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How often do you hike or backpack?
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Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: Re: Re: How often do you hike or backpack? on 01/23/2013 23:06:32 MST Print View

We just moved the family (including extended family) from Washington DC to the other Washington (Seattle) largely for the purpose of getting outside more. It might be heresy for some folks, but the Appalachians don't do it for me. I needed (wanted?) the Rockies. Ended up with the Cascades and could not be happier. Location does matter if you are dealing with real life constraints, like others mentioned. Kids, a spouse that actually wants you around, demanding career, caring for elderly parents, etc. And for me it has been living overseas for some time, starting my own organization, and doing a PhD on the side which left little room for fun for the last several years. But these were conscious choices. I am not complaining.

So I would not think about it as just location. But how you can and/or want to organize your life. Think about your constraints and priorities and what big choices you need to make to enjoy life more. Note, that might mean some sacrifice in the short term for payoff later.

I'm training my girls to be backpackers (age 4 and 7) as a long term investment, I chose a risky career that allows me to be my own boss so I answer to no one on my time, and after building myself professionally for years in the east coast rat race, I now am able to locate close to mountains with fewer career sacrifices. At least that has been my path. But I do totally envy those guys doing thru hikes every year. At least I think I do, but it is easy to forget the trade offs involved.

But to your actual question. I am now getting 2 week-long trips a year and about 3 or 4 weekend trips. Plus lots of short day hikes and snow shoe trips with the girls.

Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
Re: How often do you hike or backpack? on 01/24/2013 07:37:10 MST Print View

A childhood in a national park enclave village makes 'going out in the woods' as normal as 'going out to the mall' might be for city kids. An assumed, expected part of life's routine. Becoming a city person later meant having to find a new way to do this, just like I had to find a new way to get food. Never actually occurred to me that it was optional.

It took some doing, I had no car and worked 9 to 5, Mon to Fri. My great good luck was that this harbour city had a sizeable, forested, and uninhabited island just offshore. So I found the people with boats who were willing to trade their time for my money.

Problem solved. No more waiting for vacation time to go out. I'd go to work with my pack on Friday morning, change clothes in the staff room after work, and head for the wharf. Setting up in the dark meant dawn on the beach, and two full days of hiking before the boat came back on Sunday night. If the skipper was willing to pick me up at 6am Monday, better yet.

I was lucky to find this island, but I'd have had to find something, wherever I was. Enough city time, and I'd find myself unconsciously walking in the grassy strips beside sidewalks, instead of on them, whenever grass appeared. Too many 90 degree angles, perfectly flat surfaces, and limited sightlines. Now I once again live where 'going into the wilderness' means hopping over the fence.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 01/24/2013 07:40:00 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/10/2015 06:48:55 MDT.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Shorter Trips on 01/24/2013 08:31:17 MST Print View

Fortunately my job allows me to work from home and live where I want (Colorado). That allows me to be in wilderness within 90 minutes. Having said that work and family constraints don't allow long hikes. I focus on 2-3 day trips with many day trips for peak bagging. In all, probably 20 weekends a year I am out. This year my plan is to focus about 5 of those excursions on 20-40 mile loop backpacks and the remaining trips will be peak bagging driven or a local day hike in mountains along the front range.

Some day I would like to write a guidebook covering Colorado and surrounding states that covers 2-4 day trips. Not many of us have the opportunity for multi-week thru hikes and most guide books seem to focus on day hikes.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
As much as I possibly can on 01/24/2013 14:06:54 MST Print View

I work full time and live in the armpit of America (that would be the case you were wondering). We have such limited trail opportunities more than 10-20 miles that it does make for a rather challenging hobby.

But we still get out 1-3 weekends a month from march to November. Sometimes it's a three or four day weekend to accommodate a long drive somewhere, or it's an arrive-at-2am Friday night thru Sunday sort of thing. I also try for one or two big trips every year...last year it was 3 weeks in Patagonia in February, then 8 days in the Winds in August. This year it's a longish JMT thru in August.

Ah, to be a single professional with no kids.........

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
If I'm lucky, a weekend a month in the summer... on 01/24/2013 14:36:24 MST Print View

... but that would be a VERY good summer. Usually I just manage a dayhike. I also try to use some leave for a "big" week-long trip every year. This year it's the Grand Canyon again in March.

I'm on call about one weekend a month, and whether or not I can get out the rest of the month depends upon my family's demands and if I have no inpatients that weekend.

But I swear on a stack of cuben tarps THIS HIGH that when I retire from the Army in 2018 I'm taking a month off and hiking the Colorado Trail.

Edited by acrosome on 01/24/2013 14:39:23 MST.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: How often do you hike or backpack? on 01/25/2013 01:37:25 MST Print View

I guess the selfish, thankless answer is, "not often enough" until I get to do an extended thruhike, like the PCT, which I have been pining to do for years.

I say "selfish, thankless" because that unfulfilled dream can easily make me take for granted or not be thankful enough for the extended hikes I have been able to do or the many week-long or weekend trips that I have enjoyed.

+1 to the sentiments for hiking places where you live with the same enthusiasm that tourists and travelers have as they pay quite a bit to come to your home state or island to see and do. I am priviledged to live in Hawaii where day-hiking on Oahu can easily be turned into overnights and outer-island trips to amazing destinations like Haleakala (Maui), Volcanoes (Big Island) or the Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon (Kauai) are essentially in my backyard.

I think it's easy to forget or take for granted what's just outside my front door. For example, I can't tell you how long it's been since I swam in the ocean, something I used to do just about every day.

So, cheers to rediscovering what you love most about your home area! I think I'll get in the ocean tomorrow....

Edited by veganaloha on 01/25/2013 01:39:41 MST.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
Ease of Access Makes a Difference on 01/25/2013 10:20:07 MST Print View

I used to live in Portland, OR and work a job with lots of time off. That meant plenty of hiking in the Columbia Gorge as well as trips to the Cascades. I now live on the coast and started a career instead of just a job. So now I hardly get any hiking in. My schedule is sporadic and unpredictable, and the good hiking is 3 hours away.I try to squeeze in what I can, but it just isn't the same.

Living close will absolutely make a difference in frequency.


. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 01/25/2013 10:41:37 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/19/2015 09:56:10 MDT.

Nelson Sherry

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Adventure Inventory? on 01/25/2013 14:26:31 MST Print View


I try for at least one long day hike (6-12 miles) or bike ride, or ski/snowshoe now per weekend and probably succeed 3 out of 4.

Oct 2011 Mt Jefferson Travers, 40ish miles, 4 days, 3 nights
Dec 2011 Oregon Coast, 40ish miles, 4 days, 3 nights
June 2012 Rogue River Trail, 40ish miles, 3 days, 2 nights
July 2012 Steens Mtn loop, 20ish miles, 2 days, 2 nights
July 2012 Timberline Trail, 40ish miles, 4+ days, 4 nights
Sept 2012 Diamond Peak Loop, 30ish miles, 2 days, 2 nights

There are probably a couple more overnight trips that I don't recall right now.
This was one of my hikingest years in a while.
I missed my typical 1 or 2 multi-day bicycle tours this year for various reasons.

I live about 20 minutes from good day hikes and 1 to 7 hours from all the longer trips I did this year.

Edited by nsherry61 on 01/25/2013 14:28:59 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Ask me how much I cycle! on 01/28/2013 22:29:17 MST Print View

I camped about 70 nights in 2012, but only hiked about 10 days. Bike touring :)

Confused Newbie

Locale: Northern CO
I work too much... on 01/29/2013 14:32:27 MST Print View

I live near the Colorado Rockies, and I get out overnight about 2-3 times a year in a tent, and we stay in a yurt or cabin in the winter 1 or 2 times. Big challenge is having a 6-day-a week job where working on holidays is pretty normal. But I'm trying to find ways to work less.

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
Wishes, wants and haves on 01/29/2013 15:03:34 MST Print View

I am the proud and happy father to 7 little ones under the age of 12. I am absolutely in love with the trail and want nothing more then to disengage and live simply along the dirt path.

I am trying to raise the kids wtih that same love. Luckily, I work in a government job with three day weekends on the 4 day a week / 10 hour a day schedule. So I can cut and run, but it means leaving mama with the youngest on her own while I get all the fun with the older tribe. But we do it. We have a travel trailer as well and average a weekend a month in the rv, with many hikes...and I try to go one other weekend on the trail.

A wish would be a month to take them out and long trail it... A want is just to be alone with them as much as possible talking about what THEY want to talk about, and the have is limited space to do each.

If I'm out every other weekend... I'll be happy. But that's a combo camping and hiking. But then on 3/27/27 I go full timing! Anything I can get I will! Good luck! Oh, and the upstairs still isnt painted.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: How often do you hike or backpack? on 01/29/2013 15:22:14 MST Print View

'12 I did around 500mi including 29 of the NH4ks, Presi traverse in a day, Long Trail thru hike

This year i'm hoping to finish my last 6 NH4k's, do a bunch of the "terrifying 25" trails and possibly another longer hike like the northern 300mi of AT. Also had an idea to do the Pemi loop in a day.. supposedly similar to the Presi in difficulty so i feel like I could do it.

Edited by JakeDatc on 01/29/2013 22:54:09 MST.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re "How often do you hike or backpack?" on 02/04/2013 15:55:46 MST Print View

I live right at the base of Chugach State Park in Eagle River, Alaska. I can walk out my front door and be in the Park in less than half an hour on foot. I can drive 5 minutes and be in the park in just a couple more minutes after that. So I would say proximity does make a difference. In the summer I hike or backpack nearly every weekend (more dayhikes than backpacking trips, sadly but am trying to change that) and also do some evening hikes during the week.