Backpacking trip and doing it alone…

10:54 p.m. on June 24, 2009 (EDT)
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Hey how goes it there? Planning a trip sometime next spring, I know a long way off. Goal is to go out for about five to seven days. Interested in doing the hike alone concerned might be getting a bit over confident and over my head on skill level. Have done some day hikes and also do trail runs. Have not done an overnight hike within the last eight years. I am starting to get involved with local hiking clubs in the area as well. Concern is am I taking a big risk going it alone or better to bring along some company as well?

11:13 p.m. on June 24, 2009 (EDT)
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Welcome to Trailspace!

To answer your question...

Depends,

Are the trails you will be on well traveled? Are you familiar with the area?

Five to seven days is pretty ambitious for your first time out for an overnight in 8 years.

 

Just plan well and plan for all contingencies. Do you research on what you will need to refresh the old memory. You would hate to get 10 miles in and realize you forgot your ______ (fill in the blank)

I think if you choose an area you are familiar with that is not too far of the beaten path, the worst you can expect is that your imagination gets you all worked up while you try to sleep.

Just be well prepared with a compass, good trail maps, and plenty of food....and all the other requisite gear.

 

Go enjoy yourself and come back with the great trip report.

1:01 a.m. on June 25, 2009 (EDT)
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Welcome to Trailspace YEP1987

As far as going it alone I do it most of the time. If you are getting involved with your local hiking club you should be able to pick up a lot of knowledge from the others in you club so in that area I would recommend this Look Listen & Learn and dont hesitate to ask questions.

As far as a week trip your first time out solo I would recommend a trip around 72 hours but that's me. Sometimes its nice to just be all buy yourself and sometimes it gets a bit boring and some time you will meet some new friends on the trail.

And as BigSmoke said

Just plan well and plan for all contingencies. Do you research on what you will need to refresh the old memory. You would hate to get 10 miles in and realize you forgot your ______ (fill in the blank)

I think if you choose an area you are familiar with that is not too far of the beaten path, the worst you can expect is that your imagination gets you all worked up while you try to sleep.

Just be well prepared with a compass, good trail maps, and plenty of food....and all the other requisite gear.

Is good advice.

7:44 a.m. on June 25, 2009 (EDT)
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One reason most people backpack alone on long 7 to 15 day trips is because few people have the time to join them. Where are you gonna find someone who likes getting out AND also has frequent large blocks of time to do it? Retirees and bums, I guess.

Anyway, my first recommendation would be to start sleeping outside in your yard or porch/deck and get back into sleeping on the ground with a pad. Use your shelter of choice, too, then figure your bag system and see how it goes. This will alleviate surprises when you actually hit the trail.

Another thing is to research your planned destination thoroughly, either online or at a map store. When I go to a new place I always try to bone up on the area with pertinent maps and guides, and copy what I need and carry in the pack. Topo 1:24,000 maps are great to have.

Backpacking solo is where it's at and no more risky than shopping at a Walmart. If you pass out in a Walmart you'll have redneck shoppers stepping over you to get to the pork rinds, but if you're in the woods you're last hours may be with a bit of peace and quiet. Which is better? Give me the snowbank/outdoor hospice any day.

12:28 p.m. on June 25, 2009 (EDT)
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At Tipi stated Topo maps are a must have as well as a compass but you also need to know how to use the efficiently.

2:59 p.m. on June 28, 2009 (EDT)
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Hey hey!

A Spot device coupled with a good emergency plan and reliable gardian angel should have you covered. i use mine all the time. it's even better than being 2 and not have it IMO. The time you take putting all the info together for your gardian angel (maps, possible escape routes, conditions for abandoning the hike, longest distance to travel in case of evac, available help....) is time well spent and helps you make smart choices on the trail in case of a problem. If you emergency plan is well done, you'll be safer than most groups heading out without one.

3:27 p.m. on June 28, 2009 (EDT)
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Franc

I here ya about the guardian angel mine is St. Michael.

And you have a very good point about an emergency plan.
I should get myself a Spot device because if something would happen to me it would be several days before someone noticed I wasn't back yet. It is not uncommon to extend my trips on a whim.

10:46 p.m. on July 3, 2009 (EDT)
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I would do some weekend trips this summer. Time alone and time to figure out some things that work for your style of camping. I seem to learn something new every trip. 6 days of being by myself is all I can stand! LOL

6:07 p.m. on July 22, 2009 (EDT)
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Tipi is quite on the mark concerning the pre-camping stuff in the yard or porch. I don't know your age, but I know 8 years time, at my age, can change the body a whole lot. What I might have been able to do 8 years ago will now just cause aches and pain. See if a single night causes backaches or something similar. I'm not talking about the stiffness in the morning, but true aches. You might want to adjust your length of time out based on this.

Going alone really allows you to find yourself. Every step will show you how you think and live your life as you analyze your progress. The main thing is to enjoy the trip and take in every sight you possibly can. Once you get back from the trip, you'll be much more in tune with yourself.

Know your area, especially for the time of the year you're going to be out. Find out about the soil conditions and whether it'll be damp if it rains or what type of quick weather changes might occur. Inform yourself about the creatures that inhabit the area when you'll be there. Not just the bears, lions, tigers and dinosaurs, but the little pesky ones like ticks, mosqitos, snakes and trolls, and plan for your defense against them all.

And most of all, enjoy your trip every second you're out there. Thank whomever you worship for providing such a fabulous place to hike. And pat yourself on the back, butt or whatever you can reach for having the inquisitiveness to attempt such a trip.

September 22, 2014
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