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View Full Version : Are You A Lone Hiker?



Joey Keyz
04-23-2007, 06:06 PM
I was just wondering how many of you feel like I do.

I LOVE hiking by myself. To me there's nothing better then being out there in the forest or on a mountain alone. The sounds and the smell of pine really turns me on. I can hike at my own pace and open my mind to think about life and how beautiful this planet really is. I'm not a 4,000 footer, so my hikes are usually only from morning until dusk. Don't get me wrong, I dig being out hiking with my wife, but only on the simple logging trails. She's not big into climbing.

I don't know........I just love hiking alone........How about you?

KD Talbot
04-23-2007, 07:34 PM
The only place I ever hike alone anymore is on Mount Washington, the one place I probably shouldn't. It gives me time to reflect on what's going on in my life, time to think with no disturbances. Ninty nine percent of the time I'm on the trails with my wife and dog. She was not into the long hikes I used to take, then the first time we did a 4000 footer, she was ready to divorce me. I kept bugging her to go again telling her it would get better. She had lots of pain in her knees when we first started and scoffed at the idea of gettin her 48, but I was determined to get mine. Somehow I kept convincing her to go, and she would reluctantly give in. Then one day we came across this little stray dog in a in a city as bad as they get, and it was all up hill from there. After seeing how much this dog loved to run on the trails, not caring if it was up or down, as long as it was with us, it soon became necessary to get the 48, not just for herself, but for the dog, too. It even involved returning to several mountains she swore she'd never climb again, so the dog could add to her list. They finished on the Bonds 10/12/02 and have returned to most of them at least once again, since.

I guess my point is, if you had a dog, maybe you could get your wife to enjoy it more, but then, not all dogs are like Emma, and not all wives are like mine. Hiking alone definitely has it's virtues, but usually it's more fun with my wife and dog. Just my opinion.
KDT

Bill O
04-23-2007, 08:16 PM
I generally like my trails like this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/66/Mt_Fuji_Summit.jpg/800px-Mt_Fuji_Summit.jpg

I guess I like it all. I like hiking alone, I like hiking with people, I enjoy empty trails, and I like passing other hikers.

When I'm alone I tend to hike really fast. I pretty much don't stop. I drink from my camelbak and I flip my backpack around to grab food. For the most part its a bad habit. I need to slow down and enjoy the hike more when time allows.

I also like seeing people on the trail. Talking about conditions, answering questions.

Steve M
04-23-2007, 11:31 PM
Bill, that is sooo funny! I don't mind people on the trails but too many people makes me feel like I'm at a theme park in line for another ride. Generally I'm in the mountains to get away from people, or at least a break from the norms of life. I used to hike alone constantly as a kid simply because no-one I knew liked to hike so I would go it alone. Now, having a family, getting alone on a hike is just about impossible, but enjoyable to be with my wife and kids on the trail. I think the best part of hiking with them is the time we spend talking about things we normally overlook in the day to day. I love to teach them about the forest and introduce them to new things other than video games. On another note though, they are not physically capable of hikes beyond a few miles and any major elevation gain and I have been longing to do a round trip up MW or any of the Presi's for that matter. If any of you are available for a day hike in June or July, which is when we are planning to be up there, I would love to hook up and hit the trails.

Joey Keyz
04-24-2007, 07:29 AM
I generally like my trails like this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/66/Mt_Fuji_Summit.jpg/800px-Mt_Fuji_Summit.jpg


Whoa!!! That's a lot of people Bill!

Where was that?

Bill O
04-24-2007, 07:58 AM
Its Mount Fuji, and I didn't take it. I know there are photos of Mount Fuji with more people, but I couldn't find any.

Patrad Fischroy
04-24-2007, 08:40 AM
I too, prefer relative solitude. Not necessarily alone, but not jostling elbows either. Living here out West it is somewhat easier to get away from the crowds than in the East. In Colorado the 14'ers are a main attraction, and I haven't done a one. Even when there is a common trailhead to a 14'er and a high 13'er, the ratio of people heading up the 14'er is 10:1. And the photos from the mountains are so much nicer, in my eyes, when they aren't cluttered up with so many people. Here in the valleys, I have to be sociable, and I enjoy it. In the mountains, however, I prefer to have everyone at an arm's length, an extremely long arm's length.

Rich
04-24-2007, 01:55 PM
Now, having a family, getting alone on a hike is just about impossible, but enjoyable to be with my wife and kids on the trail. I think the best part of hiking with them is the time we spend talking about things we normally overlook in the day to day. I love to teach them about the forest and introduce them to new things other than video games. If any of you are available for a day hike in June or July, which is when we are planning to be up there, I would love to hook up and hit the trails.


I agree with WSR88D. Hard to get out alone but, fun with my family. Luckily all of them are very much into hiking and the kids (3 boys) have been since they could hold their heads up. My oldest, 7 actually asks to go hiking...probably because he doesn't own a handheld video game (rare), just a handheld GPSR. He'll be doing STP with us in July and is very excited! Fun to explain to him the concept of raising money for a good cause...and he gets it too! Hiking with people is fine...crowds stink! We'll be up there June into July.

Brad
04-25-2007, 04:57 AM
This an interesting question. I enjoy hiking on Mt Washington alone. Those times I have done it have been quite different from other hikes. Yes, they were at my pace - probably slower because of spending more time to look, wonder, think, enjoy, take pictures - and talk with others on the trail. But, I pick my days and watch the weather very carefully.

Most of the time I have been hiking with friends or family. I enjoy taking them to the summit for the first time - looking out over the Alpine Garden - realizing they are going down Tuckermans Headwall later - watching the clouds form in the valley and race up the slopes to part in front of their face. It is too beautiful not to share. And it is safer.

Most trails on Mt Washington in the summer have others out there hiking too. So, if you are alone there are people who can help each other. Many trails around in the mountains of NH and Maine don't get much foot traffic though. I am not sure I would be off on some of those alone - but, I would love to grab my camera and go. I would not plan as long a hike or day on one of these trails. Maybe it is partly because I know the trails on Mt Washington so well.

I have thought about taking our dog with me as I know he would love it. He needs some tips and hints from Emma before he is willing to join me.

alora7
04-25-2007, 01:38 PM
Unfortunately, being totally honest, as a woman alone I wouldn't feel comfortable with solitary hiking...that is probably a silly notion, and I shouldn't watch the news so much I guess.

However, I do prefer solitude when I am out in nature more than being with other people...I think for me, being alone gives me a chance to "recover" and the ability to refresh my spirit by focusing totally on the elements, sights, sounds, etc. around me without distraction

Mike D
04-25-2007, 02:34 PM
Mount Fuji is the most frequently hiked mountain in the world, or was. A nearby mountain recently overtook it. Riddle me this, Batman: what mountain took over the top spot?

Bill O
04-25-2007, 03:25 PM
Mount Fuji is the most frequently hiked mountain in the world, or was. A nearby mountain recently overtook it. Riddle me this, Batman: what mountain took over the top spot?

I don't want to ruin it for everyone else. Does it start with a Y?

Patrad Fischroy
04-25-2007, 04:26 PM
Bill, your reference to "Y" eludes me. My thought is of a false treeline.

Mike D
04-25-2007, 04:33 PM
No, it doesn't start with "Y". I was completely surprised when I heard which mountain it was. It's located in the same U.S. region as Mount Washington, if that helps.

Bill O
04-25-2007, 05:14 PM
Oh, nearby to Mount Washington. I thought you meant nearby to Mount Fuji. In that case I know what it is. That mountain reigned as number 2 for awhile, but I don't know where those stats come from.

Bill O
04-25-2007, 05:19 PM
Bill, your reference to "Y" eludes me. My thought is of a false treeline.

Mike said nearby, and I thought he meant nearby to Mount Fuji. So I did a search of famous mountains in Japan and honed in on mountains near Fuji. I stumbled across Mount Yari. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Yari)

Rich
04-25-2007, 09:33 PM
"M" and it's #1 now because Fuji completed the auto road to the top.

Steve M
04-25-2007, 10:00 PM
I believe the mountain you are referring to is Mt Monadnock in SW NH. I thought of taking the family there once but again decided that if there were that many people there it would take away from what I am there for- getting away.

KD Talbot
04-25-2007, 10:42 PM
Yeah, and they don't allow dogs, so Judy, Emma and I will probably never climb it.
KDT

Patrad Fischroy
04-26-2007, 08:54 AM
I thought that was the case. The last time I was there, sometime in the 80's, it wasn't bad. I was there with my step-son and a friend of his. I don't recall seeing more than a couple of other people on the trail or at the summit. Of course with it only being a few hours round-trip on the most direct trail, you could put quite a few people on it in a day without it seeming crowded. I also found the false treeline interesting, a relic of burning the top off a few too many times.

Trekker
05-02-2007, 04:19 PM
Hi Folks -
After 38 years of backpacking I can honestly say I LOVE hiking alone. Not that I am antisocial or anything, and have certainly hiked with others many, many times - from groups of close friends that number 10 or 12 to just a couple others. But there is nothing like being totally on your own schedule, and a real feeling of closeness to the earth and surroundings when it's just you. Less of my concentration is taken up with where the others are and how fast or slow I'm going in relation to them - the waiting up at intersections - the snoring at night - and, God forbid, sometimes the foul mood of the unprepared.
I have never felt more alive - more conscious of my immediate surroundings - more totally in tune with the world - than when I am alone. Yes, there are some risks involved in going it alone - the knowledge that if something DOES go wrong it may take 10 times the effort to get yourself out of it without having someone there to help - or to go get help - and I've been on some pretty obscure trails where you know it would be a long time before anyone discovered your broken body. Maybe that's part of the allure - that little bit more adrenaline rush - the excitement of living just a little bit closer to the edge.
I know it's getting rare, these days, to HAVE an opportunity to get out on my own. After getting my nephews quite involved in hiking (they're surpassing me now - on to technical climbing) and finally my own son and his friends - I can't mention the word "backpacking" without several salivating souls sitting by my side wondering where we're all going. They will ALL surpass me some day - they're all so young, healthy and psyched - and I may again be off on my own much slower and measured pace.
Hiking is something that is as wonderful to share with others as it is to hold close to yourself.
So, here's to the love of being in the wilderness - whether it be a solo adventure or one filled with the comraderie of like-minded souls!!

KD Talbot
05-02-2007, 05:44 PM
Awesome post, Trekker. Many here feel the same way. I'm glad you're turning the younger crowd on to it. Not starting until I was 38 I finally realized what was missing in my life. My biggest regret though is not getting my 3 sons involved when they were small. When I started they were mostly beyond the point of wanting to do anything with dad. We spent a lot of good times hiking and camping, but never a "real" mountain and never backpacking. When I was younger and raising them my idea of camping was going to the Kanc, sitting around the fire with a sixpack and swatting mosquitos and blackflies. Nowadays I want to be above treeline and sleeping under the stars, not the trees. I drag my wife and dog along, thankfully they are willing, but when I get the chance there is nothing like going it alone.
KDT

Steve M
05-02-2007, 10:29 PM
As a child I spent a lot of time alone in the woods. I enjoyed it because I felt more focused and centered. It seemed to me I could think things through and work things out. I was an explorer. I loved to bushwhack and just wander to see where I would end up or if I could stumble upon something new. As I got older I still enjoyed being alone at times but enjoyed group hikes as well. As a Boy Scout we hiked quite a bit around CT. When I was 15 I went with a High School group the the Whites for a training/ prep trip as a precursor to a trip to Alaska. We stayed at Lafayette Campground and hiked the Lincoln/Lafayette loop (Old bridal path/Falling waters) the first day and on Washington we hiked the Ammonousic/Crawford/Gulfside/Jewel loop the second day. Boy was I a worn out, butt draggin, hurtin puppy!!! I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!! We had the best weather one could hope for those two days. Partly cloudy and warm with isolated T-storms. As a matter of fact we almost got struck by lightning on the ridge between Lincoln and Lafayette. We were inside the storm and hiding behind any rock we could find. It was great! Most of my hiking these days are with my wife and kids. My oldest (8) loves it and loves to be off with her dad. My son on the other hand (6) still thinks hiking is a chore...especially up hill. Maybe things will be different this year.

Joey Keyz
05-03-2007, 03:25 AM
But there is nothing like being totally on your own schedule, and a real feeling of closeness to the earth and surroundings when it's just you.

I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

I LOVE IT!

rockin rex
05-03-2007, 10:28 AM
In 1986 I hiked the Appalachian Trail end to end SOLO. I really thought I enjoyed hiking solo until I had my kids. Hiking with my kids are some of the greatest experiences I have ever had!! My 14 year old started climbing Washington with me when he was 5 (on his own power) and has climbed with me many times since then. These father son times are INCREDIBLE. A few years ago we did an overnight at Madison and then did Crawford over to Washington. This is a trip we still talk about and is a bond between us that will never be broken. I also have a younger son named Madison ( yes named after Mount Madison) and he has also climbed with us but his summit climb was on my back. I am thinking about bringing Madison with me to Seek The Peak. Hiking solo is nice but nothing beats a nice long summit climb with your kids.