Hiking Solo?

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rightstar76
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Post by rightstar76 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:38 am

pvalovich wrote:You need to like yourself and be comfortable being you...Accept the fact that if you get killed, you get killed but if you break your leg, you're screwed.
So true. The first pointer says it all. Everything else follows from there. The part about breaking your leg reminds me of what happened on the Baxter Pass Trail three weeks ago where a hiker seriously injured his leg and was stuck on a log in the middle of a creek for 36 hours.








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LonePine
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Post by LonePine » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:03 pm

I've never backpacked with anyone mostly because of my age and slow pace. I started backpacking at age 65. Even at that, I've done all the "nasty passes" on the east side, the JMT and an West to East Sierra crossing. I really don't mind being alone. However, getting started on a trip is physiologically difficult for me. Getting in the car and driving, driving to the trail-head in the morning - my stomach is churning and my butt is burning - if you know what I mean. Once the backpack is on and I'm on the trail all is good in the world. WD - I can relate to the voice problem - when all my energy is gone I can hardly talk.

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oleander
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Post by oleander » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:44 pm

I used to have a job where I lived part-time in the USA and part-time in a foreign country. At that time, I made a conscious decision to focus on the positive. When I was at my foreign post, I reveled in the things I loved about that country (rather than letting any negative aspects get me down). When back in the USA, I did likewise, focusing on what I love about living here, rather than on any negative things about it.

That's exactly how I feel about partner vs. solo backpacking. I normally prefer hiking with partners. But if people cancel and it starts to look like it's going to be a solo trip, I get into a mindset where I'm just thoroughly enjoying the things that are great about solo hiking, rather than dwelling on the things that I don't like as much about it.

My very favorite thing about solo hiking is that I can get up at the crack of dawn and start hiking around 6:30 a.m. when the early sunlight is pretty and the air is nice and cool. I dislike starting my hiking day in the heat of 9 a.m. or later. I have many different backpacking buddies but not one single person among them seems to like to get up and start hiking anywhere near as early as I do. So, finding myself solo, I just absolutely revel in the early-morning hiking.

So. Go solo and find out what it is that you might really like about it!

One surprise for me has been that when doing any long hard days on trail, I like to listen to music on my mp3 player. The mp3 player only goes along for solo hikes. It really helps for motivation and pace.

I'll echo what many have said here: When hiking solo, I take fewer chances. There are moves I'd do with a partner that I just refuse to do alone. Also, I carry a Spot beacon. (The Spot comes with me on buddy hikes too, but when I'm solo it's extra-reassuring to have it.)

- Elizabeth

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Re: Hiking Solo?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:54 am

Hey, I too am an early riser! Usually like to be on the trail by 7AM. As the season wears on, and daylight is limited, I get later starts because my night vision is terrible and it actually takes so much longer to get packed up that I do not get much earlier start than simply waiting until dawn. Maybe we ought to plan a trip together!

I agree with the attitude thing. My last trip was a lemon, and I spent every day trying to make lemonade (trip report to soon be done). Although overall the trip was not the best, I focused on the better moments. I ran across a lot of PCT hikers- now those folks really have to stay positive. I picked up three PCT hikers who needed rides, both going to the trailhead and coming out. They are amazingly positive, even after months being out. And on the trail, one fellow who had already made it to Canada and was coming back to do Tahoe to Cottonwood, was postively estatic.

My music thing as at night. One hour of listening to music in the tent does as much to relieve those aches and pains as two Advil. I hesitate to listen to music while walking, because I really depend on hearing to see good wildlife or avoid wildlife (like bears or rattlesnakes). I also find that my balance is off a bit if I cannot fully hear my surroundings.

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Ashery
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Re: Hiking Solo?

Post by Ashery » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:53 pm

oleander wrote: At that time, I made a conscious decision to focus on the positive. When I was at my foreign post, I reveled in the things I loved about that country (rather than letting any negative aspects get me down).
Not always an easy thing to do, unfortunately, as motivation and expectation can get heavily intertwined. Going even further than that, folks can be highly resilient in some respects, but vulnerable in others. In my case, I can take most physical issues in stride (Blisters, GI issues), where they'll impact how I perform, but I won't become miserable or whiny. But social stuff? That's where I've got issues.

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Re: Hiking Solo?

Post by Lumbergh21 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:25 pm

Just got back from a 15 day "solo" trip where I never saw fewer than 3 people in a day. I did modify my itinerary though. Due to an ice field terminating in Lake Italy on the south side of the lake, I chose to turn around and make the miserable hike back to the JMT instead of continuing around the lake and over Italy Pass. If I had been with someone else, I probably would have chanced it, but being by myself, I knew that if I slipped and slid into the lake, I would get me and my equipment wet with a strong possibility of freezing to death. Not worth the risk. However, it did not ruin my hike as it forced me down to the JMT, and I met a very nice family at MTR while topping off my bear canister out of the hiker buckets. I think that I will start doing this on all of my trips to the Sierra, no set itinerary, just a suggestion and a general area that I will be hiking. Being by myself, I have the freedom to go where I want, when I want, at the pace that I want.

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Re: Hiking Solo?

Post by steiny98 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:01 pm

A friend joined me for my trip (TR coming soon), but I am intent on trying a solo hike next season. Thanks for all the advice, this is a great thread.

Lumbergh21- I crossed the Lake Italy snowfield you referenced coming down from Italy Pass on August 29th heading into Bear Lakes Basin. This is definitely something I would not have attempted alone, as that was at least a ten foot drop into the lake. Good choice.

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Re: Hiking Solo?

Post by sekihiker » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:13 pm

pvalovich wrote:I've been going into the Sierra for 29 years on 14 - 17 day loops - always solo. I'm 74 and still wouldn't do it any other way. I always have a rough plan but no firm agenda and no clue - just go where I want and experience what tickles my fancy on any particular day. Wonderful sense of freedom.........
Just do it - you'll like it.
Well said and thanks.

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Re: Hiking Solo?

Post by SweetSierra » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:06 pm

I've enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts. I've backpacked in the Sierra and other mountain, coastal, and desert regions for over 40 years. I began backpacking with the Sierra Club in small, local chapter groups, often with people I didn't know but with leaders that I came to know well. I did my first solo hike about 20 years ago in coastal California. I've only gone solo about seven or eight times, the last a month ago. I realized that if I want to backpack (and I do, I always do, I love it as much as I did on my first trip to Sunrise Lakes in Yosemite with my brother when I was 17), I'd like to be comfortable going alone. Because I've so often traveled with others, it was different at first. I love to get up early too, and it's wonderful to enjoy the beauty and silence of the morning. What helped me was reminding myself of how experienced I was and that there were few things in the wilderness I hadn't faced. Backpacking is generally a slow, deliberate thing, and there's plenty of time to consider what you should do or want to do when you're out there. Dangerous situations can be avoided (with the exception of lightning, but I agree with the post above that there's nothing for that but luck and if possible, a small grove of trees) :) I also enjoy books when solo.

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Re: Hiking Solo?

Post by Lumbergh21 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:58 pm

steiny98 wrote:A friend joined me for my trip (TR coming soon), but I am intent on trying a solo hike next season. Thanks for all the advice, this is a great thread.

Lumbergh21- I crossed the Lake Italy snowfield you referenced coming down from Italy Pass on August 29th heading into Bear Lakes Basin. This is definitely something I would not have attempted alone, as that was at least a ten foot drop into the lake. Good choice.
I was there on August 19/20 and met a father and his two sons headed up there the morning of the 20th. I told them about the ice field and showed them a couple of pics that I took of it. I think they decided to go for it. The sons definitely wanted to, and they all had micro spikes, so not nearly as risky for them as it would have been for me.

I will have a way too long TR coming soon.

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