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James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Tips to convince wife to let me go solo and still be around when I come back... on 09/02/2013 04:57:03 MDT Print View

I am fairly lucky. The wife and I used to do some good backpacking many years ago. She understands the need to get out, away from phones, internet, well, society in general.

I can still hike, even though retired. The wife has knee and foot issues though. For even a tenth mile she uses a cane (an old hiking pole.) She still works, so, I clean up around the house, build boats, furniture, tie flies, etc. When I want to go for a week or so, She will drive me up. But, it was not until the third trip that she got used to it. She looks forward to me being away for a week at a time. I rarely get hurt (this year was an exception with a couple broken ribs. One of few in over 40 years of backpacking.) I called her, let her know I broke a couple ribs, and simply finished another week in the woods, though a bit slower. She was concerned, but not worried. I told her damaged ribs were not dangerous (mostly,)just painful. And, I would meet her on schedule, then proceeded to ask about other things. I have been out for around 5 years, solo. She trusts me to tell her stuff. I ignored the pain, and talked with her for about 5 minutes.

We all take risks out in the woods, or, on a mountain, or, along a trail. The risks are different, not worse, than the wifes when she is at home. Rock Climbing 20-30' up without equipment is dangerous. So is driving back and forth to work. Hiking over talus is "iffy." So is washing dishes in a kitchen. Do not belittle it, but don't get to worried slim odds, either. Slim odds means shiest happened to *someone*. She could get as hurt, at home, as you could get hurt, on the trail.

Once I start planning a trip, I let her decide pretty much when. She has to drive back from the trailhead. Case in point, I wanted to do some canoeing, she said to delay till AFTER Memorial Day weekend...a week delay is not important. Her driving in holiday traffic IS. I took her to her craft shops...material for quilts, some beads for her bead work, etc, a day of driving her around...a minor payback for the trip in advance. She will stop to see our Grandson when she returns. She wants to see her Mother (90+ years old,) too. She gets to order things from NetFlix, knowing I won't watch them (and not feeling guilty about it.) Ask her what she will be doing when you are gone, facilitate her any way you can. And point out the good things she likes about having you gone...you know what they are. Take her to dinner when you get out of the woods. After two or three trips she will not object very strongly. She might like an occasional week end without you around. Give her her own time. Let her decide when to have her friends over. Let her decide to go to some special craft shop she only visits once a year. Or buy some special wine. Or attend some class. Or ... whatever.

A mairage is a partnership. You do things together, you do things as individuals. Do not stifle her. Do not let her stifle you. Rarely are partnerships 50/50 for any length of time. Do not be afraid of contributing a little more, if Solo Backpacking bothers her. Sort'a like when she was pregnant, you have to stroke, buff and polish her. Pregnancy, childrearing last a LONG time(does it ever end?) Solo hiking is very minor, in comparison. She will accept it. A couple trips and she might WANT you to get out more. (As long as she doesn't stand in your doorway with a shotgun when you return, I think you are OK.) Go for it...don't ask her, tell her you will be headed out in a couple weeks. Let her get used to the idea.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Tips to convince wife to let me go solo and still be around when I come back... on 09/02/2013 08:46:40 MDT Print View

She should "let" you go backing alone because it is safer than hiking with others. Dangers of group hiking.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Ah... Life... on 09/02/2013 12:16:40 MDT Print View

Whichever turns we take on this Road of Life -- we'll gain some and lose some. We can never have it all, but we'll all have something.

Moi, I am blissfully single. I will never know the joys of raising a family -- but my time is mine to do as I please. Every year, I take off somewhere for a couple of months -- and all I need to do are (1) make sure I've transferred enough into my checking account and (2) lock the front door. No wife, no kids, no pets, and everything in the garden is covered by the auto sprinkler system.

Tomorrow night, I will be off to the Caucasus -- visiting Georgia and Armenia -- then a couple of weeks in Iran -- then the Gulf States (Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and UAE). The plan is to be back home before Thanksgiving.

No single style works for everyone; but whichever turns we make, we are at our happiest when we know we've picked the right ones.

Edited by ben2world on 09/02/2013 12:18:22 MDT.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Tips and Trips on 09/02/2013 14:16:12 MDT Print View

Have a great trip, Ben!

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: Tips to convince wife to let me go solo and still be around when I come back... on 09/02/2013 15:11:30 MDT Print View

"My wife isn't exactly warm to the idea of me going out alone. "

so, it sounds like somebody is self centered and trying to enforce her position on another individual.
if you cave in to it, you'll be soon suffering with ever worsening versions of female domination. which to be fair, you'll well deserve.
if you simply tell her she's wonderful, and go, she may stamp her feet, throw a glacial tantrum, or leave. now, if they leave, that's no great loss, and not to worry, they came back. (if you let them). the feet stamping means that to be a man, you have to let them rant, and you're going to need to listen while they say their bit. (it's not so bad. and it's part of your job.).
the glacial tantrum will evolve quickly into a form of sexual blackmail. once you name it as such, then her REAL issues will emerge. that's a solid win/win deal too. because if you listen to them, it clears the air, and all parties can move forward (together or not) from there.
in my world, going solo is all good. the better woman will worry and fret. the insecure woman will worry and fret and blame the other party. untrustworthy women will use it as an sorry excuse to play games (which is it's own punishment in the long run).

i can not fathom how a mother is able to send her son to war.
but failing to help support her man's hiking escapades .... ????? give me an frikk'n break.
better yet, just give me a better wife.
--
i gladly support my friends in life doing pretty much whatever they want. i do not run their lives. if they are on the cusp of doing something remarkably stupid, i will mention it. if it is physically dangerous, i have pulled rank (is a temporary thing).
if it is just something silly, or lame, well, that's part of the cost of having that person for a partner. worst case is , it makes a good story.
whatever you do. do it with respect, but makes sure you show that respect to yourself as well.

v.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: "Tips to convince wife to let me go solo and still be around when I come back..." on 09/02/2013 16:09:12 MDT Print View

" And I'd be really surprised if the rest of you don't ever compromise on anything with your wives. "My way or the highway" on all issues isn't a good strategy for a long term marriage."

And you'd be really surprised with good reason. The subject was solo backpacking trips, not marriage in general. Where did you get the impression that "the rest of us" never compromise on anything with our wives, or have a "my way or the highway" attitude toward our wives?

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: "Tips to convince wife to let me go solo and still be around when I come back..." on 09/02/2013 18:07:47 MDT Print View

"And I'd be really surprised if the rest of you don't ever compromise on anything with your wives. "

No doubt there is compromise. If there wasn't I would have already thru hiked the CDT after I did the PCT. I could easily spend every weekend in the woods. I am perfectly happy living in a very small shelter, she requires a house. In every one of these areas we have compromised. But it's a two way street. She "let me" hike the PCT in 2011. There are things she would rather me do around the house instead of hiking. In both cases she compromised on what she would ideally have me do. But when it comes to the style of trips I do she trusts that I have the judgement to handle it. If not she will get a very nice life insurance settlement.

Full disclosure...... This is my second marriage. My first wife wouldn't "let me" do much and over time the resentment and conflict grew. My current wife knew what I am and what I need to be me. likewise, I know what she needs to be content.

There is no rational argument to overcome an irrational fear.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Opposites attract on 09/03/2013 17:41:52 MDT Print View

This really sums up the relationship between my wife and I. We have different interests. Making jewelry is one of her passions; I've driven with her to Tacoma so she could attend a beading conference. She in turn has been very supportive of my varied interests.

Yesterday I hiked The Enchantments in its entirety from trailhead to trailhead. Normally I can predict how much time I'll need to complete a hike. This time I was off by many many hours.

She was justifiably worried as I've never been this late before. I explained to her all of the factors I couldn't predict and assured her that this would happen from time to time. Not trying to reignite a flame war but I also explained to her that I always carry the 10 essentials when I'm out on a wilderness day hike and that with my insulation and rain jacket, I would have been fine to sleep in the woods if need be. This experience has left her with more confidence in my ability to take care of myself in the woods even though I really screwed up estimating the time requirement for this hike.

I've really thought about purchasing a Spot or PLB but have yet to go on a hike which would require one. For much of the hiking I do, I think it would be more of a crutch and less of a tool. Yes it would have been nice to send her an Ok message but what if I damaged or lost it? As Dave alluded to earlier, despite any conversation I may have with her, I think she would have a hard time interpreting "no news does not mean I'm in trouble" and add yet another level to her worry.

With my hiking and hunting companions, I've seen their wives get nervous when they leave for the woods. I've also seen this worry ebb in time as their wives get more used their husbands leaving on these adventures.

My solo adventures are few and far between. While there were numerous opportunities to have a rock roll over my ankle or other injury, I also knew that between the popularity of The Enchantments and it being Labor Day Weekend, that the trail would be very busy.

By no means am I an expert in marriage but we celebrated our 15th anniversary last year and still going strong. Even though Justin Baker's comments shows that future divorce attorneys will not run out of business at anytime in the near future, I do agree with him somewhat. Should you tell your wife "tough crap I'm going hiking"? No but you should you gently explain to her that this is an important part of your life and detail to her the steps you've taken to mitigate the risk. As mentioned above, show her the map, and describe to her what your plans are if something goes wrong.

Kiel Senninger
(Kiel.S.) - F

Locale: San Diego
Thanks guys and gals on 09/03/2013 22:26:08 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the replies. I did not expect to get so many! I brought it up in the car and didn't get a response before we had to get out to visit some family. Brought it up again last night and I got "I just don't think it's safe to be out there overnight by yourself" I asked what specifically she thought was unsafe, animals? people? terrain? "All of them"

Animals: I tried to explain that black bears aren't really a threat unless I left my food in my tent, which I wouldn't and why I bought that $60 bear can... Mountain lions from what I've read hover below 10,000ft, so I probably wouldn't be running into many them where I plan on going, but knew what to do to try to scare them off and was probably more likely to be struck by lightning then get attacked by a lion. There's deer, and bighorn sheep... Said I'd get bear spray if it made her feel more comfortable with it, but didn't help.

People: They'd have to be super crazy to be that far from the highway, but again bear spray. Didn't help quell any fears (or at least none that she was willing to admit)

Terrain: I said since it was late in the summer and a low snow year there were no slippery, icy snow crossings, any creeks needing crossing would be low and probably a rock hop. I'm not climbing anything where a slip or fall would be disastrous. Probably the worst thing would be a twisted ankle.

Route: she was not interested in where I was going. Didn't want to see any pictures, map, etc. I told her I was not going so far in where if I got sick or twisted an ankle, I could not hike out to the car or to a more populated area in a few hours. I got "I don't know why you keep telling me if you're just going to go anyway."

She knows I love to do this, I go day hiking a bunch. Backpacking with others, but I usually come home a little disappointed that they don't share my style of hiking. She comes hiking with me sometimes, but doesn't like going uphill, bees, ants, has allergies, and generally seems to be an uncomfortable experience for her. So it's hard to find hikes that she'd have a good time on.

Well, I told her I'm going to go and take my friends SPOT, even though she doesn't like it, because it's really my only hobby and I want to take advantage of being in California while we still are (I'm in the Navy and probably won't be back here anytime soon after this tour is up because of the job I have). I didn't get a response. No nod, okay, whatever, grunt, etc. Oh well, she'll get over it I guess. I will take all of the post-trip advice to avoid too much blow-back when I return.

That being said, heading up out of Cottonwood Pass to Sky Blue Lake, over Crabtree Pass up 'the sandhill' to Discovery Pinnacle to Whitney and back to Sky Blue Lake, back over Cottonwood Pass or maybe New Army Pass to Horseshoe Meadows. Sept 8,9,10. If anyone's interested.

Thanks again for the advice!

Jeffrey McConnell
(Catalyst) - F
Re: Thanks guys and gals on 09/03/2013 22:49:41 MDT Print View

That should be a fun trip. It sounds like she just has it in her head that its unsafe to go solo. My wife took a lot of convincing for the first trip, but after it was a lot easier and now it's a non issue. I understand your predicament. I actually prefer to go on trips with friends. The last two years I've ended up going solo on my "big" summer trip because people are less committed and bail on me. Sometimes going solo is the only way you can get out there.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re; Wives on 09/03/2013 22:57:52 MDT Print View

"And you'd be really surprised with good reason. The subject was solo backpacking trips, not marriage in general. Where did you get the impression that "the rest of us" never compromise on anything with our wives, or have a "my way or the highway" attitude toward our wives?"

My mistake. Sorry.

"This was what made it unnecessary for me to stand up thereafter. I just told my wife to be.."

Just kidding with you Tom!

Edited by rlnunix on 09/03/2013 23:14:17 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Thanks guys and gals on 09/03/2013 23:02:48 MDT Print View

Okay, now next step.

Buy her a nice gift. Give it to her when you come home from the trip.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Thanks guys and gals on 09/04/2013 05:11:22 MDT Print View

"...Buy her a nice gift. Give it to her when you come home from the trip."
Uh oh....sounds like the gift will cost more than your gear...

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Thanks guys and gals on 09/04/2013 17:15:37 MDT Print View

"That being said, heading up out of Cottonwood Pass to Sky Blue Lake, over Crabtree Pass up 'the sandhill' to Discovery Pinnacle to Whitney and back to Sky Blue Lake, back over Cottonwood Pass or maybe New Army Pass to Horseshoe Meadows. Sept 8,9,10. If anyone's interested."

That is a very nice 3 day trip. If you're going to be camping in the Rock Creek/Miter Basin area, watch out for bears. They're an issue there.

Have a great hike!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re; Wives on 09/04/2013 17:22:10 MDT Print View

"My mistake. Sorry."

No offense taken, Randy. I think I was just feeling a little cranky that day.


"Just kidding with you Tom!"

I should've known, given the general tenor of the thread. :)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Thanks guys and gals on 09/04/2013 20:42:30 MDT Print View

Kiel: One way to view differences in interests is as "the price of admission" to the relationship. Since you're not going to find anyone who is 100% compatible in everything you do or like, are the differences an acceptable "price of admission"? By which I mean, why isn't she willing to gladly pay this small price for the benefits it offers to you and therefore your relationshi? And really, WTF is a less objectionable hobby than backpacking? The gear is cheaper than golf, hunting, boating or flying. The activity itself is healthy, unlike bar hopping, partying, or eating out and is far less injury prone than running, tennis or bicycling. And if it clears your head, it is about $125.60/hour cheaper than a therapist.

To be blunt, her unwillingness to hear why you enjoy doing this and how you could minimize the already small risks starts to sound more like a generalized fear of the unknown, extreme neediness/narcissism, or pretty controlling behavior. Which maybe begs the question what price of admission are you willing to pay?

But YMMV (your marriage may vary). My wife is rowing right now on a cold Alaskan lake on a very windy day in a 11-inch-wide boat. And we'll be hiking up a grizzly-infested valley to the terminus of a glacier with our grader-schoolers this Saturday. To each their own.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Thanks guys and gals on 09/04/2013 22:13:10 MDT Print View

David,

You don't have a future in politics. I couldn't pay you a higher complement if I tried.