Smiling through gritted teeth W/ hiking companion
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Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Smiling through gritted teeth W/ hiking companion on 07/08/2013 11:21:30 MDT Print View

Ever gone on a week long trip and discovered one of the people drove you NUTS?

I've done it and the only thing for it is to stay silent and stay away from the offending party as much as possible. On long canoe trips to avoid "canoe fever" we used to swap out paddling partners.

Yes, even good friends's little habits can become amazingly annoying on a long trip but you have to remember that you have some traits that annoy the hell out of them too. Try to laugh and joke about it - IF possible. I mean, really, getting in an argument about how to wash the dishes is truly stupid - don't ask.

Usually a nip of elixer of Jim Beam around a campfire will smooth things over and get people laughing at themselves. Just don't imbibe too much. You may find to everyone's dismay that one of the hikers annoying habits is they are a fighter when over-served.

P.S. Maybe that's why most of the long distance hikers are solo. :o)

Edited by Danepacker on 07/08/2013 11:26:17 MDT.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
spouses on 07/08/2013 12:46:24 MDT Print View

WE hike together...and we've been married more than 35 years. Seems to work just fine.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Smiling through gritted teeth W/ hiking companion on 07/08/2013 18:11:16 MDT Print View

Unfortunately I think, taken at random, 9/10 people fall into this category for me. On occasion, such as taking a sierra club group trip, you can up the number of annoying people to half a dozen.

I'm kind of a solo backpacker, but don't mind at all going with a few people who don't annoy me. I find certain features of people personalities that normally don't bother me, such as being very loud, and or whiners get to me when backpacking. During one group trip I did there was one guy I didn't know who talked loudly and constantly for 5 day straight about things like his daughters college applications and other detritus from the "real world". That REALLY got on my nerves and I took to hiking a far away from him as possible, but I still felt guilty about it since there was no objective reason for me to complain.

I always say choose your traveling and backpacking companions carefully. Very small things can annoy under certain circumstances where your idea and theirs of what makes a good tip conflict, and short of splitting up there can be no solution.

Desert Dweller
(Drusilla)

Locale: Wild Wild West
Smiling through... on 07/08/2013 22:11:32 MDT Print View

Many people have not learned to leave their burdens and mindless chatter at home. It is very immature and child like for an adult to assume that everyone wants to listen to endless or loud talking. If necessary borders must be drawn. Backpacking like any other endeavor brings people together (unless one is solo) but a common interest doesn't always bring out the same goals. I go into the woods to find peace, not be inundated by inane and endless narcissism. If you can't stand your hiking companion's habits just don't subject yourself to that again OR ask nicely before the hike that others respect your desire for quiet time or wildlife observation opportunities or some other goal that you wish to accomplish that requires others in the group to think first before bombarding fellow travelers with stuff. Then if they do it anyways you can refer to your request and work it out from there.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Smiling through gritted teeth W/ hiking companion on 07/09/2013 14:28:29 MDT Print View

Well...I see it differently but that is me. When I hike, I try to hike with other people who ENJOY the company of others and like to chit chat about life. Does this drive others batty? Oh sure. Not my problem though. Not everyone goes into the wilds to be alone, act monk like and inhale the air piously ;-)

Anyhow...my point is: if things get you batty, you need to consider why you are hiking with others. You might well make a solo hiker out of yourself ;-)

I liken it to hiking with friends who have small kids. I slow down my hiking (this was between my having an older kid and now having young kids) to enjoy my time with my friend. So the miles don't rack up...no real issue there. Companionship is more important.

OTOH, I go batty hiking with people who grunt out maybe a word every 3 hours and can't hold up say 10 minutes of talking. Lol......

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Mindless Chatter on 07/09/2013 14:35:19 MDT Print View

Some of my closest friendships were formed because of mindless chatter we had in the wilderness. :)

I love my solo time and crave it. I was off trail this past weekend, solo and did not see a soul once I left the trail.

But sometimes it is good to share the wilds with a good friend or two.

And if it means we discuss the 1986 Mets vs Red Sox World Series at times as well…so be it. ;)

josh jordan
(jjchgo) - M
Re: Smiling through gritted teeth W/ hiking companion on 07/09/2013 15:14:01 MDT Print View

like others have said, I have made some great friendships while hiking talking about nothing important. if I want some personal time, I either pick up the pace, slow down the pace or just tell them that I have some things on my mind and I need some personal time.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Nuts on 07/09/2013 16:30:46 MDT Print View

I have been lucky I guess. Maybe because most if my trips are one or two nights, but I have not had to grit my teeth......maybe just wear some ear plugs;)
A few years ago five of us did the Rae Lakes Loop, which was my longest trip with a group of people either didn't know or barely knew.. and I could not have asked for better hiking buddies, all around.

Maybe it would help to remind yourself that you can handle it this one time and will not have to deal with it in the future. You can also hike faster and loose them for a bit or hike slower and focus on what is around you. You can set up camp a bit farther away then the rest.
You can look at it as practicing your patience and keep breathing deeply.
Or I can give you a list of great companions that even share their salami and cheese when you did not bring enough food because your forgot that your teenager will not stop eating .....

Edited by Kat_P on 07/09/2013 16:34:22 MDT.

Rick Adams
(rickadams100) - M
slow down on 07/09/2013 16:48:07 MDT Print View

if you speed up to put space between you and them you will be called a jerk (from personal experience), if you slow down to let them get ahead they feel strong and you get to follow behind in peace.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Smiling through gritted teeth W/ hiking companion on 07/09/2013 16:48:18 MDT Print View

What Josh said.. if you need a break. just make an excuse to hold back for a little while and say you'll meet up at _____. I think thru hikers benefit from that sorta thing a lot.. it can be hard to be around the same people all day every day. on the LT I would go ahead of the guy i met along the way once in a while and then wait at the next shelter other days we'd hike together the whole time.

or throw your Ipod on and drowned everyone out ;)

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Chit-chatting on the trail, volume up on 07/09/2013 17:44:40 MDT Print View

And then there was the lady coming up Devil's Slide with her companions as I was headed down. I swear I first heard her a half mile away! She never let up, never paused for breath, just kept her incredibly loud chit-chatting going for as long behind me as in front. Everyone on the trail learned about her family, her life, her job, and her woes. As I passed her I was amazed to realise that in fact she was not shouting on a bull horn - that was just her normal speaking voice. Incredible! I could only pity the folks who were hiking with her, and be glad I wasn't one of them!

Fifteen minutes later, I heard a bird cheep.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Yep! on 07/10/2013 16:50:47 MDT Print View

I asked this question because I had one particular trip in which one woman annoyed the hell out of most of us with her assertive, abrasive, butinsky manner. GOD!

She had an opinion on everything and was, of course, always right. Your opinion was "misinformed" or "politically incorrect" if it differed from hers. So I gritted my teeth and kept away from her as much as possible. By not being confrontational I tried to keep the tone of the trip peaceful and I think I succeeded.

Had it been just her and I then we would have parted after my "parting words" to her.
(Forgive that perfect pun.)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Smiling through gritted teeth W/ hiking companion on 07/13/2013 15:08:02 MDT Print View

I hate that chit-chatting little devil in my head. He keeps telling to take side trips to places that are not on the itinerary I left with my wife.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Quite a bit on 07/13/2013 18:53:19 MDT Print View

I put up with quite a bit from one of my now ex hiking buddies ....

Until he threatened one of my kids on one outing ..... The rest of the group had to keep me off of him ....

Needless to say, that was the end of that.

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: Smiling through gritted teeth W/ hiking companion on 07/13/2013 22:32:00 MDT Print View

isn't there a thing called "expedition mentality" ?
are we not just supposed to shut the f up, at least until the trip is over.

i would not go into the bush with any person i was not ready to risk my life for. why waste the time ?
if i can go the distance for them, i Know i can gag down a remark or two. years working on shop floors have finally led me to the point of not making a rolling criticism of others a recreational pastime. (is that odd or what ..)
not every person is the proper tool for every job. tasks are different, so it's a good thing we have different type of people too.

tomorrow morning i am going on a death walk with a fellow half as old, twice (at least) as smart, and in much better shape than i am.
time to pack, and emotionally prepare to get my arse kicked.

cheers,
v.