of it solo.

10:47 p.m. on September 30, 2009 (EDT)
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Either or.It is always nice to have company on a wilderness trip.But at times i also prefer being alone.Seems that when alone i "tune" into my surroundings more.Also as i age it seems to get harder to find partners that have stayed interested in the same adventures as I.Finding winter camping partners has been the hardest.But i must say i am not giving up on what i enjoy most because i have to do a lot of it solo.

I agree, I also go with friends or solo. On solo trips I do tune in to my environment better and faster. It's amazing to me how much you notice the things going on around you if you just sit and listen / watch. If you spend much time doing this you learn a lot. Ask any hunter.

I too enjoy winter backpacking, but even in the southeast, it's hard to get people to go.

No bugs, no snakes, no crowds, etc. It's not so bad!

3:24 a.m. on October 5, 2009 (EDT)
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I am just getting back into backpacking and when in the tent on rainy days, I plan on practicing my knot tying skills. It is fun, and yet can be practical as knowing good knots is helpful.

9:53 p.m. on October 5, 2009 (EDT)
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Interesting, the number of people who like going solo. Usually when I meet people on the trail they're in pairs or small groups.

I started walking alone quite young and it remains my preferred experience. As many have mentioned, it seems easier to melt into the wilderness when you're not talking with other people. Barry Lopez wrote perceptively about moving in the land (as opposed to simply crossing the land), and I think he's right: it's an ancient way of experiencing the world. And for some personality types it seems easier to do it alone. Not all. Some people are healthily gregarious...

Of course when you're alone you have to be cautious going off-trail, traveling in winter, and crossing difficult terrain in general. But in 36 years of solo back-country travel I've not had an emergency I consider life-threatening.

As far as passing the time in camp, I usually explore the vicinity. This sounds really stupid: I hike in, make camp, and then for a diversion I go for a little hike! If I'm really tired or there is nothing but brush and mosquitoes in the vicinity I may read or nap or just sit and watch.

There's a lot to be said for sitting in the sun and listening to the silence.

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