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Backpacking as moving through places versus setting up camp


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Home Forums General Forums Philosophy & Technique Backpacking as moving through places versus setting up camp

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 43 total)
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  • #3696338
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    Hike 10+ miles a day, set up shelter for the night, get up and hike again- repeat for however many days you’re out.
    or

    Hike in to a spot, set up camp for a few days, hike out.

    Do you do both or mostly the first, taking in as much beautiful terrain as you can during the one outing? Do you like setting up a base camp and hiking around the area and then come back to it, especially if near water? Is this more of a family with kids type of outing for you?

    I am just curious. We have done a few trips in the Trinity alps where we get to a lake and stay a couple of days; it was both really nice ( especially in my hammock…) but we could also feel a bit restless, as if we should be going further and covering more terrain.

    #3696344
    HkNewman
    BPL Member

    @hknewman

    Locale: Western US

    I’ve been more of a hike on through type from shorter to way longer trips, but should stop more.    I can see the potential of base-camping, though for side trips I’d want to carry storm layers (been caught out in too many blue sky sunny days that turned to deluges).

    #3696345
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    I was talking with a friend about two styles of walkers: those like her who want to stop all the time and examine every little flower, maybe do a brief dance or meditation, then take a few more steps and repeat; and those like me who want to observantly move through space. these two types really shouldn’t hike together.

    My favorite trips tend to be ones where I plan a day to day hike out of a camp. It’s a pleasure to walk through mountains without the weight of a full pack on. Then it’s back to covering miles.

    For day trips I’ll simply wrap my rain jacket around my waist and use my 2 ounce fanny pack to carry a water bottle, steripen and lunch.

    I’m hardly a monster mileage hiker though. that means that I will set up my tent fairly early in the afternoon. When I was younger I would then explore the environs. As I aged I tended to read in my tent and then have dinner. I usually hike alone and the long hours of camp can become tedious.

    #3696346
    matthew k
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    I’ve never set up a base camp. It doesn’t appeal to me but I feel like I should try it at some point.

    I like the feeling of moving through the backcountry navigating to a destination on a path that is unknown to me. I avoid out and back routes. Loops are better. Hiking from one car to another is the best.

    Tangential but I like to wander all day. I sometimes feel like I am searching for the next beautiful place to enjoy a snack. Backpacking as progressive picnic.

    #3696350
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    if it’s raining I like a basecamp

    if my tent is set up, it doesn’t make that much difference if it’s raining

    setting up and packing when it’s raining is not optimum

    depending on the spot, sometimes a basecamp is good.  If there are a number of hikes in different directions.  If I’m already at a prime spot there’s no reason to move.  Walking up and down the beach is different each time – tides, animals,…, no reason to change camp spot

    #3696357
    Dondo .
    BPL Member

    @dondo

    Locale: Colorado Rockies

    Walking up and down the beach is different each time – tides, animals,…, no reason to change camp spot

    True that.  Reminds me of that saying by Heraclitus: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

    Having said that, I mostly like to hike to a different spot to bed down the next night.  There’s something about the feeling of a journey or pilgrimage that appeals to me.

     

    #3696358
    Rex Sanders
    BPL Member

    @rex

    Locale: California

    Agree with most of what @matthewkphx says, except I enjoy returning to some places & trails after a few years.

    I’ve backpacked roughly the same 100-mile loop through the Santa Cruz Mountains about 4-5 times over 20 years, after doing bits and pieces for a while before that. Henry Coe State Park is nearby and never crowded more than a few miles from headquarters. I keep going back to Point Reyes National Seashore because I’ve fallen in love with it. Proximity counts for a lot.

    Like Matthew, I (almost) never base camp while backpacking. That’s what other trips are for. Plus, some of my favorite sites limit stays to 1 or 2 nights. Kinda puts a crimp on base camping.

    You should do what you like. Lots of options.

    — Rex

    PS After the 2020 wildfires, might be more than a few years before I repeat those trips :-(

    #3696359
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    Thanks for everyone’s input. I like to keep moving as well but would like to try something different now and then, partly because I now have more of a camp shelter, with the option of bringing the stove, partly because it’s a way of getting Chris to come with me and since his work is so rough and 14+ hours a day I think getting somewhere beautiful and enjoying it for a couple of days is more likely to happen than trying to conquer miles .

    #3696360
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    As far as the fires I see beauty in burned landscapes as well.

    #3696362
    Rex Sanders
    BPL Member

    @rex

    Locale: California

    I don’t mind hiking through burn scars, but land managers often have other opinions :-(

    #3696364
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    I also think that the moving mentality is more of mindset here than with backpackers at large. We often come across people with heavier gear just hanging out by a lake having a good time. It’s different and I like the idea of being able to do both. Something about stretching on a piece of granite over a lake when the sun comes up to warm your shoulders…but it’s also about finding comfort in being without the next goal to propel one forward.

    #3696366
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    @rex well the “land managers” that closed up the area here are the same agency that prevented Calfire from putting out the Waddell wildfire that ended up burning all our homes. I don’t give a flying f what they ( the ones right here) want.

    ps. We are not supposed to walk up the hill but they drove up in the storm, got stuck and made a muddy mess and we had to get them out with the tractor. Their common sense was dismal.

    #3696370
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    yeah, fires can be good.  Opens up the view.  In some areas, fires are reoccurring so it’s natural.  Different plants will grow up in burned areas which can be good for animals.  In the wild that is.

     

    #3696378
    Kelly G
    BPL Member

    @kellydt

    I do both, and enjoy both. A friend prefers base camp, and we do that frequently. When solo, I enjoy loop trails.

     

    I frequently will repeat backpacks each season but make a point of going the other direction. Changes the view.

    Kelly

    #3696379
    Kelly G
    BPL Member

    @kellydt

    I do both, and enjoy both. A friend prefers base camp, and we do that frequently. When solo, I enjoy loop trails.

     

    I often will repeat backpacks each season but make a point of going the other direction. Changes the view.

    Kelly

    #3696380
    rubmybelly!
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    Generally I like moving camp each day. I’ve never really liked base camping, but only because of my (generally silly) fear of someone stealing my stuff. I did base camp with Jerry once in ONP and enjoyed that weekend, so I’m not always opposed.

    I think I’d enjoy moving camp for the first two days to get deeper into the backcountry, and then base camp to really explore a fabulous area once there.

    #3696384
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    I like the idea of doing the route in the opposite direction; it’s amazing how different a landscape can look from another perspective. I also like the idea of hiking in a couple days’ worth to get deeper into the mountains and then stay a bit there.

    #3696395
    Tom K
    BPL Member

    @tom-kirchneraol-com-2

    “Do you do both or mostly the first, taking in as much beautiful terrain as you can during the one outing? Do you like setting up a base camp and hiking around the area and then come back to it, especially if near water?”

    I’ve done a lot of both down through the years, and there is definitely place for both approaches for me.  That said, by far the majority of my trips, somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 and counting, have been base camping combined with day hiking to explore two adjacent 15′ quadrangles of the Southern Sierra, the region comprising the Kern and Kaweah Basins.  Early on I found the area so enchanting that I made it a lifelong project to get to know every nook and cranny, every stream and rivulet up to the source of every stream that comprises the Kern River watershed.  It has been an immensely satisfying labor of love, occasionally punctuated by interesting off trail routes in areas further north in the Sierra, and up here in the Cascades.  I see it as analogous to the 45 year, and counting, journey of mutual exploration I have shared with my wife.  Metaphorically put, the choice between getting to know one woman really well, or many women less well.  Obviously, there is room for both, but this has been my journey.  Moments of challenge, disappointment, even heartbreak, moments of sublime beauty and self knowledge.  Worth every second and bead of sweat;  no regrets in hindsight.

    “Is this more of a family with kids type of outing for you?”

    I haven’t seen any families back in there, but it would be a great venue to introduce kids to the Sierra if they could make it into the area.

    #3696398
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    I have friends who will set up a base camp and thoroughly explore an area. They do a bunch of ornithology and botany, read, do day hikes, and cogitate. They become locals. Then they move camp and repeat.

    I’m utterly envious of their contemplative, unhurried style because I am an inveterate backcountry spaz. I’m up early, hardly take a break all day, and avoid stopping until I’m near collapse because my greatest fear is being bored around camp. But hey, I do see a lot of beautiful county, lol. (Proof)

    #3696400
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    The first time I visit an area, I am a bit uncomfortable. I prefer several trips to the same area, with variations.  Thats just me.

    I’ll do a similar trip each year to the same area.

    I would just as soon do an out and back.  If you do a long loop, and then find the route blocked you’ll be tempted to continue even if unwise.  Although something like a loop around mt hood in the summer is a known quantity, I feel fine about that.  Lots of bailouts if needed

    #3696401
    PaulW
    BPL Member

    @peweg8

    Locale: Western Colorado

    I love moving through the landscape, so I’m in the first group. If I had the physical stamina, I don’t think I’d ever stop, even at night. There always seems to be something over that next hill, or around the next bend, that is calling me.

    #3696403
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    I have a collection of trails that I’ve hiked many times over the years. some of this is because of ease of access (tuoloumne meadows/Bridgeport is close enough that I can drive up, get a permit and be out on the trail in one day). Some is because of season–an early season trip that entails snow, so I like being familiar with the route. Some is my fear of being disappointed with a new trail. some is time constraints: if I only have six days I don’t want to spend two travelling.

    I’ve hiked a lot of different trails over the years in different states. But my work allowed me to take numerous 5-6 day trips over a season. I’v[e never gotten tired of my collection of trips. Always different.

    and yes, if I take a day trip it’s always after hiking in for two days minimum and often off trail or into snow.

    #3696433
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    I appreciate the different takes here, particularly Tom’s on really getting to know an area versus getting little tastes of many places.

    I look forward to getting out again; when I am done with school I will have time, now that my sewing business is gone as are my wildlife presentations.

    #3696437
    Rex Sanders
    BPL Member

    @rex

    Locale: California

    I think of repeated trips through the same park or region as getting to know an area, too. Sometimes I’ll hike a loop in the other direction, or try different seasons, or take a different route to visit parts I haven’t seen before.

    And I can see the value of staying put while day-hike exploring.

    “Different strokes for different folks.”

    YouTube video

    — Rex

    #3696490
    matthew k
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    Clarification: I like returning to places, just not on the same trip. It is very interesting to see the differences in seasons and weather conditions. Some trails become familiar like an old friend and I don’t mind that at all. If just rather keep loving forward during the current trip. We spend so much of our lives in (what seems like) controlled conditions – the unknown is fun!

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