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Gregg White
(gewhite) - F

Locale: WA State
New Solo Hiking Thread on 05/02/2008 11:53:37 MDT Print View

Searching back I have found this has not been discussed in a while. My little poll question is how far/long are you folks comfortable hiking solo. To get the ball rolling I would say 10 miles out/for 3 days.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: New Solo Hiking Thread on 05/02/2008 12:21:39 MDT Print View

I haven't reached that point yet. I'm certainly comfortable in going for over a week and well over 100 miles in solo mode. I have to resupply or I might sometimes never see anyone when I hike. It's rare when I plan to hike with someone else. Last week and once in February were the only times since last August when I had company... and those were short, overnight, hikes. I'm heading out to the Colorado trail later this year, after re-doing most or all of the Long Trail, and I am looking forward to the solitude.

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Solo Hiking on 05/02/2008 12:36:41 MDT Print View

I personally do the majority of my backpacking solo; in fact it's a big part of the reason I backpack (to be alone) and also why I get out so often (don't have to coordinate with others on trip plans, etc.).

How far depends on where I am. Living in the southeast, it wouldn't bother me to go out for a couple weeks or more. It's pretty much impossible to be more than a day's hike away from a road, and chances are you'll see someone in the backcountry if you need help. In fact, I'd say in most places in the east you'd have a hard time getting out of rescue whistle range, except maybe in winter; there's probably someone close enough to hear it, whether you know it or not!

Other places I've hiked aren't quite so populated; places like Dark Canyon, or the eastern side of the Wind Rivers, etc. I usually limit my trips in places like that to 5 days. I think I can survive 4-5 days if I have an accident, and after that, I know someone is looking for me! With a PLB, I'd be willing to travel further, and for a longer time, in desolate places like this.

Anyone know where I can get a good deal on a PLB? ;)

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Re: New Solo Hiking Thread on 05/02/2008 12:59:48 MDT Print View

I suppose it depends on how you define solo hiking.

1. Is it that you will most likely not see any one for x amount of time?
OR
2. Is it that you are hiking by yourself and may meet people along the trail?

I often hike for several days or more and may meet people along the trail, but my aim is to spend my time in the evenings enjoying the experience of the location.

Having spent many nights on the AT in the off season, I have found that it is possible to hike solo even on well used trails.

Gregg White
(gewhite) - F

Locale: WA State
New Solo Hiking Thread on 05/02/2008 13:48:36 MDT Print View

Yea I suppose I ought to clarify 10 miles from trailhead of course it depends on terrain and the 3 days comes from not being able to escape the real world for much longer than that job etc...

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: New Solo Hiking Thread on 05/02/2008 16:27:59 MDT Print View

My multi-day hikes are typically solo, seeing only unknown people (if any) on the trail, while my overnighters typically involve one or more friends. I think this is just due to how easy it is to set up an overnighter. Everyone can get away for a night whereas a 5 day trip requires more planning and perhaps sacrifice of vacation days.
I'm not a high mileage guy, but I do walk for long periods...just slowly. Distance can vary drastically due to terrain (I spent 7 hours travelling 4 miles this winter), but I would think 8-12 miles would be my average summer day.
Solo is fun. I enjoy not seeing people for days. It's "wierd"...a good feeling, can't explain it - but I like it. Knowing no one is around within a few days walking...yeah, I'm weird too!

JAMES CALL
(Conductor) - MLife

Locale: Sierra Nevada
New Solo Hiking Thread on 05/02/2008 16:57:35 MDT Print View

The longest I've been so far is 66 mi/3 days, and it only makes me want more! I'm very comfortable being alone, and no one has to suffer from my singing!

Mark Mendell
(mmendell) - M

Locale: Midwest
Soloing on 05/02/2008 17:14:05 MDT Print View

I did my first last summer in the southern Wind Rivers. I intended to be out there for 6 days, but since I was alone, I tended to just keep on walking, and finished it in 4 1/2.

I hope to get better, to take more time, because going solo is about the only way I'm going to get out there. I teach, so have time in the summer. My wife, friends, all work. So I'll continue to take my girls out there, but more and more of my hiking will be solo.

I'm headed back to the NE Winds in late June for a solo 60 mile thu-hike. I'm packing already!

Cooldrip, I feel your pain on the PLB. I finally broke down and ordered one this week. Backcountry.com had a 20% off coupon the didn't exclude PLB's like REI does.

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
Solo Hiking on 05/02/2008 17:23:09 MDT Print View

Now that my boys are grown and have left for other adventures, all my backpacking is solo. I did the JMT solo in 2005 in 9.5 days. When I'm alone I find I can really put out the miles. I enjoy visiting with people and have shared a few meals and camped with those I've met but I'm usually packed up and gone before they ever rise. My weekend trips are also solo and well beyond 10 miles from the roadhead.

This summer I'm doing the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier solo at the end of July. I'm hopeful to get to the LT in a year or two for a thru-hike. I've never hiked in the east. I enjoy other hiker's company and would prefer to find a compatible hiking partner but so far that hasn't happened.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Solo on 05/02/2008 17:48:14 MDT Print View

As I get older and more and more of my friends are taking care of responsiblities, I find that this just might be the only way that I will do trips that I have wanted to do. I have found out that when I day hike, I tend to hike more. Wondering if that would translate in solo backpacking

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: New Solo Hiking Thread on 05/02/2008 17:53:45 MDT Print View

Though I occasionally hike with others, most of my hikes are solo. I find that I get those moments of connection with nature more often when I'm alone. How long? Right now, I would say indefinitely. Whenever a trip ends, I'm hungry for more.

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: New Solo Hiking Thread on 05/02/2008 19:25:25 MDT Print View

Another solo soul here. My longest trip solo or otherwise was a 5 day, 125 mi. river trip last spring and I'm about to hike the 70 mi. Laurel Highlands Trail next week. Originally, I started going solo because of how hard it was to fit trips into multiple schedules, but I now enjoy the solitude in for its own sake - I thoroughly relish going all "Walden Pond" every once in a while. Living here in the East, I'm never that remote from help in one way or another, so safety has never really been a concern of mine. My fiance on the other hand...

Having said that - I'm not an absolute hermit and love company when I can convince my friends, who generally think I'm crazy, to come along too.

Edited by dsmontgomery on 05/02/2008 19:27:13 MDT.

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
New Solo Hiking Thread on 05/03/2008 10:41:08 MDT Print View

Almost all of my hiking is solo; I prefer it that way. The longest I have been out solo is about 20 days when I hiked the John Muir Trail in 1954. I plan to attempt a repeat this summer, also solo. I am leaving tomorrow for a solo 5-day loop in the Grand Canyon.

It is not that I don't like people but I am a bit introverted and definitely internalized thus I much prefer not to have to react to people around me on any steady basis. Also, there are relatively few individuals my age who prefer hiking over golf or TV. Moreover, I find that I don't have much in common, and certainly have few shared experiences, with younger people.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
solo hiking on 05/03/2008 14:10:46 MDT Print View

I would choose people over going solo-but friends are not always into it like me- So I must go no matter what. Hiking solo is a great thing. ME time!! I did the JMT in 2006 solo, but I saw people every day and camped with people all of 16 days. The older we get the harder it gets to camp with friends and family. Work, kids, wifes,etc,etc. I get out when ever possible. Bring a good book or a Ipod.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Solo Backpacking . . . on 05/05/2008 12:21:26 MDT Print View

For me personally I almost exclusively do solo trips. My very first backpacking trip was solo but I shared a campsite with some other hikers. I have only been on four trips with other people.

Typically I'm on trails where I will cross paths with other hikers. These encounters typically only last a minute or two and happen a few times a day. The longest I have gone without encountering another person is only three days. Around 70% of the time I wind up camping alone but I don't mind sharing a site with someone.

Over the last four years of solo backpacking the longest I've been out solo is a ten day, 235 mile trip. Typically my trips are in the 2-3 day range and cover 30-50 miles.. I have found that these solo trips allow me to become much more self reliant, especially with my diabetes.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
solo hiking on 05/05/2008 12:40:52 MDT Print View

I do a combination of solo and hiking with another person (typically one). It's more solo now, since my main hiking partner moved back to Australia! If I can find someone who is as great of a hiking partner as him, I'd be happy.

I did a great deal of Northern California, Oregon, and southern Washington on the 2004 PCT by myself, and it was pretty enjoyable. Of course, there are people around, but I definitely had days when I saw no other people, or one elk hunter.

I like hiking by myself, as it allows me to set my own pace, nap on rocks when I feel like it, and not feel like I am trying to catch up to someone faster than me. As long as I have a little scotch for the evening and an Ipod, I'm all set. I never camp at night with other folks who are in the same area.

I'm planning several solo trips for later in the summer - 5 days around the Tahoe Rim Trail, 4-5 days on the Trinity Alps "High Route", and the like. Looking forward to it!

Edited by DaveT on 05/05/2008 12:43:12 MDT.

Joseph Williams
(deadogdancing) - F

Locale: SW England
Re:New Solo Hiking Thread on 05/06/2008 10:22:46 MDT Print View

I go alone, but am happy to meet people. My friends are not the same kind of odd, and also the company of strangers is liberating. My knees usually stop me before loneliness or safety worries do-the feeling of solitude or the freedom of loose association just gets better and better!

Mike Nielsen
(geophagous) - F

Locale: Pacific North West
Yeah! Solo on 05/06/2008 17:30:44 MDT Print View

I also love to solo and don't have many friends, let alone any who want to go hiking in the woods.

I really like the alone time, and at the end I am usually very happy to be back with my wife and son. That said often when out hiking I wil see something and immediately think "wish wife or son was here" as it is so cool I would love to share.

I bit the bullet on a PLB just because I sometimes go off trail, and someone may not happen upon my broken body in time to save it.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Solo on 05/09/2008 11:01:06 MDT Print View

Since the passing of my partner in 96 I've been solo. Now responsible to a family I have not gone down the path of a PLBs, I also have not told them they exist. I do provide life insurance coverage.
I typically push fast to a remote cirque and spend my time nicking off peaks. I have no problem turning back from weather or daylight or skill level. If anything the fast and lighter equipment available has allowed me an increased level of safety.
These trips are deeply personal experiences to me that at this point in my life I cannot share. We all need to define our mortality, we all need to recognize the abyss. I have left instruction that a S&R is not to be triggered.
This life we live turns on a dime, my life, my dime.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Solo on 05/09/2008 18:04:43 MDT Print View

Amen!