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“I have never backpacked solo. I am planning a trip this fall to the 100 mile wilderness in Maine and it is looking like I am going to be solo. For those of you that have backpacked solo what are the main differences? Do you have any tips or advice? I know that being the end of thru-hiking on the AT for the fall I will probably have some company most nights at shelters.”
“bring a small book
something to do when you aren't actually hiking
last edited: 8/13/07 6:03:25 PM”
“aside from the sheer joy of being your own pace setter and not having to justify or explain or convince anyone of anything, the thing that bothers me the most is simply the safety issues that go with my health conditions. I need to be very wary of my blood sugar and my balance. As long as I can take care of those things the way I need to I am fine.... Slow but fine.
The other problem I have which is related to, but separate from my own safety concerns is that wife gets very upset when I go out solo for any length of time. The health issues have only made that worse for her.
horror stories abound, but that's what most of them are... horror stories.”
“Backpaking solo: The only way to go!”
“The main difference is I don't have to worry about all those mooching mofo's drinking my whiskey.
I started solo out of necessity. I think I prefer a few buds......of the femme variety.”
“Other than injuries, which may or may not happen. Whats the difference anyways”
“it's very peaceful. i highly recommend it. there are a few "best practices" but they all apply when hiking with a buddy... like always leave a copy of your trip plan with someone you can trust that tells where you are and when you will be back, carry medical information on a card on your person, etc, etc.
before i joined up with tt -all- my trips were solo hikes. now i never hike solo.
(sob) i love you guys (sniff).”
“When I'm hiking solo, I'm usually much more in tune with my surroundings. If I'm soloing somewhere that I have never been before, I check my bearings and map a lot more frequently than I do when I'm with a group. I'll also take fewer physical risks. For instance, I'm much less likely to take running jumps to clear creeks/small ravines/etc that I'm really not 100% sure that I'm going to clear.”
“Boredom in the evenings if you are camped out alone can play with your mind. I like to take an MP3 player and headphones. Also when you are camping alone, you have to do all the camp chores by yourself - filtering water, gathering wood, cooking, cleaning, etc... During the day, walking and exploring will keep you busy, but come nightfall, time gets s-l-o-w... .. . . .”
“I would never hike solo...weird people on the trail.
“Capn Bobo - Have you ever experienced it alone, that is, without all those distractions?
"MP3 player and headphones," sure, that's one way to drown out all the sounds of nature! You might as well stay in a developed campground or at home!”
“nowslimmer, what all distractions? - I'm talking about in the evening, when it gets dark. Yes, I've experienced it "all alone" and it gets pretty damn boring at night. And yes, I like to listen to all the wonderful sounds of nature and then sometimes I like to crank up the tunes and boogie down the trail...
“That's good, if you enjoy it. To each his own. Sorry if I upset you.
I have never suffered from boredom in the evenings and I find the solo backpacking evenings provide great opportunities for exercising my mind.
last edited: 8/13/07 8:18:41 PM”
“Didn't upset me at all, I just find it hilarious that I mention bringing an MP3 player along and you make it sound like I mentioned an isolation tank!
psst - my MP3 plays movies too!
OMG, Call the Hippie Police!!!
“I have never suffered from boredom in the evenings and I find the solo backpacking evenings provide great opportunities for exercising my mind.
I second that!”
“I prefer hiking solo or, at most, with one or two others. A book is good to bring along, but I also like to do a little journaling as I easily fall asleep reading a book after a days hike. The night sounds take a little getting used to but after one or two nights on the trail, I'm comfortable with it all.”
“Bring a sharp knife in case your arm gets pinned down by a rock and you have to amputate it yourself.
I know this sounds like the antithesis of solo hiking, but if peace of mind for you or your family is a major issue, consider renting a satellite phone. Iridium phone, extra battery, and manual is 16 ounces.
last edited: 8/14/07 12:40:53 AM”
“Solo backpacking allows you to see a lot more wildlife. You can hear things you would not hear with other people.”
“Most definitely true.”
“Is this the one you carry Phil?
“ solo backpacking evenings provide great opportunities for exercising my mind.
Is that what you kids are calling it these days?
Do yo "exercise your mind" at home a lot or just in the woods?
Do you practice LNT?”
“i sometimes bring my ipod nano. if i have trouble sleeping at night i'll put on an audiobook and listen myself to sleep. it doesn't drain the headlamp like a book would and it's a lot lighter.
i can tell you for a fact that if you fall asleep while a book is being read to you that you in fact do remember bits and pieces of what you hear while you are asleep but it's flawed knowledge... sort of a weird dream... and the quality of the sleep you get is very low. totally unrelated but kind of interesting.”
“if you fall asleep while a book is being read to you that you in fact do remember bits and pieces of what you hear while you are asleep but it's flawed knowledge... sort of a weird dream..
No Hound of the Baskervilles or King King but Gentle Ben might have some interesting results.”
“ solo backpacking evenings provide great opportunities for exercising my mind.Sorry, bearmagnet, but I do not feel that your questions are worthy of an answer from me!”
“Just rememeber that if go solo you CANNOT bring an MP3 Player, a book or any electronic devices. That would ruin someone else's idea of what your experience should be!
That being said: HYOH.”
“Done it a lot; sometimes lonely, sometimes scary but always ends up wonderfully.
I take a book usually for the evenings but camp chores and reviewing photos, then preparing for morning takes up some time.
I try to take a read on the area I am in, in the Galiuros a book on the Power family; in Utah in Robbers Roost a book on the first ranch family in the area; same for the Gila etc.
I like the historical aspect of some of the trips I take, realizing some of the land has not changed and I am seeing the same aspects as someone did a hundred years or more ago.”
“nogranola - HYOH is basically what I said:
“That's good, if you enjoy it. To each his own. Sorry if I upset you.””
“LtHiker, you will enjoy it. I’ve done it many times. Like others have said carry identification and any medical information someone might need to know and the contact information of the person you want contacted in case of an emergency. Of course the biggest fears you will have to overcome will not be yours, but the ones your family will have about you being alone.
And unlike bearmagnet, I’m sure you’re master of your own domain.”
“Jimmy San, I've experienced the same thing when falling asleep with the t.v. on. Sometimes my dreams intertwine with whatever is playing. A little bizzare, but interesting.”
“How are you sure, conk?”
“am i the only one that will admit it can sometimes get pretty spooky at night?
i guess i must be the biggest wuss on TT”
“sacco - That is simply a sign of inexperience. Get out more and it will disappear.
DISCLAIMER: The above is the opinion of this author, may or may not be correct and is subject to change at any time.”
“Bring several doobies.”
“Like Jimmy, I started out only going solo, I haven't done a solo trip in awhile and I actually miss it. I also agree with the increased map reading, leaving an itineray (sp) at home and I leave one in my vehicle. I like setting my own pace and being alone with my thoughts. I also bring my lab so I'm not REALY talking to myself. ; ) Oh yeah, definatly a book to fall asleep with.”
“BTW, rob, it's too bad your timing stinks and you gotta solo. i hope you have a great time and look forward to reading your TR!”
“Solo is good - but not all the time. Its a different type of wilderness experience - some like it a lot more than others. It is what you make of it. You can find yourself lonely and bored, or you can find yourself reflective and immersed in the solitude of the wilderness.
I recently did a solo trip - three days, two nights - it was spectacular. I had the entire forest to myself (it seemed). Saw wildlife, had solitude and peace - it was grand.”
“The occasional solo can be a lot of fun, that being said, in my opinion too much solo hiking and it becomes kinda like masturbation.
I prefer to hike with others. All of the above is good advice though.”
“Bm you're too funny!!
Hiking with others is the best, but a solo or two a year is good for the soul!”
“At one point I was about to bed down in a rather lovely, fairly new, wood floored shelter. My dog was having a fit and I could not figure out why. I looked up into the rafter and old Porky pine was watching the whole thing with sleepy eyes. I vacated that shelter and moved to an old dirt floor dilapidated one. I guess I had still infringed upon some ones space cause I awaoke to find myself staring down the business end of a porky pines nose right into the eyes. I made some noise and shooed it away. By this time my dog was no longer issuing the porky alarm.... seems there were too many to keep track of.”
“hiking solo is great fun, as you can ramble or cruise, as you like. I was solo in the Stuart Range of Washington, and camped without a tent in a meadow by a stream. I heard an animal nearby in the brush, and he was crashing around and moving closer to me, and he sounded big.
I figured he was a black bear, and figured I could easily scare him off, so I jumped up on a rock, and whacked my pot with a spoon, and yelled for a few seconds. They I got out a little flashlight and pointed it in the general vicinity of the animal noise. What I was was the reflection of two very small eyes, set very wide apart, like 10 inches, and they were watching me and not running away as they should have been. He was too far away for my little flashlight to illuminate him, but close enough to get eye reflection, and he wasn't blinking.
I thought "oh#&%!$, I'm in grizzly country and offended what appeared to be a very big griz." I had a pocket knife for defense and no trees to climb. We stared at each other for awhile, and he/she finally moved off. I guess I showed him a thing or two (about crapping your pants).”
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