Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Maybe my first solo trip this weekend??

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Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Maybe my first solo trip this weekend?? on 06/10/2013 20:52:28 MDT Print View

I need some moral support!! A group of us were supposed to do a nice weekend hike this weekend, but now it seems to be rescheduled for next weekend. I've already taken Friday afternoon off, I have my new stratospire 1 in hand...

I'm thinking of an easy 21 mile hike that I've done countless times. It's familiar, relatively easy, somewhat crowded but not too much yet...

I've never camped alone. I've traveled alone numerous times, stayed in hotels alone, hell, I live alone. I've always been nervous for all the same, irrational reasons many of us are. CharlieDog will go with me.

Well...should I??????????

John Hillyer
(TrNameLucky) - MLife
go on 06/10/2013 20:57:46 MDT Print View

You absolutely positively should go. Have a great time!!!

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Maybe my first solo trip this weekend?? on 06/10/2013 20:58:01 MDT Print View

Go. Your dog is with you=not alone. You're ready.

Jeff Sims
(jeffreytsims) - MLife

Locale: So. Cal
Go on 06/10/2013 21:00:52 MDT Print View

What a great opportunity to go out in an area that you know and are comfortable in, while still pushing your personal boundaries a little.

I say go , and have a ton of fun!!!

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F - M
Go for it! on 06/10/2013 21:03:03 MDT Print View


just the fact that you threw this question out here shows in my opinion that you would like to do it. So go for it! Most of the time I prefer the company of my wife, our kids or good friends, but from time to time I enjoy a solo hike. It opens up new ways to hike - you have the ultimate flexibility to decide when to get up, when to hike, where to camp, when to take a break, etc. Solo hikes have their own beauty. Try it out and discover whether you enjoy it.


Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Go for it! on 06/10/2013 21:45:54 MDT Print View

If you don't go, YOU'LL BE SORRY. You'll think: I chickened out.... You might find out that you really LIKE it. I mostly prefer to go with my husband, but I usually go a couple of times a year on my own, and really enjoy that. Sometimes my dog gets to come, sometimes not.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Go for it! Or, call Doug... on 06/10/2013 22:01:28 MDT Print View

Doug and his dog will fly into O'Hare and scoop you and your pooch up. PM him! No need for your dog to not have some canine company. And Doug isn't like that weird Brit video thing. He's a sensitive man of the new century, and he has 3 bikes!

But really, just go and do a solo thing, Jennifer. I expect it's a bit hard for a woman to think about doing that for the first time, but what a satisfying thing it is to do. You and your dog will both love it.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Solo on 06/10/2013 22:37:17 MDT Print View

You should go! There's always some anxiety getting out the door on solo trips but I am always really glad I went by the time I get to the trailhead.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Yes, your first solo trip this weekend. on 06/10/2013 22:56:14 MDT Print View

I think a solo trip is a good time to add a few ounces back in with an audio book or long playlist or an actual book (no Tolstoy; this IS still BPL). Maybe not necessary if you are already used to the trail or are hiking big miles like on a thru hike, but at least for the first night of a trip.
For me, one occasional downside to going solo is feeling a little bored or lonely (having trouble deciding on the right word here) if I stop too early. Often the solitude is just what the doctor ordered, especially with a great view or interesting campsite, but it can have you spinning your mental wheels, too. Last year, I was on an overnighter in Mt. Rainier NP and the campsite I choose (based solely on distance from the TH) was in a deep forested valley. There wasn't anybody else there, it started raining and there wasn't anything to do or see once camp was set up and I explored the immediate surroundings. Having a little comfort or distraction is nice, even at the expense of weight or phone battery life. A little shot of whiskey would have gone a long way that night, too, but alas, I had none.

Don't forget to leave an itinerary (trails, vehicle info, where you are parking, etc) with someone.

Go for it, have fun and test out the shorts/wind pants/tights combo for the JMT!

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Maybe my first solo trip this weekend?? on 06/10/2013 23:28:46 MDT Print View

Do it!
Plan a trip where you are hiking/exploring all day. When it gets dark you can just fall asleep.
And you can share the experience with your dog.

Never do a solo trip in winter. It's terribly boring to have several hours of darkness to yourself in the evening.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Maybe my first solo trip this weekend?? on 06/10/2013 23:30:58 MDT Print View

Absolutely. You could bring a book as a mental distraction.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Go on 06/11/2013 05:36:13 MDT Print View

Why on earth wouldn't you?

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Go on 06/11/2013 08:35:19 MDT Print View

Why on Earth are you asking complete strangers anonymously on a backpacking forum?

Morally speaking, of course.

Edited by FamilyGuy on 06/11/2013 08:38:30 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Maybe my first solo trip this weekend?? on 06/11/2013 09:00:30 MDT Print View

Instead of asking us, you should be asking CharlieDog. He may not want to go backpacking with JUST you, have you thought about that?

As an aside - pooches are amazing, aren't they! I tried sleeping like my pup in my avatar, woke up with a wicked leg cramp! On the bright side, my toenails were all 'clipped' in the morning.....

Edited by idester on 06/11/2013 09:02:15 MDT.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Maybe my first solo trip this weekend??" on 06/11/2013 11:07:56 MDT Print View

I say do it. It sucks to be at the mercy of other people's schedules. This will free you, and also allow you to experience it in a different way. Just you, Charliedog and nature.

I have plans to do my own first solo this year, myself (with my dog, Mila). My DH isn't so cool with that idea, but I get tired of not having people to go with and therefore not going.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Acronym purgatory on 06/11/2013 11:15:28 MDT Print View

It took me the better part of 10 years to get all of the acronyms correct in the Army and I feel like I'm starting all over again.


dear husband
designated hitter
dead head

From another thread, apparently Kat is DLF which I can only assume is

Dedicated Lifer on Forum?

They really need to offer a class on "How to be hip" in the local community college so I can try to keep up.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 06/11/2013 11:16:01 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Acronym purgatory on 06/11/2013 11:21:06 MDT Print View

Too funny. I was wondering the same thing. But that's where the Urban Dictionary comes in handy.

DH - dearest or darling husband (though I'd a thought it would be damn husband)

DLF - I'm assuming dear little friend, because the other two entries aren't all that nice.....

Maybe we can have an Urban Dictionary word of the day! Today's is Pringlelingus!

Edited by idester on 06/11/2013 11:22:53 MDT.

Sharon J.
(squark) - F

Locale: SF Bay area
Re: Re: Acronym purgatory on 06/11/2013 11:32:47 MDT Print View

I thought DLF was Down Low and Funky

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Re: Acronym purgatory on 06/11/2013 11:44:33 MDT Print View

Keep guessing :)

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Acronym purgatory on 06/11/2013 12:11:45 MDT Print View

Keep guessing :)"

Ok so this is becoming BPL's equivalent of Carly Simon's "You're so vain" mystery.

I propose the following: upon purchasing a Kat Hat and signing a gag order, she will send the customer the meaning of DLF.

For now, I will understand DLF to mean Datsun Lowrider Fan-club... Dairy Lactose Free... Dang Lazy Farmer.... (John) Denver Loony Fan.... Dartmouth Lawndarts Fundraiser...

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Maybe my first solo trip this weekend??" on 06/11/2013 12:17:54 MDT Print View

Go! Hiking solo will eventually spoil you. I mostly hike alone and love it! Evenings, there are usually people around to share company; if not, I bring a book. Well, kindle.
Seriously, it's a great way to experience the outdoors. A different experience than going with a group. Better!

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Acronyms on 06/11/2013 13:50:40 MDT Print View

@Ian- sorry, I used DH as "dear husband" in this instance (although it could be "damned husband" under some circumstances, haha)

Scott Musack
(ScottM) - F

Locale: Oregon
Re; Maybe my first solo trip this weekend?? on 06/11/2013 13:57:00 MDT Print View

This is my first post here and I say go! You won't regret it :)

doug thomas
(sparky52804) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Iowa
Don't on 06/11/2013 14:20:43 MDT Print View

Don't do it, all the spooky noises and stuff. You'll be up all night wondering if there is a werewolf or something right outside your tent. Cuban isn't much protection against those type of things.

Tipi Walter
(TipiWalter) - F
Solo on 06/11/2013 14:51:14 MDT Print View

Solo backpacking? Maybe the question should be---After a 3 week trip should I even bother to return home? Yes or No?

For boredom, bring a small radio (Sangean DT-180) or a couple used paperbacks and burn them as your trip progresses. Does anyone remember what a pocket book is?

Justin Baker writes "Never do a solo trip in winter", but this is an inflammatory comment and radically incorrect. Several more hours of "non-hiking conditions"(darkness) is no big deal. Is camping really all that bad?

Edited by TipiWalter on 06/11/2013 14:52:38 MDT.

Kim Fera
(kimchi) - M

Locale: Gatineau Park
Solo trip on 06/11/2013 15:03:14 MDT Print View

From one solo-woman-hiker to another, definitely go! I did my first multi-day solo trip a few weeks ago, and while I was skittish at the start, I really enjoyed it (did a section of the Northville-Placid Trail). My nervous tension made for good mileage on the first day... I thought I might be nervous at night, so I brought a cellphone loaded up with music/podcasts to listen to when snuggled in my tent (also a Stratospire1!). I ended up having a great hike (married with three kids, so it was a LOT of quiet time compared to normal life).

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Do it at least once to learn! on 06/11/2013 17:12:30 MDT Print View

Hi Jennifer,

I solo quite a bit and it is a unique experience, one which I cherish and look forward to. It may or may not give you what you are seeking in hiking. We all search for different things. Of course you have to try it at least once in your life just to learn about the experience and yourself..

If it is pleasurable you will go back, if not, you don't have to do it again. But either way you will have done it!


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Maybe my first solo trip this weekend?? on 06/11/2013 21:39:01 MDT Print View

Go, you'll be glad. This sounds like the perfect scenario.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Maybe my first solo trip this weekend?? on 06/11/2013 22:25:33 MDT Print View

You and Charlie dog have fun! I've backpacked solo with dog for years. This year, I'm faced with true solo trips--no more dog. I'll have tp tale extra socks to keep my feet warm1

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Maybe my first solo trip this weekend?? on 06/12/2013 02:11:58 MDT Print View

check your gear list once more and check your packed gear twice.

There is an old methodology from the 1960s, used by the military, and sneaks into business corporate world every ten years. it's a SWOT analysis.
SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.

Basically, identify what you are really good at, then figure out what could go wrong. Then find a way to leverage your strengths and opportunities to overcome and mitigate the Weaknesses and Threats.


Strengths: You have strong legs, take a kickboxing class at the gym, you are a strong hiker.

Opportunity: People Pepper Spray is on sale. You buy a can.

Weakness: You are too trusting of strangers, and a poor judge of bad weather.

Threats: A stranger can attack you, lightning can strike, and you get washed away in a flash flood.

if a stranger attacks you, you can kick and pepper spray
leverage your knowledge of the trail to plan your escape route
Opportunity to study the weather forecast
adjust your gear accordingly.
setup a trip wire alarm with tooth floss string and a bell on your camp perimeter.

Last month someone else posted a similar question about first time solo trail confidence:

spelt !
(spelt) - F

Locale: Midwest
So... on 06/12/2013 09:47:02 MDT Print View

Are ya gonna do it? Huh? Are ya? Are ya? Are ya? ;)

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: So... on 06/12/2013 10:05:48 MDT Print View

She left two days ago....

Tipi Walter
(TipiWalter) - F
Solo on 06/12/2013 10:12:09 MDT Print View

I just hope she "setup a trip wire alarm with tooth floss string and a bell on her camp perimeter."

Sorry, couldn't resist.

doug thomas
(sparky52804) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Iowa
Nights are forever on 06/12/2013 10:27:24 MDT Print View


Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Nights are forever on 06/12/2013 18:07:20 MDT Print View

You guys crack me up.

The car is rented, the dog's food is packed in his pack, and I've told a friend my plan.

I leave Friday at 2, 2 nights on the trail with the CharlieDog (who has a mean growl, by the way), have NO idea how to set up my new stratospire (still in the bag...and it's hailing outside right now), and I couldn't be more excited.

So if you guys don't hear from me by Monday...........

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Nights are forever on 06/12/2013 20:04:34 MDT Print View

"So if you guys don't hear from me by Monday..........."

Don't count on me for anything! I'm used to not hearing from women, I wouldn't think anything was wrong.....

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Re: Nights are forever on 06/12/2013 20:41:05 MDT Print View

Thanks for the laugh Doug!

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Nights are forever on 06/12/2013 20:43:34 MDT Print View

He's serious.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
You go girl on 06/13/2013 06:45:19 MDT Print View

That a girl Jen. Could you PM me with where you are going, just in case something would happen. I mean after all you got all that new gear, somebody should find a new home for it and for Chuck. Is Therapy dogs where I should take him to help him get over what he saw happen to his master? Will he ever backpack again? Is your will up to date? I always wanted to meet your dad I've heard so much about him on here, to bad to have to meet under such bad circumstances. Well at least it meant that they found enough of you to have a funeral. By the way that's a pay back for asking for my tarp he he he

Edited by mtmnmark on 06/13/2013 07:05:30 MDT.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: You go girl on 06/13/2013 06:59:24 MDT Print View

Dibs on the Circuit.

And just remember, if you don't wake up screaming.... you won't wake up at all.

(One two Freddy is coming for you. Three four better lock the Hexamid.)

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: You go girl on 06/13/2013 07:00:02 MDT Print View

I could create a BPL will...

And seriously everyone...thanks for the encouragement! I've been reading all of the threads about why people are afraid to go alone, the creepy sounds at night, etc. But I have wanted to do this literally for years, I spend maybe 30-40 nights a year in the woods, my dog is a wonderful watchdog and has an uber mean growl when he wants, he's the perfect trail dog and absolutely will at least be a barrier between me and the things that go bump outside my tent.

But as some of you have intimated, as a woman I'm a bit more nervous about crazy meth heads in pick up trucks (no offense to any meth heads in pick up trucks here on BPL of course...) who have access to our rather accessible trails here in the Midwest. For that I think chuck would be a great help....

And I could always carry bear spray for that, too ;)

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: Re: You go girl on 06/13/2013 07:10:30 MDT Print View

Please note I edited my last post

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Best laid plans.... on 06/15/2013 08:07:28 MDT Print View

Well...after all of that...I'm sick this weekend.

I was hoping it would go away yesterday while at work, but alas, no. It worsened. So I'm not one to question the universe; apparently despite all the other evidence to the contrary, this was not a good weekend to go.

Thanks again for the push...I do feel like I'm mentally ready now...just need a better weekend.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Best laid plans.... on 06/15/2013 08:31:15 MDT Print View

"Well...after all of that...I'm sick this weekend. "

I told you to close your eyes......

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Best laid plans.... on 06/15/2013 08:39:39 MDT Print View

Note to self: Email photos of Doug on Monday, not towards the end of the week. Sorry Jen!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Solutude in the wilderness on 06/15/2013 08:49:11 MDT Print View

There is nothing better than solo hiking. I could proably come up with a bunch of pithy quotes, but walking at your own pace as well as sleeping and eating are wonderful. The dog is a good idea and let's you talk out loud without feeling like the crazy lady :)

If you're worried about security, a big ol' can of bear spray should do the trick.

Hope you're feeling better and back on the trail soon.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Earth (mostly)
Re: Maybe my first solo trip this weekend?? on 06/15/2013 09:30:29 MDT Print View

Solo trips are the best since you set your own pace. I'll go on various group trips but if feeling sick/pukey that day (or whatever), you still need to keep up with the group.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Backyard on 06/16/2013 12:43:16 MDT Print View

I have only done a couple solo trips. Last night, with just a few hours of light left I packed up and walked out my back door and started hiking out my backyard. My "driveway" is where the trail starts , a trail that connects to hundreds of miles of trails, through private and public land, including Big Basin and Castle Rock State Parks.
I hiked about 6 miles, mostly uphill. I saw mountain lion tracks, a bobcat, heard deer, chased off a pesky raccoon.
I set up my hammock between two gigantic fir trees on a very steep hillside. I used three big stumps to hop on, set up and cook. The trees were charred and a lot my gear got sooty. I warmed up a delicious stew I made the night before. I ate in while hanging and watching the sunset. I used my trekking pole to push me off and swing a bit every once in a while and that's how I fell asleep, absolutely comfortable and warm and tired and worn out as usual. No need for any aid or entertainment.
I did not bring breakfast nor coffee; just hiked back in the morning where the coffee was still hot and so was the shower!! :)

Edited to add the obvious...that I did not bring my camera either.

Edited by Kat_P on 06/16/2013 12:45:51 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Backyard on 06/16/2013 12:46:27 MDT Print View

I wanna be Kat when I grow up.

While one of the shortest, that has to be one of the best trip reports I've read!

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Backyard on 06/16/2013 12:54:14 MDT Print View

That's the way to do it Kat.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Backyard on 06/16/2013 13:25:21 MDT Print View

So...when I finish the PCT next year I can just move in with you then?

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Backyard on 06/16/2013 14:06:24 MDT Print View

Thanks Doug and Craig.
Jen, I thought the plan was to move over to Maryland ;)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Backyard on 06/16/2013 17:43:56 MDT Print View

Nice trip, Kat.

The Maryland guy is really nice. I have met him. The pictures others post don't do him justice. He is kind and likes animals. The only down side is that damned Prius he drives.

Marc Eldridge
(meld) - MLife

Locale: The here and now.
Re: Maybe my first solo trip this weekend on 06/16/2013 18:09:45 MDT Print View

We love Kat's back yard. Over the past twenty years POST, Peninsula Open Space Trust, and the Sempervirens Fund, have been acquiring land in the region, adding hundreds if not thousands of acres for open space. Glad to see you getting out into it.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Backyard on 06/17/2013 08:46:25 MDT Print View

@Kat ... kudos on your choice of a backyard!

@Nick ... traditionally, Yentels are women;-)