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  1. #1
    New Member PNW HIKER's Avatar
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    Having The Mojo To Go Solo

    Now, I've never been one to omit a fear. Coming from an Irish family, fear was something you didn't show. Running from a bully simply meant my father would drag you to the local park to face him, or her (as was the case when I was 7).

    I have overcome most of my fears. Marriage...Children...The Government. But (lets call it anxiety), the anxiety of hammock camping solo has yet to be arrested. I have watched several videos on the matter. And none seem to cover my only real concern. "What to do with myself??"


    I mean, I'm not much of a reader ok. So sinking into a good book won't last me more than an hour (2 if there's pictures). I don't write in journals or diaries. This is the most you guys will get out of me right here. And I'm not much on just relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet. Even that can get old…too me.

    So, I thought about Bushcraft. Nothing Dic Proenneke. Just something to keep me busy. I could grab a log and carve a friend to chat with around the fire...until I ran low on wood. I DON'T KNOW!

    My question is, What do you all do to keep busy on a solo? Whatever crazy thing it is. I wanna know. It's not all just survival right?

    not really...
    Last edited by PNW HIKER; 09-05-2018 at 04:24.
    "My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-*****."

    ~Jack Nickolson

  2. #2
    Phantom Grappler's Avatar
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    I’ve always been a loner. Although we are social creatures. Much more can be accomplished by a group, than by one. Many great ideas are the brainchild of one. Those ideas can best come to fruition by a team.
    Some hiker campers like to get away from it all—all the distractions of conversation, to clear the mind, to hear oneself think, to dream. And to observe nature much more closely than with others.
    Safety is a good reason against solo trekking.
    When hiking and camping with a friend or small group of friends—-your safety is increased; unless they are wild and crazy, drunk or drugged.

    Phantom: wanted in 38 states, not wanted in 12 others...

  3. #3
    Trail Runner's Avatar
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    The best approach for your situation is to limit camp time. Just hike all day and setup camp about an hour before sunset. By the time you've setup camp and prepared dinner darkness will be near or at hand. Repeat the process in reverse in the morning... breakfast prep, camp tear down and then hit the trail.
    "Behold, as the wild a** of the desert, go I forth to my work." -- Guerney Halleck

  4. #4
    MikekiM's Avatar
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    More often than not, I am solo.

    When solo, I am usually out to pound miles... backpacking rather than camping. I enjoy the process of making camp at days end, so once I find a spot to drop, I get into setting up. Same goes for dinner; I enjoy the process. Then there is the obligatory check-in with my family to assure them I am alive... which takes a few minutes using a GPS two-way communicator. Maybe a small fire..maybe not. And then I crash. Short story is there isn't a whole lot of time to kill. Solo is about the journey and less about the destination so camp is just a place to chill until it's time to walk again.

    I am going a light-speed all day, when not on the trail, so I welcome the time alone.. to think, explore my brain, plan.

    As far as safety? Hiking with the wrong partners can be more dangerous than no partners. I have had a few instances where my partner had health issues. Being responsible for two, when it's not the right two, is twice as much work as being responsible for just yourself.

    I still get creeped out by the late night dancing & prancing I hear in the distant woods. That's the only time I dislike being solo. I've never had any nightly visitors as far as I know so at some point my brain will reprogram so I tune the noises out.
    _______________________________________
    The difficulty of finding any given trail marker is directly proportional to the importance of the consequences of failing to find it.

    You wonder why I love to sleep alone, in the woods, in a hammock.. I wonder why you don't...

  5. #5
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I've gone solo camping since I was a little kid. My mom wasn't fond of the idea - didn't make any sense to her, but she allowed it. She just couldn't fathom why I wanted to go camping alone, and I couldn't fathom why she thought I should go camping with someone else.

    My wife can't understand it - she's called the state police to find me more than once (even when I'm five states away). I think she's over it now - she hasn't called the police in at least five years. I just have to make sure I call her sometime around when I'm supposed to return so she doesn't worry - being five hours off schedule can set her in a panic.

    I remember when my mother died - I told my wife I was heading into the Santa Catalina mountains over Tucson, Arizona. She asked, "Where are you going? When are you coming back?" I told her I didn't know. That sent her out of her gourd! I came home after a few days, but I just needed to clear my head. Funny, but my sister never blinked an eye when I told her I was going into the mountains for a few days - she was used to me by then. It didn't even seem strange to her.

    While I enjoy solo camping, I mostly do it because I don't want to be beholden to someone else's schedule. Nothing drives me crazier than having someone back out of a trip at the last minute. I'll go solo just to spite the backer-outer. I have one fair-weather friend who has backed out of several trips, and now he can't understand why I won't go camping with him anymore. I'd rather go alone than have the expectation that he'll be joining me, only to have him back out at the last minute. That is very inconsiderate, in my mind. I've never done that to anybody.

    I now have a beagle, Joey, so even my solo hiking and camping isn't really solo. Joey does get on my nerves because he's a young beagle (1.5 years old), and he is used to going to bed at 8 pm - whereas my bedtime is closer to midnight. We usually compromise and go to bed around 10 pm. The forest is a little too much sensory overload for him, so he often needs a walk in the middle of the night. Not my idea of fun, but it's better to give him his walk than be kept up all night by a darned dog.
    Last edited by SilvrSurfr; 09-05-2018 at 06:20.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bubba's Avatar
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    When I used to go solo I would read, hike, listen to my Walkman (shows you how old I am lol). More recently I've added bushcrafting to my activities. Work on starting a fire by friction and I'll bet time will just fly by. I've never been into fishing but that might be something to look into if you have some waterways near your trails and if that remotely interests you. What about documenting your trip on video for your family? Setting up shots and filming yourself takes time and effort plus it would be nice to share it with those around you.

    One thing to consider is to work on those things that you can't do. Just as you have overcome some of your fears why not work on being able to relax and chill a little longer or read for longer or try journaling. Being able to quiet your mind can be a goal in and of itself and be can good for the you.
    Don't let life get in the way of living.

  7. #7
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    Make a fire without a lighter/fire starter.
    Make a meal that's more then boil in bag.
    Fiddle and perfect with your setup
    Learn a new knot
    Read/watch a movie
    Sip some good ol whisky

    That's my normal evening when I set up camp

  8. #8
    I agree that the hiking usually is most of the "what to do with the day", but another idea is look for things to do there and in the moment. If you have your phone or a camera, do photography. Not just this is a picture of where I was, but lots of pics to document the things you slowed down to notice. Similarly, bring some watercolors and paint. The supplies weigh very little, and it, again, immerses you in the place. Just remember, it is not about the "art". I am an engineer and would truly starve as an artist. It is not about making great paintings. It is about being there. Plus, even if they really stink, I bet the paintings or photos will be valuable to you as a reminder of the trip.
    "We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true." Robert Wilensky

  9. #9
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    If car camping, do a good long loop hike and get back to the campsite late afternoon, or if backpacking do the same thing to limit camp time. I too do a lot of solo and would not enjoy just sitting around camp all day doing nothing. Get an ipod, take photos or something else as suggested above. Gotta have an adjunct hobby if you're gonna do that.

    Best part about solo, though, is that when decisions need to be made you only have to consult one guy.

    And I realize it's probably just a personal tic of mine, but "survival" is a word that annoys me. It implies that there is some sort of extra duress brought on by unexpected sickness or accident or weather or getting lost. So if somebody regularly finds himself in "survival" situations then he needs to evaluate his whole approach to outdoor activities.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  10. #10
    Senior Member old4hats's Avatar
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    Most all of my hiking has been solo. If your pack is heavy enough, or you go enough distance, you likely will sleep deep and long. Wake up early? Pack up and back on the trail. I never had time to get bored.
    If you prepare for failure you will probably succeed.

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