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#181438 - 12/23/13 11:22 AM Lead or follow?
jimmyb Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 276
When you guys are hiking with 2 or more do you prefer the lead or to follow?

I kinda like the view from up front but a lot of places I prefer to have my wife take the lead. She should have been a game guide as she has an incredible talent for spotting critters. She is uncanny. shocked Example, we were walking a ridge line and while I am staring at my feet or enjoying the general scenery she is hiking right along and then, bam, complete stop and pointing to a little black spots in a tiny green opening seemingly miles away. I mean I can hardly pick out what she is looking at let alone make game out of it. On further inspection with binoculars the pinpoint turn out to be a cow moose. We always do a little mental checklist of critters we want to see and darned if that wasn't our last day hiking that trip and until then we were skunked on moose sightings.

Even in the truck going along at 40mph in our neck of the woods she will shout out "hey I think I saw ..." So I check the rear view and pull to the side not really expecting to see a darn thing. A short walk back along the side of the road and, boom, a momma moose and her calf in some fairly thick cover.

She is awesome. I cant tell you how many time this happens.

Only bummer taking second seat is that I sometimes miss the fleeting critters. The other day she jumped 2 deer and caught the tail end of a black bear headed into the thick and I wasn't able to get a look at any of them. Well honestly I prefer it that way as she has many more times helped me to spot critters that I would NEVER have seen. So better I take the back seat.



jimmyb

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#181439 - 12/23/13 12:24 PM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: jimmyb]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I generally guide hikes when I'm with others because I'm usually the one who maps them out, but I don't always hike up front. If the group is more than 3-4 hikers (not including me) or there are any kids or newbies along I'll usually take the follow up position so I can keep my eye on how everyone is doing.

I don't mind following at all though. It's nice to follow someone who knows an area and gladly takes the lead. Let's me relax more.

One of the great things about hiking with others is that they often see things I miss, and sometimes it's pretty cool stuff I've missed. This has happened while covering ground I've covered before, sometimes ground I've hiked a lot.

Once I was hiking with a friend while we were hunting for points (arrowheads). The guy has some incredible vision. His eyes even look like "Eagle Eyes". He was in front and we were both just meandering along a river bank with him about 100 ft in front of me. He stopped for a bit and when I caught up to him he asked if I'd seen any points. I told him "No, not yet."

He looked at me with his eagle eyes and said "Sometimes it's like there's a big circle around them with an arrow pointing to it." I replied "Yeah, don't I wish."

So then he says, "Well, it happens", then he sort of looks down, scuffs his feet a bit on the ground, and continues "You just have to let yourself see them", and then scuffs his feet again while looking back down. So I look down too and there right between us is a big arrow drawn in the sand pointing to a thick circle between our feet with a pristine arrowhead stuck in the middle of it.

People with eagle eyes can be a little bumptious sometimes. cry
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"You want to go where?"



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#181442 - 12/23/13 01:04 PM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: billstephenson]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 751
Loc: Eastern Sierras
I usually do all the plan and prep for the hikes we go on so I end up leading the way but like Bill I like to keep an eye on the group from behind. If it gets technical I like to leap frog pick the path then stop to help or just watch for any potential problems. One problem I find leading is I need to bring more granola bars and energy dense food to hand out to someone who might be running low. I find if I keep these things easily accessible it keeps the group moving. I also like to remind people to drink there water. The goal is to drink often in small amounts. Preventing issues is so much easier than dealing with problems. I also watch for the ones who have new shoes, so many times these are the same ones hauling a cast iron skillet.

I wish I had eagle eyes, my deceased father-in-law was amazing. He would be looking at a clump of bushes and after a bit of time would say "do you see that buck?"
I look and look and finally say "no" and after about 40 mins I'll see a bush move and all of the sudden there it is. I've trained my eyes and have gotten better but I doubt I'll ever be as good as he was.

Bill love your arrowhead story! Some things are just meant for certain people to see, I'm good at finding petroglyphs, seems I find then wherever I go. I've started gpsing the ones that are very obscure and submitting this to the local archeologist to help deter vandalism. Last year I found a series of really neat glyphs that appear to represent fish or whales, in Nevada! Unlike the typical ones found through out the Great Basin.
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#181444 - 12/23/13 01:24 PM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: rockchucker22]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I had some friends managing the Sweetwater Ranch out of Hawthorne, NV, they took me out once and showed me a few petroglyphs. I'd never spot em, look like moss to me. smile I can go either way on bp trips. If leading, I have to keep looking back to see how far ahead I am. After hiking with some people, after a bit, you can tell when it's about time for them to stop briefly for a breather. In Alaska, the first full day out, I had to stop for 5-10 minutes at a time, those guys were so loaded with gear and camera stuff.
Duane

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#181445 - 12/23/13 01:44 PM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: rockchucker22]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1925
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I pretty much do the same thing, floating along the line from front to back as needed during the day. "As needed" depends on the group: how many new backpackers? How many other leaders? How many in the group have done this trail before? How far are we spreading out along the trail? How well-marked is the trail, and how many intersections with other trails or unmarked side trails?

A "typical" trip might mean two or three of us leading 6 to 12 newbies on a beginner's backpacking trip, with teaching occurring at rest stops and at camp. A group that large will often spread out a quarter mile along a trail, as people stop to fiddle with packs and clothes, or to catch their breath. We make sure there's a leader at or near the front, in the rear (that person passes no one), and one of us floats along that long middle section, keeping track of everyone and helping out as needed. At least once an hour, we stop to get everyone bunched up again.

If it's me and two or three experienced close friends, we constantly change places during the day, just so no one gets stuck in one place all the time.

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#181446 - 12/23/13 04:33 PM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: jimmyb]
llamero Offline
member

Registered: 10/29/12
Posts: 43
Loc: western Oregon
If it's just the llamas and myself I will be in the lead, unless something has gone terribly wrong. smile When are are accompanied by another human I let them go first. It's not as dusty up front and they can alert backpackers and horsepackers of our presence.

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#181457 - 12/24/13 02:56 PM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: llamero]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2040
Loc: Napa, CA
On our trips, I am in front, and my wife behind. That's simply because I hike faster. But I never get more than 100 yards ahead so we keep in contact pretty much.

She tends to look down and seen things on the ground like mushrooms and animal tracks. I tend to look up to see the bigger views in the distance. It's a nice combination.
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#181472 - 12/25/13 05:17 PM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: balzaccom]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
When me and my friend hike the lead man seems to set the pace. We swap back and forth depending on pace we're going. We do the same thing when mountain biking!!
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It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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#181507 - 12/26/13 09:29 PM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: ETSU Pride]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
When me and my friend hike the lead man seems to set the pace. We swap back and forth depending on pace we're going.


Yeah, when it's just me and a friend or two we do that too.

When we're bushwhacking I find it easier on me to follow if the person in the lead is good at selecting a track. I get all the benefits of their good choices and the option to select a different track to avoid their not so good choices. Plus they clear all the spider webs and lots of the ticks for you. grin

But I enjoy leading too. I don't mind clearing the webs and catching the ticks. I don't always see the best track either. It sucks when you're all tangled up in briar or boulders and you're buddies are laughing at you as they pass you by, but it's always easier to catch up than lead so we all get our laughs in.

Sometimes it's better to just stay put and let the leader find the best track. When we're exploring bluffs we do this a lot. You just can't see a track until you do some scrambling around a bit. My neighbor Randy, who I've hiked most with here in the Ozarks, is very good at selecting a track. I still map out most our trips but I really do enjoy letting him select the track there.


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"You want to go where?"



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#181511 - 12/27/13 08:45 AM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: billstephenson]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Originally Posted By billstephenson
Quote:
When me and my friend hike the lead man seems to set the pace. We swap back and forth depending on pace we're going.



I don't mind clearing the webs and catching the ticks. I don't always see the best track either. It sucks when you're all tangled up in briar or boulders and you're buddies are laughing at you as they pass you by, but it's always easier to catch up than lead so we all get our laughs in.


On morning bike rides or after rain storm I learned my partner always wanted me be the lead man to clear the webs. I hate clearing webs!! grin After this one trail I must have cleared 20 webs and I said why am I always on spider web duty? Which he replied, "Because you're dependable."
_________________________
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

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#181948 - 01/15/14 01:58 AM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: ETSU Pride]
ndwoods Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 572
Loc: Santa Cruz CA, Sierra Hiker
I always lead cuz my hubbie would leave me in the dust...with me leading I set the pace. Sometimes he'll go by me to get to the top of a pass or something tho. Also, with him in the back we both can still see...he is taller than me. When he is in the front I just see the back of his pack...:)
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http://ndeewoods.com/ and http://wilderstatepark.com/

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#181954 - 01/15/14 11:23 AM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: ndwoods]
jimmyb Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 276
Beautiful pic in your avtar. Makes it easier taking pics like that when your out front. goodjob

jimmyb

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#181960 - 01/15/14 02:41 PM Re: Lead or follow? [Re: jimmyb]
snapper Offline
member

Registered: 03/07/13
Posts: 56
Loc: NY
I'm pokey enough that if I lead I don't have to worry about whether I'm pulling ahead of anyone; I'm NOT (LOL)! When I'm with a group it's typically a college trip so I try to get the students to lead while I'll sweep. If it's a friends type trip we usually trade off about every half hour. That way no one is always out front or left out of viewing the cool stuff that always seems to materialize in the front of the group.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.

snapper

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