Best tunes to hike to.

8:13 p.m. on June 3, 2012 (EDT)
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So, for a long time I've carried music with me hiking.  Seldom in the form of an actual MP3 player or radio, but in my head.  When I start walking, the mental jukebox turns on.  A few favorites have always been "Black Clouds" (for stormy weather) by the String Cheese Incident and "40 miles to Denver" by Yonder Mountain String Band.  What are your favorite tunes and genres of music to listen to while you're outside (hiking, biking, running, paddling, etc), and how do you listen?

9:10 p.m. on June 3, 2012 (EDT)
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birds and insects

9:17 p.m. on June 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Are they a metal band?


I like those too, but often my brain generates it's own music.  I don't know if this happens to others, but the effect is more pronounced on the first week or so of a hike, then seems to fade away.

10:40 p.m. on June 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Wesley Willis. Seth you are a fan right? :)

12:27 a.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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George Gershwin's Grand Canyon Suite. What else?

2:14 a.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I am a musician.  I NEVER take music with me, with two exceptions: the music in my head (as indicated by several of you) and a penny whistle for camp if I KNOW I won't bother anybody. And I don't always carry it.

S'pose it boils down to why I "get out there" is to leave "this" at home. 

4:58 a.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I often take instruments with me into the back country, otherwise the music plays only in my head.

If I am enjoying the slog I tune into the sounds around me.  But if I am finding it more work that fun, Truckin’, by the Greatful Dead keeps me – well – trucking.  If the elements are getting the best of me I’ll conjure a classical music composition with lots of percussion, crescendoing strings, and tripple forte claxon chiming brass.  Think Stravinky’s Rite’s Of Spring.  If the campfire, chocolate and whiskey are having their way with me, and me and my buds are too lazy to make our own music, I’ll imporov in my head a sweet, pinning, slide guitar interlude.


I am bringing earplugs if we ever camp together!

Wesley Willis must be a genre of his own, I have never heard anything quite like that.  Surely he will drive you to drinking - or quitting - depending on your blood alcohol level when you hear him.


8:05 a.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Two all-time favorites, to be sung internally or out loud to the squirrels and anyone else who can stand it:

"Up on Cripple Creek" by The Band:

"When I get off of this mountain/ You know where I'm gonna go

Straight down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico

Down to Lake Charles Louisiana/ Little Bessie girl I once knew

She told me just to come on by if there's any thing that she could do..."

Then there's my own version of Charlie Daniels' "Long Haired Country Boy":

"People say I'm foolish/ As crazy as a loon

Cause I like climbin' mountains/ By the light of the midnight moon

Kinda like a big ol' black bear/ I like to cruise around in the trees

I may not make much money/ But I do what I damn well please

I ain't askin' nobody for nothin'/ Just want to be good and clean and strong

If you don't like the way that I'm livin'/ Then just leave this long tall mountain boy alone"

(and so on for three more verses)

1:23 p.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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On the trail? Like Callahan said, the birds, bugs & the breeze through the trees. In camp is pretty much the same. I actually yearn for the quiet of the mountain tops and before I started hiking with a full contingent of family would often go into the woods to spend hours meditating even while walking. It's my time to force all the noise of life out of my head & have some peace.

Oddly enough, at home, the music is my escape. The thing that takes me away to someplace else and where it often takes me is the mountains & forests.

I have thought it would be nice to bring along a flute or similar instrument, but then I'd have to learn to play. It's on the "someday" list.

1:51 p.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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for overnight hikes, the music stays at home.  ditto for paddling and cycling. 

for 'workout' hikes - an hour or three of trail running or carrying a heavy pack to stay in shape, which i do many weekends in the early morning hours - i apparently buck the trend and take an ipod about half the time, one of the small nanos that clips on.   i have playlists that are creatively named 'workout.1,' 'workout.2,' and so on.  most likely genres are classical, jazz, and rock & roll in its many sub-forms, depends on what kind of mood i'm in.  i favor in-ear buds so they won't fall out; my favorites are from klipsch and etymotic.        

2:13 p.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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In all honestly I kinda 86 tunes on the trail just for the simple fact that I like to get dialed into what is going on around me.

I can listen to music when home.

It just kinda defeats the purpose of being out there for me to an extent.

2:24 p.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I bring an mp3 player to use before bed. Generally it has country, classic rock and jazz. Some folk music as well. Never when I am hiking do I wear it .But in my mind the music plays.

8:05 p.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I have hiked in groups where ppl listen to music but I never do, when we get to camp and talk about what we saw they always have far far less that they noticed than everyone else.

9:15 p.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I would just like to point out that it is "Grateful".  And, when listening to the Dead, the 08-06-71 Hard to Handle at the Hollywood Palladium is as good as it gets for me.  Guitar Hero Jerry in his finest form.

I am really digging LCD Soundsystem and M83 at the moment, although I don't typically listen to anything while hiking except for the wilderness around me.  I mainly keep the tunes for working out and cycling.

Seth: I caught YMSB at Bonnaroo '03.  Great show.  I love their "Old Hands" LP.  Have you heard it?

11:54 p.m. on June 4, 2012 (EDT)
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.ghost. said:

I would just like to point out that it is "Grateful"...

Grateful - That it is, I stand corrected.


4:00 a.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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i do bring a radio/mp3 player with me  it takes  one AAA battery.  to listen to when i have pitched my tent . but if i am walking during the day one of my favorite songs is superstition by stevie wonder (you know for that creepy woodland section of the hike or that solitary valley section!) whilst singing my head off to it

12:52 p.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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like many others, my favorite camping tunes are:


Birds singing

crickets cricketing

gators croaking

wind blowing thru the tree tops

waves crashing onto the shore


Heck, I hate it when camping partners bring any type of electronic noise making gadgets...especially cell phones.

3:53 p.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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"Autumn Leaves" is a common earworm on my hiking and camping trips - especially around sunset.



5:57 p.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Silence. Just the sounds of the outdoors.

7:17 p.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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none.  I don't like to play music, and I don't tend to think about it.  I have music playing around me 24/7.  I collect records, deal in records (less so lately), ran a small record label in the 90s, and spend several hours per week talking music on various message boards.  When I was a kid, all my allowance was saved towards buying records.  I fiend for music like a heroin addict.  On the trail, I don't want to hear a note, and I don't want to think about anything to do with music.  It isn't a forced respite.  It's entirely natural to my relationship to both music and the outdoors.  The outdoors affects how I hear music, but music isn't taken to the outdoors.

I don't even care to hear an acoustic guitar or harmonica around a campfire.  It's the one time I invite the sound of human chatter, and if not that, the local sounds are a great Plan B.

9:53 p.m. on June 5, 2012 (EDT)
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it's a goofy song from the 80's, but when i hit a wall and don't think i can take another step i hit my mp3 player and play matthew wilder's break my stride and off i go.  it's the only song like it on my playlist, the rest is johnny cash, old crow medicine show, justin townes earle, james taylor and whatever.

11:39 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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blue sky by the allman brothers

black water by the doobie brothers

send me on my way rusted root

mostly blue grass/folk :o)

3:33 a.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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i must say that my mp3 player is usually there for night time in the tent i do not normaly listen to music  when walking i think walking poles are more of a pain as they spend more time on the rucksack than in your hands

11:27 a.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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This isn't me - but it's a reasonable approximation of the effects of some espresso and bad techno while hiking:

8:56 a.m. on June 8, 2012 (EDT)
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The incongruities between HikingGuy's furry woodsman manliness, and his head bopping to some Starbucks urban cafe hit is really funny to me, but I can't explain why.


9:35 a.m. on June 8, 2012 (EDT)
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I could jam out to Frampton on the trail:

The there is this gentleman's take on incorporating a lil dance into his travels:

8:42 p.m. on June 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Callahan said:

birds and insects

 Ditto!  And don't forget the sound of the wind in the trees.  Ahhhh!

4:31 a.m. on June 9, 2012 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

Callahan said:

birds and insects

 Ditto!  And don't forget the sound of the wind in the trees.  Ahhhh!

 And the daily murmurings of camp mates guts.

5:50 a.m. on June 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

I could jam out to Frampton on the trail:

Saw PF when he was touring that song, new, in the 1970s.  More or less described my late 20s single life back then.  At first I thought you were sharing the rewrite of that song he plays, now that he has slowed down a bit:

Feel Old Like I Do
(Redux to Feel Like I do)

Well!  Started out the morning
A roll of tums clenched in my hand
Stomach roiling, bowels boiling
Ulcers have me recoiling

Alzheimers really raging
I don’t remember where I've been
Come on! Just soiled my shorts again

Do you (you!)
Forget what you need to do?
Do you (you!)
Forget your own name too?

Got some Kaopectate
Just the other day
Left me so bound up
I couldn’t eat for a day

So I went and got some Ex Lax
Clerk, please put it in a bag
And perhaps some toilet reading
Like BackPacker mag

Do you (you!)
Smell like beef stew?
Do you (you!)
Smell bad as I do?

Oatmeal for breakfast
Tremors quaking in my hand
Hot coffee spills - in my lap!
Happens every time

Parkinson’s a bitch
Wish it all would go away
Come on! This is how I start my day

Do you (you!)
Spill your coffee too?
Do you (you!)
Shudder like I do?

Jacked up on coffee, meds and geritol
That is how I spend my time
Tottering ‘round, falling down
Bruised but feeling fine

Junk mail fills my mail box
Didn’t used to be this way
ARRP solicitations
I’m old, what can I say

Do you (you!)
Have nose hair like I do?
Do you (you!)
Feel old like I do?



9:09 a.m. on June 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks alot for almost causing me to choke to death on my breakfast bagel. Thank god my cat knows the Heimlich...

Oh wait, I mean "hindlick." I coughed up because the cat started licking itself.

Kinda funny, I am already receiving AARP & Hoveround emails. 

Maybe they are trying to tell me something?

9:37 a.m. on June 9, 2012 (EDT)
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I don't listen to the pod on trails, but do have songs running through my mind non-stop. SHE WORKS HARD FOR THE MONEY would NOT stop in my head one day on the trek. Over and Over again and I had not heard that song in decades! There were others too. Some Jars of Clay, DC Talk and Kutless along with Third Day, 2nd Chapter of Acts and Larry Norman.

1:26 a.m. on June 12, 2012 (EDT)
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i love music and my i-pod is standard equipment everywhere except in the forest.  I enjoy the noises of nature and i feel safer when i can hear whats happening around me.  Short day hikes in safe surrounding i listen to music as i do in my workouts but overnighters it stays in the truck.

4:39 p.m. on June 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I prefer to listen to the natural sounds around me outdoors. Hardly ever listen to anything except when online at the library.

12:33 a.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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I tend to get a song stuck in my head when I hike. On the AT back in the 70s (yeah, I'm that old) it was, like shell684, the Allman Brothers "Blue Sky"...just kept playing that long instrumental jam over and over. Now I seem to get hung up on the Counting Crows or Indigo Girls.

12:53 a.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Seth said:

This isn't me - but it's a reasonable approximation of the effects of some espresso and bad techno while hiking:

 LOL, that seems more like 70's disco than techno.  But, yeah.  LOL :)

2:31 a.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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This isn't me - but it's a reasonable approximation of the effects of some espresso and bad techno while hiking:


Looks like my uncle David. Then again if it was him he would be listening to the Police(Synchronicity,) Depeche Mode(Violator,) or Midnight Oil....

4:07 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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When mother nature needs a break, you pray not to be around.  I just have to do a couple of Ozark Mountain Daredevils tunes, like  Standing On The Rock or Chicken Train

11:44 a.m. on June 25, 2012 (EDT)
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I like to get everyone to learn Big Rock Candy Mountain! Always fun!

1:17 a.m. on June 30, 2012 (EDT)
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I've been hooked on The Black Keys lately and I bring an mp3 player but have yet to actually use it :)

9:31 a.m. on July 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Not on trail, but at camp, Iron Maiden always works (Fear of the Dark, Final Frontier, Live After Death, Dance of Death)....

2:56 p.m. on July 19, 2012 (EDT)
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One of the joys of backpacking is being unplugged.  Not only that but bringing a musical device interferes with the nature that we all presumably go out there to connect with.  It can be downright dangerous not to hear predators, rapids or falling trees when "out there."  If you want music it is best to make your own. 

11:10 p.m. on July 21, 2012 (EDT)
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I second Rite of Spring.  Intense.

10:40 a.m. on July 23, 2012 (EDT)
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On longer trips, like say a week or more, people tend to really miss music.  The best solution is to make some aboriginal style music with found objects like sticks, logs and cooking pots.

A memorable experience happened  in the Grand Canyon about 2003.  I had 5 old friends with me from Colorado and Florida.  We used primarily 5 gallon buckets and heavy cooking pots with some driftwood.  After one night of practice, we put on a concert the last night in camp using African poly-rhythms perfected at Dead shows over the years.  At the conclusion, a roar went up from down Canyon where another party of rafters had  heard the echo.  It added a lot to the trip and made people feel connected to the rhythms of the river as hokey as that may sound.

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