Passing Time in Camp
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Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Passing Time in Camp on 06/21/2007 19:44:52 MDT Print View

I just came back from my longest solo trip to date - 18 days. It was fantastic and I had an absolute blast, but I have a question for some that do extended length hikes. What do you do to pass time in camp? Apart from the obvious enjoying the views/outdoors, there were a few nights, especially on the shorter days, where I ended up going to bed at 7pm or so. I did bring a small rubix cube with me, and I played with it until the stickers starting falling off but I was just curious as to what others do. Anybody have some neat suggestions?

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Passing Time in Camp on 06/21/2007 21:52:52 MDT Print View

I like to juggle. I have my oatmeal and soup package in such a way that they make excellent props.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Wow, 18 days... on 06/21/2007 21:56:59 MDT Print View

Steve -

I'd love to hear more about your trip. Please tell us all about it..

My longest solo hike is a very modest five days (unlike the hordes here who gladly saunter into the Alaskan wilderness for weeks at a time with nary more than a tarp, ziplock baggie and a roll of tums) and though my solo trips are generally short, I always bring a book with me, specifically books that do not contain any references to (a) bears eating solo hikers and (b) is paperback.

I try to limit my reading so that I don't blast through the book too fast. On an 18 day hike I would probably bring a couple of paperbacks or perhaps a more weighty tome (2.5 pounds), such as Richard Rhodes' Pulitzer Prize winning "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" which would, besides be the heaviest object in your pack, pretty much explain the early development of atomic energy and the making of the bomb in its 928 outstanding pages.

At a more economical(and backpacking-friendly) 9.6 ounces I would recommend the National Outdoor Book award winning, "The Last Season" by Eric Blehm. It follows the riveting story of a legendary backcountry ranger who disappears in the High Sierra. It's a terrific book that keeps you guessing. I read it on a rainy Sunday (384 pages).

Amazon has it here...

The Last Season
http://tinyurl.com/yoky7l

The Making of the Atomic Bomb
http://tinyurl.com/2q6ktn

If you are not much of a reader, you could always bring an MP3 player and load music or audio books on it. My local library allows you to download audio books to your MP3 player (does not work with iPods, though).

Myself, I prefer the quiet of nature, but to each his own. If I were out there for 18 days, I suspect my tune would change.

Please do tell us more about your trip!

Dirk

Edited by dirk9827 on 06/21/2007 21:58:51 MDT.

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Passing Time in Camp on 06/21/2007 23:12:45 MDT Print View

I photograph around camp, making abstracts from closeups.

I stretch and meander around the campsite as long as it's light out and I have the energy.

I write in a journal about the day, experiences, and gear performance.

I draw in a sketchbook. (I'm an artist/designer/illustrator, so that's less of a way to pass the time than to GET THESE THINGS OUT OF MY HEAD!) :-)

If I'm with someone else, I pack cards, single malt, and chocolate for camp time.

I pack only the letter tiles from Scrabble and play SpeedScrabble on the lids of our bear canisters.

I also usually go to bed almost as soon as it's pitch dark, at least in the summer.

Darrel Etter
(darrel) - F
RE: Passing Time in Camp on 06/21/2007 23:40:09 MDT Print View

Fly fishing.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: RE: Passing Time in Camp on 06/22/2007 00:00:58 MDT Print View

When I'm solo I wander- go for strolls, climb up cliffs, check out formations and plants, that sort of thing.

I also meditate. Not so oftern the OM kind of thing (although I do do that when backpacking) but more of a mind-off wandering and observation. Being in the moment is one of my goals in the backcountry.

I'm not a religious guy in the traditional sense, but the backcountry is where I experience God.

In the past I enjoyed the uh, chemical "enhancements". These days, I certainly enjoy adding a nip of vino or fine tequila to my ramblings.

When I'm with my family, it's all about my son Henry. He sure keeps us busy! And mostly it's about seeing his interaction with the outdoors. It's a wonderful thing.

I used to carry books and even a Taylor Baby guitar. Those were some excellent trips. But going ultralight has focused me on what's around me. I think going light has done much more for the experience than just giving me a lighter pack. It's given me a lighter mind.

Great question- I enjoyed thinking about this one!

Doug

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
RE: Passing Time in Camp on 06/22/2007 02:42:53 MDT Print View

I spend hours walking very very slowly with only my camera and a sketchbook. Sometimes I sit in one place and let the world come to me. If you sit still long enough the animals come out of hiding and you see stuff that normally you miss while you are walking. There are a lot more animals about than you might imagine when you walk because we create a lot of rackett when we move. I also like to look closely at things and let myself "feel" things. I even like to stand in the rain somewhere or climb a tree or immerse myself in a river to get a sense of things.

After all that I lie in my shelter and write long passages about what I experienced, along with illustrations and notes. When rainbound I used to carry a tiny shortwave radio and listen to radio dramas. Since I'm going to buy an ipod to store all my photos while walking, I am also going to bring along some podcasts to listen to.

When I am with a partner the best thing is always long conversations and singing. Human beings were designed for telling stories. It's sad that we have lost the time and ability to sit around the fire and tell stories.

And this may sound strange, but I've been so isolated for the last nine months after separating from my wife that I am actually looking forward to meeting other people in the Alps in August, and one of the reasons why I chose the Alps rather than more remote, lonely places to wander for a month.

Edited by butuki on 06/22/2007 02:45:43 MDT.

Douglas Hus
(Hustler) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Passing Time in Camp on 06/22/2007 04:46:06 MDT Print View

-Read
-clean site (if needed, litter bugs are every where)
-watch things


Doug



.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Reading too fast on 06/22/2007 05:42:48 MDT Print View

Dirk wrote: I try to limit my reading so that I don't blast through the book too fast

This made me laugh. I actually did bring a book, but finished it by the 3rd day. Then carried it for one more day, tried to give it away to some other hikers the next day, and then sadly...it was sacrificed to the fire. RIP.

I do like the idea of sketching some nights instead of just snapping away on the camera. I haven't drawn in years(manually), but maybe that's a good thing.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Reading too fast on 06/22/2007 05:42:48 MDT Print View

Deleted.

Edited by Steve_Evans on 06/25/2007 05:51:11 MDT.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Passing Time in Camp on 06/22/2007 05:42:48 MDT Print View

Deleted

Edited by Steve_Evans on 06/25/2007 05:51:44 MDT.

s k
(skots) - F
Re: Re: Passing Time in Camp on 06/22/2007 06:29:25 MDT Print View

Steven,

I,d never thought about a trail ritual of sacrifice, but it could add some excitement to the evenings. Some might consider the trappings a luxury item, something never left at home.

The eighteen day trip sounds great. More details?

Scott Robertson
(SRPhotographic) - F
three things on 06/22/2007 10:03:30 MDT Print View

I bring a journal, an ink pen, and my Bible.

I usually like to sketch things I see in the camp or things I saw during the day. I jot down a few notes about them as well. I make a lot of jokes in my head while I hike, so I like to write down the memorable ones.

I'm a student of the Bible, so I am never short of something to read when I have it with me. I find a lot passages and stories that pretain to how I am feeling about the day.

Also, if there isn't anyone in earshot I like to whistle or sing to myself; it is enjoyable.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Passing Time in Camp on 06/23/2007 01:28:59 MDT Print View

On solo trips, like Doug, I check stuff out, go for strolls, climb up cliffs or peaks, look at plants, etc. Sometimes I'll pace my hike to minimize time in camp - take a lunch break or a mid-day nap. Lately I'm adding mileage so I can be traveling most of the day. I prefer to spend my time out seeing things rather than sitting in one place.

Group trips are entirely different. Pace/time/distance are set by group consensus (almost always slower and shorter than my solo trips). But then I will sit around and talk, play cards, fish, etc.

Both are fun. I do them for different reasons, and prefer to do a little of both.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Re: Passing Time in Camp on 06/23/2007 08:16:31 MDT Print View

I get kind of antsy when I'm in camp for too long. I find that no matter what I try to do I get a little bored when I go solo. For me, hiking longer wears me out more and helps me spend less time in camp. I end up spending most of my time in camp sleeping.
I'm not much of a reader at home and the same goes for when I'm in the backcountry. Playing cards is out of the question when you're solo as well.
Maybe I'm just too fidgety.

Adam

Edited by aroth87 on 06/23/2007 08:17:22 MDT.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Reading too fast on 06/24/2007 17:02:42 MDT Print View

Dirk wrote: I try to limit my reading so that I don't blast through the book too fast

Steven wrote: This made me laugh. I actually did bring a book, but finished it by the 3rd day. Then carried it for one more day, tried to give it away to some other hikers the next day, and then sadly...it was sacrificed to the fire. RIP.

Is "sacrificed to the fire" the latest colloquialism for book burning? Next time you go out on a two-week hike, let me know, I will set you up with a bunch of Ann Coulter books. The rhetoric that gasbag espouses should keep the flames going long into the evening. (End of political rant.)

Edited by dirk9827 on 06/24/2007 17:46:05 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Passing Time in Camp on 06/24/2007 18:40:04 MDT Print View

Playing cards is out of the question when you're solo as well.

Well, there's always Solitaire... but I guess that's not what you're referring to. Some people seem to be good at bringing out their multiple personalities at such times. Since living alone out here in this isolated part of Japan I've started spending a lot of time talking to myself! (^J^)?"

And there's always Nintendo. Just what you need out in the wonders of the natural world, eh?

How about taking up something like yoga or aikido, which you can practice anywhere and calm yourself down to boot.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Passing Time in Camp on 06/24/2007 19:19:20 MDT Print View

Sleeping is the best use of time after taking care of chores.

Greyson Howard
(Greyhound)

Locale: Sierra Nevada
harmonica on 06/24/2007 19:50:06 MDT Print View

Anybody know how to play the harmonica? Someone at work just gave me one and it struck me as a good backpacking instrument.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: harmonica on 06/24/2007 21:03:37 MDT Print View

The harmonica is an easy instrument to learn but tough to master. It is indeed a nearly perfect instrument for backpacking.

That said, for "entertainment" I will carry my iPod Nano with an Audiobook. If for some reason I can't sleep or am "tentbound" I'll kill time (and lots of it) but generally I wind up falling asleep. I learned that you do NOT remember what you hear when you sleep but you may have vague memories or weird dreams. Haha!