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selfish - a secret place
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Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
selfish - a secret place on 02/01/2012 15:57:51 MST Print View

Excessive crowds on a beautiful trail render it into a nightmare experience, similar to the checkout line at the big box stores.

The summit of Mt San Antonio Peak (Mt Baldy) is a zoo, Mt Whitney, Jacinto, Sykes Hot Springs, all packed with humanity.

with the advantage of websites posting great details, more people show up in hordes. Quality diminishes when Quantity is exceeded. Some places have quotas, but even then, still too many people.

Years ago, Backpacker magazine (I do not endorse it) had an article "hike this, not that" for the second best choice to busy places.

I have a couple of secret spots that are rarely traveled, right next to parallel trails that are over crowded. I find myself at a conflict. I share my secret trails with others and post about them, because I want others to enjoy them, but I get mad at myself when my secret spots get busy...

I don't know how to deal with this conflict. The mountains are not mine to hoard. And in my current job situation I do not get paid sick/vacation time, so I cannot go mid-week to avoid the weekend zoo.

my only work-around is leave the house at 3AM, hit the trail head at 4AM, so I can have peace and quiet for a few hours, before the boy scout troops, and adventure club groups invade.

Tell me, do you have a secret spot that you only share its location with a select few, under condition not to share?

Edited by RogerDodger on 02/01/2012 20:42:18 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
My secret spots on 02/01/2012 17:22:37 MST Print View

I have a few spots I like that are off the beaten path but nothing so secret that some research and map reading couldn't dig it up. Share if you want but I don't think its "selfish." If you've done the work to find a really nice remote spot than you're under no obligation to share it with anyone else.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: selfish - a secret place on 02/01/2012 17:23:29 MST Print View

I have many of these places and I do not share them, and I do not feel guilty about it at all!

I worked hard to find them. Anyone can do the same. If they don't know how, or are too lazy, then so be it. The land is better off anyway.

I hate it when people post about little used places and then they get invaded. Worse is a trail guide. Absolutely worse is a Backpacker Magazine article. And this is one of the main reasons I quit my subscription years ago.

You mentioned some pretty popular places. I hike some of them, but off the main freeway of people. And it will be 40 years this summer since I last left a boot print on the JMT or Mt Whitney, although I have hiked many places near there.

And now you know how I feel about people who are always asking, "where should I go?"

There is a little known place I haven't been to in over 20 years. I just spent 30 minutes trying to find information about it on the Internet. Good Luck! Only ONE item is posted, other than it was turned into wilderness area in 1992, and the old jeep trails are now off limits. Hallelujah!. I am going there as soon as I get my new McHale pack, for a test run.

Is this a rant? Yep. Now I feel much better.

Roger, Thank you for posting.

And NO, I am not telling anyone where this secret place, except my wife -- in case I don't check in on time.

Edited by ngatel on 02/01/2012 17:25:48 MST.

Ben H.
(bzhayes) - F

Locale: So. California
no need to feel guilty on 02/01/2012 17:37:00 MST Print View

You don't need to feel guilty about not sharing favorite spots... definitely if they are your favorite because they are not very crowded. One thing you can do would be to share the info privately with the condition that the person also not share the location publicly. That way you can feel like you are contributing to the sport without causing the places to become overrun. If someone asks for a suggestion, send a PM... nothing wrong with that.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: selfish - a secret place on 02/01/2012 17:37:53 MST Print View

>"my only work-around is leave the house at 3AM, hit the trail head at 4AM"

This works well for me. I went up Half Dome last year and saw no one the whole way up, had the top to myself for 15 minutes and left after 6 others showed up. I left the tralhead at 2 am. (I did see a LOT of people as I was going down).

I was in the first group to go into Carlsbad Caverns' natural entrance one morning. I said "excuse me" a few times, passed a few people, and then stretched out my legs. I had huge cave passage all to myself for an hour before I got near the elevator.

My PR on a well-constructed trail is 25 miles without seeing anyone else because I got an early start.

About the only place it's not totally successful is Grand Canyon. Sometimes I can get to the River without seeing anyone, but before I get back up, a few others have started out. That's fine.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Selfish - a secret place on 02/01/2012 18:00:56 MST Print View

Every time I pass my local 24 Hour Fitness and see all the bodies bouncing and moving behind the glass I thank the Gods of Technology, Commerce, and Convenience for stair machines, treadmills, and gym memberships. If all these people got their kicks in the wilderness instead, I don't know what I'd do.

Thankfully, the vast majority of all people that do go into the wilderness are somehow conditioned to never stray more than 100 yards off of an established trail. And the typical day hiker seems to rarely stray more than 5-10 miles from a car or road.

So isolated, "secret" spots are not too hard to find, even in well-traveled areas. Get up earlier, move faster, go further, and be more creative than everyone else.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
I like people on 02/01/2012 20:44:56 MST Print View

I like chatting with other hikers.

I also like time to myself. It's really easy in the Sierra to avoid people. Just step off the maintained trails.

Don't feel selfish for keeping your favorites private. Other people can discover them on their own too.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: selfish - a secret place on 02/01/2012 20:58:52 MST Print View

"I find myself at a conflict.......I share my secret trails with others and post about them, because I want others to enjoy them, but I get mad at myself when my secret spots get busy..."

If guilt threatens to overwhelm you, you could always just mention that a certain area has some very good hikes without getting specific, and let it go at that. Just tell them that half the fun is figuring out the routes with map work and some research, and that you don't want to deprive them of the complete experience. My 2 cents.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: selfish - a secret place on 02/01/2012 22:09:31 MST Print View

Weekends on the coast(s) are packed regardless of the venue. If I ever moved to California full-time, I'd have to work a few weekends to get into the backcountry on the less-crowded weekdays. That said, some trailheads near Santa Fe or Durango get packed on summer weekends, so driving up after midnight and sleeping in my SUV has worked (I have a rectangular bag and REI sleeping pad all laid out to keep my pack packed).

Thermos full of coffee and a pastry, and I'm on the trail since many early-birders still do not sleep at the trailhead, rather in the towns below. Wait until 7 or 8 though, and here they come.

Keith Bassett
(keith_bassett)

Locale: Pacific NW
go early on 02/01/2012 23:00:59 MST Print View

The best comment here, go early and even crowded trails are fun. Nobody else is out but the wildlife.

I am still looking for good places near i90 in Washington, so I can understand the desire to keep quiet. Anybody want to share some spots? :-)

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Selfish But Secret? Not So Bad on 02/02/2012 12:55:47 MST Print View

Thinking about it... if you know a great place and you keep silent completely, that's really not so bad. What's insufferable are people gloating about their favorite spots -- and not saying where. On my bad-o-meter, gloating is far worse than keeping secrets.

Edited by ben2world on 02/02/2012 14:41:51 MST.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
+1 Ben on 02/02/2012 13:25:45 MST Print View

+1 to what Ben said. But then again it seems like every other thread these days ends up being " a game in which participants compete to see who can urinate the highest, the farthest, or the most accurately.".

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: +1 Ben on 02/02/2012 13:29:46 MST Print View

>But then again it seems like every other thread these days ends up being " a game in which participants compete to see who can urinate the highest, the farthest, or the most accurately.".

Several brewskies and the wind at your back really helps with that! ;)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Hikers do it, geeks do it. on 02/02/2012 13:32:53 MST Print View

>"a game in which participants compete to see who can urinate the highest, the farthest, or the most accurately" -KatGeek contest

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: go early on 02/02/2012 17:07:23 MST Print View

"I am still looking for good places near i90 in Washington, so I can understand the desire to keep quiet."

The SW Ridge of Teneriffe. I am not referring to the logging road here. It is a trail that starts at the bus turnaround about a mile north of the Mt Si main trail turnoff. There is a white gate blocking a service road. Go around it and hike a short mile then take the road that bears to the right. It quickly turns into a trial. Follow it until you come to a stream and look for a trail going right(upstream). This trail switchbacks steeply up the side of the ridge, past the spectacular Kamikaze Falls(best in May during spring melt). Once you gain the ridge, its's up to you. There is a boot track when the ground is bare, but during winter you do your own route finding(not hard, as you are on a ridge). It is a steep, relentless quad burner that will put you on top in ~2 miles, with excellent views up the Middle Fork Valley and to the north and south on clear days. This one gains nearly 4,000' in ~2.5 miles and is every bit as strenous as the more popular Mailbox Peak across the valley, but much less crowded. It is in the process of being discovered now but I don't think it will ever be crowded. REI carries a cheapo guide book called "Secrets of Si" that will give you some basic info on it.

ben wood
(benwood)

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: selfish - a secret place on 02/03/2012 08:25:54 MST Print View

man, gotta move to NM,
i do most of my backpacking and hiking there and i rarely see another person. In the past I have just looked at maps and picked a route. the more you research, the more you'll hear about the trails that everyone is on.

Keith Bassett
(keith_bassett)

Locale: Pacific NW
Secret hikes - perhaps also difficult hikes on 02/03/2012 10:14:56 MST Print View

Thanks Tom, Sounds like a good one. AND, as a quad burner - it won't get as much use as the easier trails.

I will have to try that one in the next few weeks.

I think Tom touches on a good point, not only are some places secret and excellent, but some places are known but too difficult or daunting for there to ever be huge crowds.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Secret hikes - perhaps also difficult hikes on 02/03/2012 10:37:39 MST Print View

"I think Tom touches on a good point, not only are some places secret and excellent, but some places are known but too difficult or daunting for there to ever be huge crowds."

But a while back Tom pointed out that his difficult or daunting places are now being desecrated with trash, areas he has frequented for decades, which was my point in the first place. The Sierra High Route is probably next of the list of desecration, given the more frequent Internet postings. [Sigh!]

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: selfish - a secret place on 02/03/2012 11:00:17 MST Print View

Since you mentioned Southern California places

I used to go up to Mt. Waterman. Many places where you can park the car on Angeles Crest generally North of Waterman and just hike up to the ridge. Maybe ski area runs. Not too many people.

Or, if it's in the winter when not too hot, go up to the North side, like the top of Lake and go up a fire break road or Mt. Wilson Road.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Be careful on 02/03/2012 11:06:32 MST Print View

A couple of years ago, someone on another forum was asking advice. They were looking for a nice camping spot in an area i know well. I didn't want to advertise it on a public forum, so i PM'd them the co-ordinates of a nice spot.
Maybe it wasn't anything to do with the person i PM'd, but i went back to that spot a year later, and it was trashed.
Never again.