May 2, 2008 at 10:53 am #1228726
@gewhiteLocale: WA State
Searching back I have found this has not been discussed in a while. My little poll question is how far/long are you folks comfortable hiking solo. To get the ball rolling I would say 10 miles out/for 3 days.May 2, 2008 at 11:21 am #1431272
@quoddyLocale: New York/Vermont Border
I haven't reached that point yet. I'm certainly comfortable in going for over a week and well over 100 miles in solo mode. I have to resupply or I might sometimes never see anyone when I hike. It's rare when I plan to hike with someone else. Last week and once in February were the only times since last August when I had company… and those were short, overnight, hikes. I'm heading out to the Colorado trail later this year, after re-doing most or all of the Long Trail, and I am looking forward to the solitude.May 2, 2008 at 11:36 am #1431274
@cooldripLocale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
I personally do the majority of my backpacking solo; in fact it's a big part of the reason I backpack (to be alone) and also why I get out so often (don't have to coordinate with others on trip plans, etc.).
How far depends on where I am. Living in the southeast, it wouldn't bother me to go out for a couple weeks or more. It's pretty much impossible to be more than a day's hike away from a road, and chances are you'll see someone in the backcountry if you need help. In fact, I'd say in most places in the east you'd have a hard time getting out of rescue whistle range, except maybe in winter; there's probably someone close enough to hear it, whether you know it or not!
Other places I've hiked aren't quite so populated; places like Dark Canyon, or the eastern side of the Wind Rivers, etc. I usually limit my trips in places like that to 5 days. I think I can survive 4-5 days if I have an accident, and after that, I know someone is looking for me! With a PLB, I'd be willing to travel further, and for a longer time, in desolate places like this.
Anyone know where I can get a good deal on a PLB? ;)May 2, 2008 at 11:59 am #1431278
I suppose it depends on how you define solo hiking.
1. Is it that you will most likely not see any one for x amount of time?
2. Is it that you are hiking by yourself and may meet people along the trail?
I often hike for several days or more and may meet people along the trail, but my aim is to spend my time in the evenings enjoying the experience of the location.
Having spent many nights on the AT in the off season, I have found that it is possible to hike solo even on well used trails.May 2, 2008 at 12:48 pm #1431285
@gewhiteLocale: WA State
Yea I suppose I ought to clarify 10 miles from trailhead of course it depends on terrain and the 3 days comes from not being able to escape the real world for much longer than that job etc…May 2, 2008 at 3:27 pm #1431314
My multi-day hikes are typically solo, seeing only unknown people (if any) on the trail, while my overnighters typically involve one or more friends. I think this is just due to how easy it is to set up an overnighter. Everyone can get away for a night whereas a 5 day trip requires more planning and perhaps sacrifice of vacation days.
I'm not a high mileage guy, but I do walk for long periods…just slowly. Distance can vary drastically due to terrain (I spent 7 hours travelling 4 miles this winter), but I would think 8-12 miles would be my average summer day.
Solo is fun. I enjoy not seeing people for days. It's "wierd"…a good feeling, can't explain it – but I like it. Knowing no one is around within a few days walking…yeah, I'm weird too!May 2, 2008 at 3:57 pm #1431321
@conductorLocale: Sierra Nevada
The longest I've been so far is 66 mi/3 days, and it only makes me want more! I'm very comfortable being alone, and no one has to suffer from my singing!May 2, 2008 at 4:14 pm #1431322
I did my first last summer in the southern Wind Rivers. I intended to be out there for 6 days, but since I was alone, I tended to just keep on walking, and finished it in 4 1/2.
I hope to get better, to take more time, because going solo is about the only way I'm going to get out there. I teach, so have time in the summer. My wife, friends, all work. So I'll continue to take my girls out there, but more and more of my hiking will be solo.
I'm headed back to the NE Winds in late June for a solo 60 mile thu-hike. I'm packing already!
Cooldrip, I feel your pain on the PLB. I finally broke down and ordered one this week. Backcountry.com had a 20% off coupon the didn't exclude PLB's like REI does.May 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm #1431324
@idahomtmanLocale: Northern Idaho
Now that my boys are grown and have left for other adventures, all my backpacking is solo. I did the JMT solo in 2005 in 9.5 days. When I'm alone I find I can really put out the miles. I enjoy visiting with people and have shared a few meals and camped with those I've met but I'm usually packed up and gone before they ever rise. My weekend trips are also solo and well beyond 10 miles from the roadhead.
This summer I'm doing the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier solo at the end of July. I'm hopeful to get to the LT in a year or two for a thru-hike. I've never hiked in the east. I enjoy other hiker's company and would prefer to find a compatible hiking partner but so far that hasn't happened.May 2, 2008 at 4:48 pm #1431328
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
As I get older and more and more of my friends are taking care of responsiblities, I find that this just might be the only way that I will do trips that I have wanted to do. I have found out that when I day hike, I tend to hike more. Wondering if that would translate in solo backpackingMay 2, 2008 at 4:53 pm #1431331
@dondoLocale: Colorado Rockies
Though I occasionally hike with others, most of my hikes are solo. I find that I get those moments of connection with nature more often when I'm alone. How long? Right now, I would say indefinitely. Whenever a trip ends, I'm hungry for more.May 2, 2008 at 6:25 pm #1431342
@dsmontgomeryLocale: one snowball away from big trouble
Another solo soul here. My longest trip solo or otherwise was a 5 day, 125 mi. river trip last spring and I'm about to hike the 70 mi. Laurel Highlands Trail next week. Originally, I started going solo because of how hard it was to fit trips into multiple schedules, but I now enjoy the solitude in for its own sake – I thoroughly relish going all "Walden Pond" every once in a while. Living here in the East, I'm never that remote from help in one way or another, so safety has never really been a concern of mine. My fiance on the other hand…
Having said that – I'm not an absolute hermit and love company when I can convince my friends, who generally think I'm crazy, to come along too.May 3, 2008 at 9:41 am #1431406
@rinconLocale: Desert Southwest
Almost all of my hiking is solo; I prefer it that way. The longest I have been out solo is about 20 days when I hiked the John Muir Trail in 1954. I plan to attempt a repeat this summer, also solo. I am leaving tomorrow for a solo 5-day loop in the Grand Canyon.
It is not that I don't like people but I am a bit introverted and definitely internalized thus I much prefer not to have to react to people around me on any steady basis. Also, there are relatively few individuals my age who prefer hiking over golf or TV. Moreover, I find that I don't have much in common, and certainly have few shared experiences, with younger people.May 3, 2008 at 1:10 pm #1431440
@creachenLocale: East Bay
I would choose people over going solo-but friends are not always into it like me- So I must go no matter what. Hiking solo is a great thing. ME time!! I did the JMT in 2006 solo, but I saw people every day and camped with people all of 16 days. The older we get the harder it gets to camp with friends and family. Work, kids, wifes,etc,etc. I get out when ever possible. Bring a good book or a Ipod.May 5, 2008 at 11:21 am #1431701
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
For me personally I almost exclusively do solo trips. My very first backpacking trip was solo but I shared a campsite with some other hikers. I have only been on four trips with other people.
Typically I'm on trails where I will cross paths with other hikers. These encounters typically only last a minute or two and happen a few times a day. The longest I have gone without encountering another person is only three days. Around 70% of the time I wind up camping alone but I don't mind sharing a site with someone.
Over the last four years of solo backpacking the longest I've been out solo is a ten day, 235 mile trip. Typically my trips are in the 2-3 day range and cover 30-50 miles.. I have found that these solo trips allow me to become much more self reliant, especially with my diabetes.May 5, 2008 at 11:40 am #1431702
.May 6, 2008 at 9:22 am #1431845
@deadogdancingLocale: SW England
I go alone, but am happy to meet people. My friends are not the same kind of odd, and also the company of strangers is liberating. My knees usually stop me before loneliness or safety worries do-the feeling of solitude or the freedom of loose association just gets better and better!May 6, 2008 at 4:30 pm #1431924
@geophagousLocale: Pacific North West
I also love to solo and don't have many friends, let alone any who want to go hiking in the woods.
I really like the alone time, and at the end I am usually very happy to be back with my wife and son. That said often when out hiking I wil see something and immediately think "wish wife or son was here" as it is so cool I would love to share.
I bit the bullet on a PLB just because I sometimes go off trail, and someone may not happen upon my broken body in time to save it.May 9, 2008 at 10:01 am #1432414
@pyeyoLocale: pacific northwest
Since the passing of my partner in 96 I've been solo. Now responsible to a family I have not gone down the path of a PLBs, I also have not told them they exist. I do provide life insurance coverage.
I typically push fast to a remote cirque and spend my time nicking off peaks. I have no problem turning back from weather or daylight or skill level. If anything the fast and lighter equipment available has allowed me an increased level of safety.
These trips are deeply personal experiences to me that at this point in my life I cannot share. We all need to define our mortality, we all need to recognize the abyss. I have left instruction that a S&R is not to be triggered.
This life we live turns on a dime, my life, my dime.May 9, 2008 at 5:04 pm #1432473
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Amen!May 15, 2008 at 12:40 pm #1433436
I am looking forward to doing more solo stuff as my friends' ideal hikes and/or personal schedules just don't allow for much. I'm fiddling with the idea of doing the JMT or part of the Sierra High Route but my problem is I wouldn't want to have an experience that significant without being able to share it with my wife. Getting the kind of time off for both of us to do that kind of hiking is proving to be a very tough problem.May 15, 2008 at 4:50 pm #1433471
I'm almost exclusively solo now. At first it was due to a lack of partners/scheduling problems, etc….I then reached a point in my life where I realized I wasn't going to wait on other people to help me do what I want to do; so solo it is.
I now feel more weird about the prospect of trekking with someone; nothing against people, but I've really come to love being alone in the mountains as well as the simplicity of planning for one. I feel being solo heightens my experiences- I pay more attention to what's around me.May 18, 2008 at 1:00 pm #1433789
@hammer-oneLocale: Walking With The Son
For me it isn't how long/far I can go solo, but how long/far can I hike with a partner. I'm not anti social, but after about 2 days I need to hike alone. I much prefer the freedom of solo hiking and setting my own schedule, challenges, etc.Jun 3, 2008 at 9:34 pm #1436456
Things changed for me after the kids came along. I sold the motorcycle and started paying more attention to risk. In my youth I would sometimes tell my folks the trailhead, planned start/finish dates, and when to call S&R. I'd do sketchy stuff off trail.
After an 8 year hiatus, this year I wanted to get back into backpacking with something personally challenging but not likely to risk life. So I'm hiking the John Muir instead of a less traveled route. Even though I'll be hiking solo as long as I'm within earshot of the trail I'm not far from help. It's a solo trip but I don't expect too much solitude unless I step off the trail.
I do remember fondly those times where I tramped for days without seeing a soul. Maybe next year I'll go more off the beaten track and carry a PLB.Jul 2, 2008 at 7:18 pm #1441278
@rmkrauseLocale: Pacific Northwest
I too greatly enjoy solo – greatly heightens the experience. As a group it seems most of the time it's take too many pictures and way too much talking and the experience takes a back seat. Some of my most relaxed nights I can remember were camping by myself too, the sound of the trees rustling in the wind is just awesome.
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