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Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself?
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Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself? on 04/05/2011 19:25:29 MDT Print View

Well, I guess I will be hiking alone this spring. I've been furloughed one day per week so I have some long weekends for backpacking this spring.

I hiked the whole PCT alone. I enjoyed the experience. But for some reason it saddens me that if I want to do any backpacking at all this spring I will have to continue doing it alone.

I guess one way I have been able to enjoy hiking alone is by simply hiking all day. That's one great thing about a long trail. It goes on forever. In my local area and with a limited amount of time, it's hard to find good loops that will fit in the allotted time. I may find myself having to amuse myself in other ways besides just hiking all day.

Any tips on how to keep yourself amused so it's not so lonely?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself? on 04/05/2011 19:30:33 MDT Print View

Some of us call ourselves photographers. We can kill a day easily just wandering around camp and seeking out the wildlife or flowers. That's why they invented 32GB memory cards.


John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
books on 04/05/2011 19:31:25 MDT Print View

I like books that are just a little too slow/boring for city reading.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself? on 04/05/2011 19:31:34 MDT Print View

I like to take songs I know pretty well, and then make up lyrics to the tune that fit the environment I'm currently hiking in. Had some great made-up lyrics to Regina Spektor's On the Radio when I did the Susquehannock Trail last year!

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
"Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself?" on 04/05/2011 19:38:15 MDT Print View

Try to find as many edible plants as posible while you hike.
Identify the trees, birds in the area.
Take note of any potential fishing streams, perhaps a side hike of a couple hours.
See if you can spot people before they spot you.
Carry a rock to the top of every peak, hill, ridge you hike from the bottom.

Scott Lehr
(lehrscott4) - F

Locale: Louisville - KY
I dont think i can on 04/05/2011 19:51:03 MDT Print View

I am such a people person, and love sharing the experiences with those people, its always been next to impossible for me to go on a trip alone, even though its been on my to do list for years. People are the best amusement imo.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself? on 04/05/2011 19:53:12 MDT Print View

"Any tips on how to keep yourself amused so it's not so lonely?"

Formulate solutions for the world's problems so you can join the Carbon Flamea War in Chaff. Just kidding.

Since you have done it before, you probably have more experience at it than a lot of people. I spend a lot of time by myself working in my home office, so I am used to it. When I hike alone, which is most of the time, I keep myself pretty busy... haven't really considered what I do to keep my mind busy. Hiking all day is not neccessarily required. Sometimes I will do 1/2 of a planned hike, because I get interested in something else. Side canyons are great for this. When I was younger, I often would try to find the source of small creeks, or follow animal tracks to see if I could locate them.

I usually DO NOT take a camera, because it can make you very busy.

James had some excellent suggestions.

I never take a book or music, because I get too busy to use them and they just sit in my pack.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Amusement... on 04/05/2011 20:06:17 MDT Print View

I find that collecting firewood, and then creating a fine fire, though sometimes rather small, is a wonderful way to pass the the time before and after dark. But I grew up in isolated Montana doing this, so maybe it isn't for everyone. Or every place where you tend to hike. Still, it works for me...

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Alone and content on 04/05/2011 20:32:26 MDT Print View

When hiking alone, I too enjoyed singing out loud, making up lyrics to favorite tunes. Not only did it help pass the time, I found that it kept me from hiking too fast. I also enjoyed just standing still and watching the world around me, particularly in the morning and evening. I used to carry a pretty substantial pair of binoculars (18oz or so), that provided hours of entertainment.

On a three week ski trip in Northern Minnesota many years ago, it was hard passing the time during the dark evening and early morning hours. I found that if I didn't give my mind something to "chew on," my imagination would run away from me. I used to play mind games that resulted in making lists. For example, I would create a scenario where I was on a plane that went down in a remote Mt Range and I could only have 5 items with me. You would be amazed at how many choices you can come up with and the reason why each item would earn it's place. I would play that with items I could bring vs items I might find on the plane.

With the current technology that is available, like an I-touch and some way of recharging the battery, I am sure that I would find myself having a hard time turning it off and going to sleep.

robert mckay
(rahstin) - F

Locale: The Great Land
hiking alone on 04/05/2011 20:51:33 MDT Print View

Long time lurker, first time responder...
skip rocks
learn to make fire with your hands
get tribal around said fire
try different tarp set-ups
learn a new language - print a cheat sheet with things you might see on your hike and
some basic sentence structure in really small print on map paper (.35 oz)
yell at bears (weighs less then mace)
learn the constellations (get the bandana with them printed on it multi-use!)
cook more elaborate trail foods
tie bandana into a ball - tie your pot to a tree - practice your jump shot/free throws
push ups - sit ups - stretches - pull ups on tree branches - yoga (if its your bag)
try to hike through leafs and such without making a sound
use that skill to sneak up on animals (smaller than you)
learn the harmonica/mouth harp
bring only emergency food and replace normal food weight with an in-depth field guide
make sand art (erase it to LNT)
do some minor bouldering
learn to fly fish
climb a tree

Todd T
(texasbb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Solitude is a good thing on 04/05/2011 21:55:10 MDT Print View

I love hiking alone and the opportunity for solitude is one of the reasons. Hiking all day is part of my plan, but I do like to finish supper and all the major camp chores well before dark. Then I'll think, pray, snap a few pictures, bathe if it's warm enough and there's water, hike (in the amble sense) to a nearby feature, read. Before trips I go book shopping at the local Barnes and Noble, scanning the shelves with only two criteria in mind--small and lightweight. On my next few trips I'll be taking some stuff by John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, J.D. Salinger. The books weigh between 2.5 and 3.5 oz each.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself? on 04/05/2011 22:02:46 MDT Print View

I prefer hiking alone, because I enjoy solitude. However, I'm really not alone because my dog is with me. Consider visiting your local shelter and adopting a canine hiking buddy! Mine is excellent company (he rarely argues) and he helps keep me warm at night!

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
re on 04/05/2011 22:07:49 MDT Print View


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself? on 04/05/2011 22:08:01 MDT Print View

Writing, reading, harmonica, Native American flute, a tiny radio, or just taking in the wonder of it all.

Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Hiking alone on 04/05/2011 22:16:25 MDT Print View

I like to read any labels I have on food packages or warning labels, interesting stuff on labels. I have been known to 'create' my own language for certain items in my pack as well. I almost always bring a book w/ me, one of my favorite things to do at the end of the day; I read desert solitary during a 5 day Canyonlands trip, that was cool.

The beauty of it is that you can do as little or as much as you want, it is your time, your peace, yours.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Hiking alone on 04/05/2011 22:38:30 MDT Print View

I don't mind hiking alone, sometimes I even prefer it, but I do really enjoy bringing a good book along, sitting in my little camp chair and drinking coffee. A campfire is nice, but usually not appropriate for the areas I hike in.

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself? on 04/05/2011 22:42:03 MDT Print View

Like Nick, I like to leave the camera at home. That leaves me plenty of time for: trees and plants, bird watching, cloud/weather watching, rock hounding, checking out local geology and historical or unique sites, wandering around, poking things with my walking poles, looking for animal tracks & scat.
Always wanted to learn how to play a ukulele and this summer's trip up to North Dakota may be the right time.

Antti Peltola
(anttipeltola) - F
Re: Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself? on 04/06/2011 01:54:20 MDT Print View

Besides taking photos, I might go fishing, smoke a pipe or carve something out of wood like this:
Something carved out there
Or just sit there, "looking how the leafs grow" and enjoy the silence. I look for the false impression that I'm are the only human being in the area as far as my eyes can see, so that everything before my eyes becomes my own personal territory.

Edited by anttipeltola on 04/06/2011 01:57:00 MDT.

Daniel Goldenberg
(DanG) - M
Re: Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself? on 04/06/2011 07:58:47 MDT Print View

One thing you can do is to kind of make a "mini documentary" of your trip. This sounds more complicated than it is. Basically, get a stickpick to attach a small digital camera to a hiking pole. Then you can shoot short videos of yourself while you are hiking and you can record yourself talking to the camera. Just do short 1 minute segments or so describing the trail etc. Do the same when you are not moving.

It is kind of fun to do and especially fun to watch later by yourself or with friends/family. There is this weird psychological effect when you are talking to the camera that gives the illusion that you are not alone.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Hiking alone - how to amuse yourself? on 04/06/2011 09:31:58 MDT Print View

Thanks everybody. I guess I just feel so let down that my partner no longer is interested in hiking. Now I know how a lot of you feel.

I guess I'll bring some musical instruments and a journal and maybe my edible plants book. My mushroom book weighs about 5lbs.