Ever since i was a little kid, i have always loved climbing and exploring. Growing up in the heavily popualted city of Las Angeles, finding nature wasnt to easy. So my parents would take me to Vasquez Rocks, and there my imagination grew.
I graduate high school in one year. My dream is to camp with a few buddies in Cedar Mesa, mountains near the bottom of Arizona, and the caves of New Mexico. But, out of all the people i have met so far in my life, i havnt met ANYONE, who would find the same joy in this as i would. How did you meet you backpacking partner? Any tips for a youngin to start working on early? I have adhd, and photography and exploring is my creative escape. But ya, glad to be here!!
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Hey Eksplorer, It's always great to hear from a "Newbie".
I've been to Vasquez Rocks a few times. My father brought me there too. It's a fantastic place to explore and climb around, especially for kids. I still get a little thrill when I see the park in the old "Western" movies. The rocks haven't changed much.
It's a little hard to give advice on finding a good hiking partner. I guess that first you have to find people that hike near you, or where you want to hike. There are sites that are dedicated to hiking specific areas that sometimes have a "Find a Hiking Partner" feature on the site. Backpacking magazine has a few tips:
The internet is your friend. In this day and age finding people with common interests is much easier. Look online for hiking/backpacking clubs in your area. Check out meetup.com, or outdooreyes.com also yahoogroups.
I'd suggest finding the local chapter of the Sierra Club nearest you. You could go on some of their scheduled day hikes or weekend backpack trips. They also have youth trips (I think these are run out of the national group) and even some Inner City youth outings. The folks you meet on the regular day hikes and backpacks are likely to be older than yourself, but they would probably get a kick out of someone a little younger and enthusiastic as you sound like you are, and you in turn would probably enjoy their company. A young friend of ours, who is now 25, took a national youth trip with the Sierra Club when she was 14, and started hiking with the adult groups after that when she got really excited about the whole backpacking experience, which none of her friends shared at the time.
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
Eksplorer, I'm not sure how receptive you might be to this idea but you might check into a unit of the Boy Scouts called Venturing. You say you will graduate from high school in a year so that puts you around 17-18.
This is for 'young adults' age 14-20. You might could find a 'crew' in your area that focuses on backpacking. We have several here in the DFW metroplex that focus on high adventure (backpacking, whitewater, spelunking, etc). Crews are a lot different than troops (or at least they can be). They can share experience and knowledge and put you in touch with other groups.
Your profile doesn't list any information and you say you grew up around LA but not where you are now so I can't be much help.
Send me a PM and I'll see what I can find for you.
I started backpacking two and a half years ago, and I forced two of my friends to buy gear and come with me. One of them hated it, the other one only partially hated it, and I only disliked it (we were carrying 45 pounds each on our first trip with crappy-framed ebay packs). Over the years I tried to get others into it and get myself to enjoy it at the same time. Eventually, one of my friends who I took on my first trip decided to go again, and he loved it - lighter loads can really affect your enjoyment. I've since converted another friend, and I met someone through mutual friends who hikes a lot, and now we're best friends and hiking partners (him, me, and first-trip-dude are headed out West for 2 months of backpacking this summer). Good luck in your search!
Loc: Atlanta, GA, USA
There are all kinds of hiking clubs...if you are in Southern California, there are just a ton of them...very easy way to meet new friends with common interests. Just spend some time "googling" and you will find some good ones.
Even here in Atlanta, there are at least three major outdoors-oriiented social organizations that I'm aware of and probably some smaller ones too. If you are in Kansas or some place like that, it might be more difficult, but any major city even remotely near some mtns will have a big outdoor enthusiast community to tap into.
If there is a big sporting good store close to you (like REI), you can ask the people there and may know of some, but I say mostly just look online.
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