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Tips for backpacking solo

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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby maverick » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:29 am

Hi Ssdivot,

Welcome to HST! Thank you for sharing your experience here on HST, and hope you
will post some TR's about you adventure to the Sierra and beyond in the future!
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org



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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby SSSdave » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:07 am

Fear out in the wilderness at night while being alone is almost always the ancient instinctual fear humans have of dangerous wild animals. Some who have never been out so may laugh but none of your ancestors would. Some of the most aggressive macho types back in their urban civilized world when out for the first time at night alone in a wilderness are reduced to paranoid sleepless quivering cowards.

Note if a person goes solo but then sets up camp within earshot of where others are camping, especially at popular destinations, it is hardly going solo psychologically. Likewise if one brings along their dog. Advice would be to start out on a real solo trip in wilderness areas where bears or mountain lions are unlikely of which there are many destinations. That way you will have to face the innate fear humans have out in the wild at night alone while knowing there really isn't anything to be afraid of in the way dangerous creatures except for saber-toothed chipmunks.
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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby rlown » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:14 am

SSSdave wrote:That way you will have to face the innate fear humans have out in the wild at night alone while knowing there really isn't anything to be afraid of in the way dangerous creatures except for saber-toothed chipmunks.


And Sasquatch.. :paranoid:
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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby ssdivot » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:14 am

rlown wrote:And Sasquatch..



That's pretty funny because right after my 1st trip in the Caribou wilderness, when I got irrationally terrified at night, I somehow found this article about a smokejumper who saw something in the same wilderness area.

http://www.bigfootencounters.com/stories/redcinder.htm

I was :eek: :eek: :eek:
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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby jessegooddog » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:20 am

But Sasquatch lives in Washington,right? - so we are safe!! I guess I am not truly solo with my dog, but he's my good buddy and it would be mean to leave him at home (plus I would have to hire a dog sitter). And I have finally convinced a few family members that he will keep away those bears that circle the camp at night....ha ha. I do wonder, tho, if I were stupid or careless enough to leave food right outside the tent if a bear would be put off by his scent.
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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby longri » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:34 am

I'm glad I'm not the only one subject to this.

Camping with someone else I have no fear of night sounds, at least not in the Sierra. There's virtually nothing to worry about. But when I camp alone, and I have done plenty of this, I sometimes get spooked by noises. I know I'm being irrational but the fear is still there. It really pisses me off that I can't control this with my thinking brain.
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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby neil d » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:19 pm

Cool thread, with lots of feelings!

I've done a bit of solo-ing, and also enjoy it for all the reasons stated here. My only contribution, alluded to by others is that tiny critters can make A LOT of noise at night. Not to mention megafauna like deer, racoons, marmots, etc.

It really is amazing how loud animals can be just going about their business. Just something to keep in mind when you wake up in the night.
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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby sparky » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:59 pm

I am turning this in a new direction, but twice I have been scared while backpacking with another person. One, I had an episode of sleep paralysis and there were these evil glowing neon squares....lol....another time strange flying beeping noises buzzing by the tent sent us packing
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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby rlown » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:50 pm

sparky wrote:another time strange flying beeping noises buzzing by the tent sent us packing


That was Sasquatch with an ipod circling your tent and his headphones were turned up to loud. I think they like punk rock.

Besides that fun discussion, lets talk freedom vs. responsibility. some tout Solo as a way to detach and get in touch with "self" so to say. The recent deaths or missing were mostly solo. Snowy got off lucky but did have backup in case she couldn't press the button.

If you go solo, you must accept the risk or leave really GOOD information somewhere for people to find you. If you don't leave good info, you're being irresponsible (my opinion). Makes a lot of people have to work harder to find you if you don't show up in family member time.
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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby sparky » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:13 pm

good point rlown, and it is something I have struggled with as it is just they way I am. Leaving detailed itineraries is something I have always done, but actually sticking to said iteneraries just about NEVER happens! I just do what I feel, when I feel it. So it is tough for me, as dumb as that sounds.

I do accept the risk, but my loved ones dont. That is really tough too.

Saying that my last trip I actually did stick to my itinerary, and Larry was responsible for that
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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby Cloudy » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:23 pm

The majority of my trips have been solo because I'm never in good shape when I start so I have to rest a lot :-) I really hate being a drag on others. For me, the first few days are always the hardest in both body and mind and it takes awhile to get acclimated with the concept of self-reliance again. Once you do, it's joyfully liberating knowing that you can tarry or press on at your leisure.I find that the exact time of day becomes less important than just looking at the position of the sun. I generally forget what day it is after a week or so and just mark off the days - the sign of a weak mind I guess... I get up when it gets light and go to bed when it gets dark so life reverts to a primordial rhythm.

I believe that you must have a certain amount of self-confidence and motivation to take the first steps of a solo, one week+ hike but every experience builds on the previous and you begin to look upon the trip with anticipation rather than trepidation. It truly becomes a joy to become more aware of the scale of man compared to the grandeur of nature and the fickle elements. You hear and feel the sighing of the wind and the call of birds that you never noticed before. You come to realize that you are just a small, self-sufficient speck in a limitless ocean. I think that it is a humbling and profound experience that truly only comes when there is no one there but you.

That being said, if you have any issues with night terrors, your imagination will run wild. Not always without reason of course. There have been quite a few times when I have been "concerned" at night when something wakes me from my usually light sleep. There was the time when I woke to hear something stepping on and breaking small, fallen branches and was obviously approaching my tent. There was another time when something (deer) walked past my tent and tripped over a guy rope. There was another time when a bear tripped over a guy rope and pulled part of the tent down. Then there was the time below Forester Pass, a pack of howling coyotes could be heard getting closer and closer while I lay there listening in my bag. Then there was the time a tree fell close by during a night rain and I could feel the strong vibration.These are the things that mess with your mind and if you can overcome your fear, you'll be much better off. Earplugs may be a good choice if you have issues with night noises but sometime it's better to hear something digging in your pack right away rather than finding the remnants in the morning. With familiarity, you can eventually distinguish what's what and "usually" it's only the two-legged creatures that I worry about now...

Alan
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Re: Tips for backpacking solo

Postby rlown » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:31 pm

Dude, we all rest alot. that's not an excuse. I only solo in the winter (if safe).

We just have no meet up capability.
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