Earlier I wrote on this thread about not experiencing much in the way of loneliness when solo. That has now changed. Due to the series of late season storms last May, Hobbes and I bailed on our original plan to go from Taboose to OV. I decided I would go solo over Kearsarge and camp in the area, then head North to the creek and fish/explore.
The day after Memorial Day, I found OV empty, so I chose the best site I could find. It was drizzling from time to time, so I spent some time at camp and some time in my truck. I didn't set up a tent, rather chose to wait to see what the weather was going to do. I would rather sleep in the truck than pack up a wet tent if I didn't have to. There was a long window with no drizzle, so I started a fire and ate dinner. No matter what I did, I could not get that fire to keep a flame. It ended up smoldering and smoking me out all afternoon, so I got in my truck and read (80 pages in one shot), then called it a night and slept in the truck.
The next morning, something was off. I just couldn't get my head into starting up the trail, so I headed down to Independence and caught the cafe as soon as it opened. I had a very nice breakfast and several cups of Joe, then headed back up to the TH, secured my pack and started up trail. The idea of spending the next 3 or 4 days alone began to creep up on me and try as I may to shake it off, something kept pulling me back to the truck. I stopped on the trail, looked up, looked down several times. Then I sat and decided I needed to make a decision because this force up and pull down was not fun.
I never got far enough up the trail to lose sight of my truck. After sitting for several minutes, I stood up and walked down. This feeling was so powerful that I blew off a whole trip. I thought about shacking up in Bishop and fishing the big rivers (after all, I'm in trout mecca), but I would still be alone, the pull was now for home. I texted my wife and told her I was aborting.
I spent my whole single life doing things by myself because it was either do it alone or not at all. Not this time. Maybe I'm done with playing alone. Perhaps it was just a combination of factors that led to an isolated incident. Maybe the feeling would have passed, maybe not. I don't know, but I do know the feeling sucked and I do not regret bailing.
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How do you prepare for the rigorous physical requirements of high elevation adventure? Strength and endurance are key, but are only part of a more complex equation. How do you prepare for changes in altitude, exposure, diet, etc.? How do you mentally prepare? Learn from others and share what you know about training in advance for outdoor adventures.
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