Mar 2, 2014 at 12:56 pm #1313936
@bolsterLocale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
When solo, I spend a surprising lot of time in my tent, under my quilt, because I tend to head there when it's dark and getting cool. I don't carry loads of sit-in-camp warm gear so the quilt is king when I get chilly. Frankly I run out of things to do when the sun goes down. Sundown to sunup can be 12 hours, and I'm impatiently waiting for the sun to get up so I can have some fun.
Writing in my journal helps, but occupies maybe a half-hour. (And notebooks are freaking heavy, have you noticed?) What do you do with your solo downtime? I don't want to start bringing a Kindle, I really don't, but…I need more dark-time, down-time solo activities.Mar 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm #2078696
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
Not trying to be smart, but might be worth trying a trip carrying some insulated clothing so you can sit outside and enjoy the evening.
Sitting down watching the stars can take up a lof of time.Mar 2, 2014 at 1:10 pm #2078697
That would drive me nuts. I would just keep trekking with a headlamp.Mar 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm #2078701
@cameronLocale: The WOODS
I get bored on solo trips too. Sometimes I read but normally I just hike into the dark. I try to time my night hiking so I'm not missing anything especially scenic. After about an hour in the dark I'm pretty sleepy. By the time I set up camp I'm ready to go to bed and sleep.Mar 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm #2078702
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
+1, Stephen. It's very easy to get lost in contemplation, provided you aren't uncomfortably chilled.Mar 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm #2078710
Hike, sleep. Wake up and repeat. Don't want to do the extra miles, adjust your schedule during the day.Mar 2, 2014 at 1:51 pm #2078712
I recommend some good podcasts (and/or music) on an Ipod shuffle. Oh, and scotch.Mar 2, 2014 at 2:04 pm #2078718
What tent?Mar 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm #2078720
listen to radio or mp3 files – Sansa Clip is $30 and 1 ounce
if I wear an insulated jacket or vest I can stay warm, then wear it inside sleeping bagMar 2, 2014 at 2:10 pm #2078722
You guys are serious hiking machines. I try to get to the campsite by late afternoon, so I have time to set up camp, treat the water, and score the night's firewood. From then until dark, I wander around the area, checking everything out–animal signs, neighborhood geysers and fumeroles in Yellowstone, and incredible views in Glacier or Colorado. Maybe there's a good sunset to watch. Then there is the important business of playing with the fire while sipping Wild Turkey. I like to eat late, so that I have a full supply of calories to last the night. I'll watch a few stars until the drowsies hit, and I sleep well.Mar 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm #2078725
same here Gary, I don't mind finding a spot a couple hours before sunset, or even three, and investigate
but it depends, sometimes I'm more into hiking some distanceMar 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm #2078739
"…checking everything out–animal signs, neighborhood geysers and fumeroles…"
A geezer checking out the geysers, I like that….Mar 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm #2078741
@bolsterLocale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
At least you guys have fires to look at. I can't remember the last time here in the southland that a fire was allowed anywhere you'd want to hike.
I'm thinking the podcast idea will work for me.Mar 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm #2078745
Sansa Clip is cheap and light. Apple products are expensive (sometimes you get what you pay for?).
Sansa holds maybe 200 hours but the battery only lasts for 50 hours. I got a lipstick battery to recharge, from amazon.com, maybe $10, 2.5 ounces, good for another 100 hours?
You can download any music from CDs or your PC
(are CDs like 8 track tapes?)
http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks has free audio books. Mostly older ones that are past copywrite. They have links to other free mp3 files like online courses.Mar 2, 2014 at 3:37 pm #2078750
@glenn64Locale: Snowhere, MN
I can't remember the movie, I was just a kid when i saw it… Some old classic I'm sure, something with Steve McQueen in it. It was a prison camp movie. The question was posed about how to keep your sanity when locked away in isolation.
He said he used to spend a lot of timing working on his motorcycle, so in his mind he'd take it apart and put it back together… bolt by bolt. I'm an only child, I was a single parent. My sanity is still intact (that's what my voices tell me ;) ) because I'll never forget that movie line. I don't take apart motorcycles, but the concept is the same. It works in the woods just as well.
I guess if a person can't find something to do in their own head, then more "stuff" is the answer. Lots of threads on using a smartphone as a do-it-all device for podcasts, kindle, games, movies, etc… Could carry a ton of batteries for the weight of a kindle I'd think.
I'd rather stay up late, than get up early, when it's dark, cold and wet and I'm hungry and thirsty and have to pee… I'm not a good morning person.Mar 2, 2014 at 3:44 pm #2078753
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
The Great Escape :-)Mar 2, 2014 at 3:46 pm #2078755
MP3 player with audio books on it. And extra batteries for more than a couple days. And you can have music on it also.Mar 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm #2078762
Geyser Geezers 'R' Us, Dougie. Want to hike with me to the Shoshoni geyser basin in YNP next summer? You know, pester the wildlife and other hikers, burn wood, sip whiskey and talk smart, and project The Rocky Horror Picture Show onto the side of your cuben shelter? Oh, and there are all those geysers to play with, you geezer…Mar 2, 2014 at 4:07 pm #2078764
@bookLocale: Northern California
I used to bring one good pocket book. Now, I've splurged and bring the cheapest Kindle–which is also the lightest. Great because you can have a ton of reading options. So I have no boring hours. In fact I look forward to reading time.Mar 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm #2078767
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Readin', writin' and radio. Looking forward to some evening fishing this summer.Mar 2, 2014 at 4:24 pm #2078769
Glenn brings up a good point. When do you usually arise Delmar? Sleep in or O' crack thirty?
I am a morning person. I like to get up and go.Mar 2, 2014 at 4:42 pm #2078773
@germantouristLocale: in my tent
I have just finished a 5 months long solo fall and winter trip and I know the problem very well.
First of all let me tell you that reading is not the perfect solution in winter because you have to hold your book or Kindle somehow. And your fingers will start freezing after a while even with gloves on. Listening to audiobooks or music is a better option but I usually do that during the day when hiking.
At night before I go to sleep I think. Yes, I just think – about the day, the good and the bad, the next day, my next plans and about whatever philosophical question I have come across. I often listen to historical documents or classical audiobooks and I like to contemplate their content in the evening. Actually one of the reasons why I continue hiking long distance is to have a lot of time for contemplation.
I guess that in our modern society we are not used any more to contemplation. We are continuously entertained by TV, radio, ads etc and are not used any more to being alone. Without an outside stimulus we feel bored. Why not enjoy your own company, your own thoughts? I enjoy the solitude of solo hiking because it frees up the space and time for thinking. Don't be bored – enjoy this freedom that the outdoors can give you.Mar 2, 2014 at 4:47 pm #2078774
Something that I love to bring is a small stargazing guide.
Although it is relatively "heavy", I find that the guide it super helpful in studying the constellations and stars.
The a lightweight alternative to this would be any of those star gazing apps on a smart phone.Mar 2, 2014 at 4:54 pm #2078778
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Mostly sleep since I'm an early riser and coffee addict, usually just before dawn. After dinner, I will look at maps, do some journal writing (mostly electronic nowadays), and edit some pictures ….but getting a good night sleep is a priority.Mar 2, 2014 at 5:46 pm #2078797
When I started backpacking later into fall and earlier in the spring, I did some planning about what things I might do during the long nights. Tore out some crossword puzzles from the newspaper, brought a book, made sure I had a pen to write in a journal, etc. Even when I started going in January, never ended up using any of them, or even finding a time to write more than a few words during any of my trips.
Things would almost certainly have turned out differently if I'd run into any seriously bad weather at the same time that it was really dark, but even in winter, I'm usually not spending long hours in the tent. Even if I don't hike too much after dark, I'm usually ready to go to sleep pretty soon after I've eaten and set up camp, and when I've slept enough, I get up and hit the trail, often before dawn. If I don't need all the hours to get where I'd like to be, that just gives me more time for doing fun stuff during the warm and well lit part of the day.
One of these days, it probably won't turn out that way, and it'll be fine. Maybe I'll write, or maybe I'll just do nothing for a little while. :)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.