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#86838 - 02/08/08 07:38 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: hootyhoo]
Brumfield Offline
member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Expat from New Orleans, now in...
I had a good hiking partner like that up until about a year ago, but he died after sharing the trails with me for 10 years. I miss my dog big time. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> Brum
_________________________



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#86839 - 02/16/08 11:15 AM Re: Solo hiking [Re: tinaanderson]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I hike alone a lot, not out of choice. I prefer to have company. I came into hiking from mountaineering, where your climbing partner was essential and on big expeditions, it became a group effort. I think hikers, in general, do not have training in what we used to call "expedition behavoir" - the numerous social skills and "rules" that make groups function smoothly and remain friendly, rewarding and cohesive. My experience is that you have to have a defined leader (at least define who is the leader for the day and maybe trade off) and when you are not the leader you have to be a good follower. I personally enjoy taking a break from being the one who has to make all the decisions. A major factor is choosing your group or partner. This should be done very carefully and you should have talked and agreed on goals, rules, who carries what, and how much "togetherness" you want. You could hike together and then camp out of sight of each other if you like that kind of privacy - or camp together and hike separately. With others, there always is a benifit/cost ratio. I personally find that with the right partner, the benefits outweigh the costs.

As for danger, I think we fool ourselves if we are convinced that hiking alone is totally safe. It is just a matter of how much risk you wish to take and if that risk outweighs the problems that you think a partner would add. I honestly do not see how a competent partner would be more risk than being alone. For all you know, when things go wrong, you could be the one needing the help. I hike alone - long trips, too. But recognize the risk I am taking. It really makes me a bit edgy. In my perfect world, I would always have a partner!

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#86840 - 02/19/08 12:33 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: wandering_daisy]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
WD, again, from my own experience I would have to agree with your post. It never fails that having along folks who are not on the same 'plain' as you out in the field will ruin an otherwise perfectly good trip <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

Ditto on the day leader idea when in a larger group fo 3-5. I like having 'time off' from doing all the mapping, trail breaking/finding, weather forecasting, etc during a trip with others. I go out for the same reasons as other folks, and don't need the stress of having 'depeandants' along for the hike <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#86841 - 02/19/08 05:02 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: Earthling]
Eric Offline
member

Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 294
Loc: The State of Jefferson
Quote:
I go out for the same reasons as other folks, and don't need the stress of having 'depeandants' along for the hike <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />


I agree. Whenever I go out with a group I always seem to get designated "leader" whether I want it or not. In my work I'm responsible for a lot of other people. I go out in the woods to get away from all that pressure.

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#86842 - 02/19/08 05:31 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: Eric]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
EXACTLY! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> The outdoors are my stress reliever safety valve <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#86843 - 02/20/08 11:07 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: wandering_daisy]
billk Offline
member

Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 1196
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I'd have to disagree about having a "leader" on a normal backpacking trip that involves a small, informal group. I have to confess I haven't done much backpacking with people I didn't know fairly well, but the idea of say, three or four friends who all have some backpacking experience assigning a leader strikes me as ludicrous. And if they don't know each other well, who gets to be leader? Most of the people I've met who would naturally assume the role of leader couldn't lead a %$#%$# with a book of instructions. And yes, I have a little problem with incompetents in positions of authority.

Even larger groups don't always need a leader. I once accompanied a group of Explorer Scouts on an overnight trip in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. I went along for no other reason than their rules required that someone over 21 be there (I was about 25 or 26 at the time.) I think there were seven or eight of us altogether. Although I felt a certain responsibility for them, and kept an eye on them, I didn't assume a leadership role, and they didn't need it.

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#86844 - 02/21/08 04:24 AM Re: Solo hiking [Re: billk]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
The only thing better than hiking solo would be hiking with a son or daughter that is still young enough to think that you are a superman, or an old friend that doesn't really care what you are or what you do. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#86845 - 02/21/08 07:32 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: billk]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
The no leader idea goes fine when everything is OK. When an emergency arises, a leader is needed. When you are doing a lot of off-trail travel, someone has to "lead" and others need to follow. If everyone were just to go his own way it would be chaos. A leader does not have to be activily leading all the time, but it should be understood who is the leader when emergency or disagreement arise. I personally do not want to have arguments all day on which way to go. Someone leads, others follow. A good leader takes suggestions and can be very democratic, but when the stuff hits the fan, someone has to make the final decision. I find that discussing leadership roles and responsibilities before the trip helps out a lot. I am definitly bias towards leadership. I worked for the National Outdoor LEADERSHIP School. We taught leadership. We believe in leadership. We think leadership is essential to any expedition. Expeditions with good leadership reach their goals more often and run smoothly. Good leadership makes the group experience really fun and rewarding.

As for your boy scout example, I bet if things got bad (someone broke a leg, a severe storm, etc), you would have become the leader. After all, that is why an adult is required in Scout outings. Leading does not mean you are out front bellowing orders. It means you bring order when chaos happens.

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#86846 - 02/21/08 11:20 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: wandering_daisy]
billk Offline
member

Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 1196
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I guess we're just talking about different kinds of groups, with perhaps different motivations.

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#86847 - 02/22/08 08:51 AM Re: Solo hiking [Re: wandering_daisy]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
I second WD's post, now that is what I was inferring <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#86848 - 02/23/08 05:36 AM Re: Solo hiking [Re: JAK]
jjtrouter Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 17
Loc: Grafton, WV
Quote:
The only thing better than hiking solo would be hiking with a son or daughter that is still young enough to think that you are a superman, or an old friend that doesn't really care what you are or what you do. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


I am superman! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

I like to hike alone and with others, but usually hike alone because most of my friends think I have a screw loose or are just "too busy" to spend a couple of "useless days bumming around in the woods." Of course to me, those are the most useful days of all.

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#86849 - 03/13/08 07:32 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: jjtrouter]
tchiker Offline
member

Registered: 08/28/06
Posts: 162
Loc: Atlanta, GA, USA
As others have said, a mixture is nice between solo hikes, hikes with a friend or two, and group hikes of 8-16 people where you can meet and get to know new friends on the trail.

I have had great experiences with all of these different options...my solo hikes are probably my favorite though. The solo hikes are more dangerous because if anything goes wrong, you don't even have someone to help you or go get help, etc.

And of course it depends on where you are hiking too...if I was doing some Class 3 stuff in the Sierra Nevada, I wouldn't want to be out there alone. But hiking the AT in GA, it'd be difficult to get lost and the odds of getting hurt are pretty slim as well.

But solo hiking like any other activity carries some risk with it. Non-outdoors people exaggerate the risk in their mind, but that is because they are naive and presumptuous.



Edited by tchiker (03/13/08 07:36 PM)

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#86850 - 03/13/08 08:33 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: jjtrouter]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Quote:
Quote:
The only thing better than hiking solo would be hiking with a son or daughter that is still young enough to think that you are a superman, or an old friend that doesn't really care what you are or what you do. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


I am superman! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

I like to hike alone and with others, but usually hike alone because most of my friends think I have a screw loose or are just "too busy" to spend a couple of "useless days bumming around in the woods." Of course to me, those are the most useful days of all.
Sound's like you know what's happening.

Sound's like you're getting plenty of R.E.M. sleep. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />


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#86851 - 03/14/08 05:27 AM Re: Solo hiking [Re: JAK]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
The only thing better than hiking solo would be hiking with a son or daughter that is still young enough to think that you are a superman, or an old friend that doesn't really care what you are or what you do. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


I am superman! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

I like to hike alone and with others, but usually hike alone because most of my friends think I have a screw loose or are just "too busy" to spend a couple of "useless days bumming around in the woods." Of course to me, those are the most useful days of all.
Sound's like you know what's happening.

Sound's like you're getting plenty of R.E.M. sleep. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />



Nice reference! :thumbsup:
_________________________
http://ducttapeadk.blogspot.com

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#86852 - 04/16/08 03:28 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: ringtail]
outspoken Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/16/08
Posts: 12
Loc: East Tennessee
I hike with others for the enjoyment that I get from having good friends around, but if I wanted to just go log some mileage or finish up a section of a hike without interference then I would go solo

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#86853 - 05/26/08 04:48 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: ringtail]
northernbcr Offline
member

Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 125
Loc: bc/yukon border area
do you carry a sat phone or p.l.b.

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#86854 - 08/02/08 02:33 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: Jimshaw]
kutenay Offline
member

Registered: 10/12/04
Posts: 102
Loc: B.C. Canada
I prefer solo hiking and backpack camping and usually backpack hunt and fish alone, as well. The danger is relative to where you are, a bit, but mostly WHAT you do or fail to do.

I consider the major source of problems with solo hiking to be "macho", where people try to do things/go places that they are not capable of. Caution and a realistic attitude toward your experience, skills and environment can keep you safe and happy.

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#86855 - 09/30/08 06:54 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: Bearpaw]
HikerMatt Offline
member

Registered: 09/20/08
Posts: 21
Loc: Michigan
I agree with Bearpaw on this. Normally when I have a partner it is either my father-in-law or my own father. My f-i-l hikes at a pace that is way to fast for me to enjoy my hike (he is all about getting as many miles in per day as possible) and my dad hikes a lot slower than I care to hike so I end up having to let him set the pace and I get more worn out by hiking a pace that is not my own. Now, when I am out by myself, I can hike my own pace and enjoy my trip to the fullest.

However, there are risks when you hike alone, but only a few more than with a group....The biggest is what happens if you get hurt without a partner IMHO...with a partner, they can go get help...but that's not to say that if you were by yourself you wouldn't be prepared with a satellite phone or some form of communication...

Normally when I go out alone, my wife knows what trail I am taking and that if she doesn't hear from my by a certain time that something must have happened and she comes looking for me...Granted, there is a grace period, like I decided to take it easy on the hike out or something...but normally I try to keep my car somewhere that when I am near it, I have cell phone signal so I can call her..

Again, to each their own in this world and everyone has their own opinion on what is best...you just have to soul search, if you will, and find your own answer.
_________________________
~Matt
http://m-harrison.com

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#86856 - 12/04/08 09:15 AM Re: Solo hiking [Re: wandering_daisy]
hikerFedEx Offline


Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 19
Loc: United States
For me solo is very different, both in goals and how the trip unfolds. I'm pretty independent generally, which is not to say I don't like company. When I (mostly) hike solo I usually have a general goal (miles, times, plan) but I have all the options to vary as I see fit. When I hike with a group (regardless of size) the plan is driven more by the least common denominator than motivation. For me that means a different mindset - NOT planning to hike big miles, being flexible to whatever the group wants (giving in sometimes), etc. This is ok, but very different than being completely self reliant & accountable for my actions or missteps. The same is true when I ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, mountain bike, kayak, hike, or use my personal watercraft. Movement during each leg of the trip is just part of the adventure. Meeting up at rest breaks, for lunch, dinner, end of day, camping, etc. is the other phase of the social part.

There is certainly a psychological part of "feeling" more secure with a buddy along, but it's probably just that. It might help to deter or scoot a bear away and obviously could help if one were seriously injured. But for the most part you're no more secure because there are two or more of you. (And certainly not if you're with a newbie or just a friendly but naive or inexperienced friend)

I enjoy solo but constantly have to explain the challenge, adventure, self reliance, beauty of solo to non hikers EVERY time I discuss my plans or trips.

Certainly there's some added risks solo. Depending on the trip risks I make far more effort to leave detailed written plans, maps, routes, bail-out options, etc. with family with very specific instructions who to contact and when. Other times I'm rather wreckless if it's a pretty minor risk.

I like the anxiety of solo on a "big" trip taking calculated risks.

Hiking "solo" on thru hikes (AT, LT) is another category all together. The best of both worlds in some ways. Complete freedom to do whatever I want whenever, yet enjoy the random or selected company of others during the day, part of the day, and/or at nite. Especially since I'm always in control.

Ideally I'd like to find a duplicate hiker to push me and for company, but not one to drag me down or "ruin" the peace and solitude. Hiking with even a small group of friends has not proven nearly same challenge, since my friends don't have "the hiking bug" like I do. Maybe I need to make some new (additional) strong hiker friends. But I have NO desire to hike with clubs, etc at silly paces.


<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

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#108344 - 12/26/08 09:33 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: hikerFedEx]
Ulhiker Offline
member

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 65
Loc: Arkansas
One thing that I didn't see when reading the posts to this discussion is that when a person hikes solo, I think that they tend to prepare more and probably approach things on the trail a little more cautiously, because they are alone. Not necessarily with trepedation, but maybe paying more attention to the little voice in their head, telling them whether or not the situation is safe. Maybe I'm wrong, but when I go solo, I tend to approach things with a lot more thought, from preparation to execution.
Oz
_________________________
www.backpackingarkansas.com

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#108374 - 12/27/08 04:15 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: ringtail]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I've hiked solo for years. Mostly bushwhacking off trail. But I'm pretty careful, and I've been lucky as well.

I just would have never made it to too many places I wanted to go if I had waited for someone that could come along.

Hiking with others has many different levels. I enjoy taking newbies on hikes to spots they've never been too and sharing some tips along the way.

But you have to evaluate what the person with you is going to enjoy on those trips. I've made the mistake of taking family and friends bushwhacking and, while some never complained during the hike, they did tell mutual acquaintances afterward about the strong urge to try and get away from me by whatever means necessary.

Others have just loved it and call me often to go again or tell me about stuff they've found bushwhacking around.

Hiking with friends has one priceless advantage. They will see things you would have otherwise missed.


_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#108408 - 12/28/08 08:22 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: Ulhiker]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
OZ
"
Originally Posted By OzarkBackpacker
One thing that I didn't see when reading the posts to this discussion is that when a person hikes solo, I think that they tend to prepare more and probably approach things on the trail a little more cautiously, because they are alone. Not necessarily with trepidation, but maybe paying more attention to the little voice in their head, telling them whether or not the situation is safe. Maybe I'm wrong, but when I go solo, I tend to approach things with a lot more thought, from preparation to execution.
Oz

____________________________________________________________________________________

Oz,
solo BPing is like solo climbing, either you become 100% ON and totally aware, or you can die quickly. Solo BPing you are more careful, although you may do more dangerous things than you might with another person along, nothing is done without a plan. So solo BPing is more "spontaneous" in that you do what you want to do, but you also have to be completely in charge.
Jim


Edited by Jimshaw (12/28/08 08:23 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#108427 - 12/29/08 12:07 AM Re: Solo hiking [Re: Jimshaw]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
This is totally off-subject. I noticed that your reply is up near the top and the other recent reply is at the bottom of the page. I am confused about what determines the order that replys appear. They seem to be different with our new format. In the past it seemed that replies were more or less from most recent at top to earlier replies down the page.

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#108437 - 12/29/08 09:07 AM Re: Solo hiking [Re: wandering_daisy]
Paddy_Crow Offline
member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 2285
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
This is totally off-subject. I noticed that your reply is up near the top and the other recent reply is at the bottom of the page. I am confused about what determines the order that replys appear. They seem to be different with our new format. In the past it seemed that replies were more or less from most recent at top to earlier replies down the page.


I suspect it is something in the preferences you have selected. What do you have selected for "Topic Display Mode?" Flat or Threaded?

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#108464 - 12/29/08 07:58 PM Re: Solo hiking [Re: Paddy_Crow]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
It is currently on "threaded" mode.

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