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Re: Backpacking alone

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avatar Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 08:02AM
My situation is a bit unique. On my trip to Yosemite high country next July I will be 64 years old but my wife is not up to it and I don't have any friends who could accompany me across the country on my schedule. Actually, this does not bother me in the least. It's my time alone, I will have looked forward to it for a year, and I need the spiritual cleansing of the High Sierra without a lot of chatter. My camera will be my companion. As for safety, I don't plan to be more than 200' from any trail while tenting and all of the trails I've chosen will have somebody come along sooner or later in case I'm dumb enough to injure myself. I regard myself as much fitter than most people my age and still do part-time physical work outdoors for a living. No doubt I will often be sucking for oxygen and looking like death warmed over but I'll be having the time of my life.

So, how many of you backpack alone, or given the choice would prefer to? Bee has already said she catches grief for hiking alone but that's not going to stop her. Go for it!


avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 09:06AM
Buon viaggio, Jim!!

Yes, its true, I do a majority of my hiking etc alone, and I do so with the utmost responsibility for my actions, as I do not go forth with the false sense of a safety net overcoming any lacking on my part. My trips are planned, mapped, and undertaken after much advice from those who have gone before me. And in the process of enjoying the great outdoors, i have rescued capsized boaters, re-hydrated thirsty hikers, and seen indescribable beauty because my mouth was closed and my eyes were open.

I love this country and I appreciate the accessability that the parks and such offers to the citizens, however, I do take slight issue with the overwrought emphasis on safety in numbers. No amount of railing, cables, or masses of humanity will replace the presence of basic COMMON SENSE.

I am a pilot, dive master and I love to do 100 mile bikes rides and hike. All of these endeavors are undertaken with the solemn awareness that I and I alone am responsible for the outcome of my personal well-being. I do not even downhill ski without wearing an emergency pack (much to the amusement of the snowboarders)

Perhaps my concept of "safety" is skewed do to the fact that I have had a few near death experiences (not under recreational circumstances by myself) and maybe I am a bad example to others less equiped. I do know that I am mortal, and I embrace this fact by trying to fit in as much beauty and experience between the beginning and end of my time.

Plan well and enjoy your trip, Jim.

(I will now stand back as the blunt force trauma of disapproval smacks me upside the head!!)


Post Edited (01-16-09 09:07)

The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 09:53AM
The last few years I have solo'd many many times. The mountains called
so I said... I'll be there in a few hours...
Many of my trips include cross country ...
So... it's just all what you are comfortable with... I've gone so many times
the wife doesn't worry much anymore... this year she even went along
with a number of my xcountry callings...
Anway, I enjoy the solo trips but I would say that I much prefer going
with the wife or a friend or two.
For your trip since you are not going off trail I wouldn't worry at all.
Just bring a whistle just in case you get off the trail by mistake and
something happens. This is very highly unlikely though.
Have fun
avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 11:26AM
I hike alone sometimes but mostly I go with billy-e-g. I'm 66 and he's 40 so I slow him down to less than 20 miles a day.

When alone these days I would recommend having a GPS along with your TOPO. On some trails if you are even 200 feet off trail for the night you can get a little turned around and lose the trail.

Leave a detailed trip plan with someone and stick to it.

If you decide to go off trail to look at something then leave a big item like your pack on the trail at the point where you veered off. A note on the pack with the date and time and where you're headed for would be useful for the search and rescue team. There is still an unrecovered solo hiker lost on the trail by Rancheria Mountain. He left his pack on the trail but left no note as to where he was headed on his side trip. He was an experienced 55 year old hiker but was known for not having his trips planned before he took off. He was lost about 4-5 years ago as I recall.

In the spring water crossings can be hair-raising. Make sure your each of your stream crossings have a footbridge or you know for sure that you can ford them.

Keep your water supply topped off at all times especially in July, August, and September. Getting dehydrated can really wreck a hike.

If you break a leg then do it on the last day of your hike instead of the first day. That way you won't have to wait so long before being rescued.

I wouldn't worry about any of the other stuff like bears, snakes, spiders, crazy people, etc. These things just don't cause problems.

Some of the most gorgeous country is out of Jack Main Canyon or the Huckleberry Lake area. Very few people also.

Old Dude
avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 02:17PM

I'm not sure what you mean by less than 20 miles per day at your age, unless you were joking. Does Dale make you run on the downhill legs? I consider 10 miles at high altitude pushing the limit (for me). I know from experience it's not the first day that get's you. It's the second day when you find out you gave all your blood the day before and there's nothing left. My hiking plan, which kept changing, includes 6.7 miles to 10.7 miles per day. The toughest for me will be from the footbridge area 1,000' above Merced Lake up over Volgelsang Pass to Boothe Lake, a 2,600' climb. I've done this much before but at much lower altitude.

The plan is now written in stone because the permit applications will be made early. Basically, in 10 days it will cover the entire High Sierra camp loop with extra or side trips to Bunnell Cascades overlook, Sunrise Lakes, North Dome, May Lake, and Young Lakes. Ten Lakes bit the dust on the last revision in favor of Vogelsang. All overnighters will be away from the large camps.

I'm already planning the following year's trip around Red Peak and the Clark range. Wife thinks I'm nuts but what can you say?


avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 04:35PM
Dale left home on Saturday, October 6, 2007, drove to Kings Canyon, did the Rae Lakes Loop, and was home Sunday evening the 7th. His first picture was taken at 9:04AM Saturday and the last one was taken at 3:54PM Sunday. That's about 45 miles in two days with passes at 12K'.

He herded me along the 160 or so miles of JMT from Tuolumne Meadows to Roads End in Kings Canyon during the first two weeks in September of 2007. He's not just hiking with his head down either. He took about 750 pictures on the JMT trip and well over 100 pictures on the Rae Lakes Loop hike. The guy is an animal. Twenty miles a day, even cross country, is normal for him.

Old Dude
avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 09:16PM
tomdisco wrote:

> I'm not sure what you mean by less than 20 miles per day at
> your age,

Ever read John Muir's idea of a day hike?

avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 11:38PM
The only two "hazzards" that I have experienced hiking alone is

1) The time I chose to share the same backcountry with the opening day of hunting season folk (thought I was having a flashback!)

2) The looks of pity you get as a female hiking alone (read bubble over their heads: "good god, whats WRONG with you that you can't find ANYone to go with!"winking smiley

gotta get that thick skin going


Post Edited (01-16-09 23:39)

The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 17, 2009 12:57PM

I am curious what John Muir envisioned as a day hike. Tried Gooling this but all that came up was the trail itself.


avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 17, 2009 02:11PM
Here's one:

Another grand one-day excursion is to the Upper Yosemite Fall, the
top of the highest of the Three Brothers, called Eagle Peak on the
Geological Survey maps; the brow of El Capitan; the head of the Ribbon
Fall; across the beautiful Ribbon Creek Basin; and back to the Valley
by the Big Oak Flat wagon-road.

The trail leaves the Valley on the east side of the largest of the
earthquake taluses immediately opposite the Sentinel Rock and as it
passes within a few rods of the foot of the great fall, magnificent
views are obtained as you approach it and pass through its spray, though
when the snow is melting fast you will be well drenched. From the foot
of the Fall the trail zigzags up a narrow cañon between the fall and a
plain mural cliff that is burnished here and there by glacial action.

You should stop a while on a flat iron-fenced rock a little below the
head of the fall beside the enthusiastic throng of starry comet-like
waters to learn something of their strength, their marvelous variety of
forms, and above all, their glorious music, gathered and composed from
the snow-storms, hail-, rain- and wind-storms that have fallen on their
glacier-sculptured, domey, ridgy basin. Refreshed and exhilarated,
you follow your trail-way through silver fir and pine woods to Eagle
Peak, where the most comprehensive of all the views to be had on the
north-wall heights are displayed. After an hour or two of gazing,
dreaming, studying the tremendous topography, etc., trace the rim of
the Valley to the grand El Capitan ridge and go down to its brow, where
you will gain everlasting impressions of Nature's steadfastness and
power combined with ineffable fineness of beauty.

Dragging yourself away, go to the head of the Ribbon Fall, thence across
the beautiful Ribbon Creek Basin to the Big Oak Flat stage-road, and
down its fine grades to the Valley, enjoying glorious Yosemite scenery
all the way to the foot of El Capitan and your camp.

avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 19, 2009 03:34PM
I did a 40-mile, 6 night solo trek in July 2006 at age 46, from Murphy Creek through Glen Aulin, Cathedral Lakes, Sunrise Lakes, and Clouds Rest, ending at Happy Isles. I do almost all my hiking solo, in part because I stop & shoot a lot of photos.

I'd strongly suggest using a GPS (in addition to a topo map), and getting very familiar with the GPS before hand. I had input my entire route into my GPS, then used it on the trail to view distances to my pre-marked waypoints - made the whole trip easy! Be sure to leave route details with someone at home.

I definitely underestimated the difficulty of the route - I ended up taking much more time to cover distances than I had predicted - I think mainly due to photo stops and a 50-55 lb. pack. Think about if you'd like to be moving most all day or want to kick back in the fantastic spots you'll find.

Mosquitos were very nasty in July '06 - watch to see if their window of intensity is during your trip - it varies from year to year, so you won't know until May or June.

I was on trail most all the time, and did get a cell phone signal occasionally - I wouldn't go out without one (discovered a fire once and reported it by cell).

Talk to your doc about getting yourself into the best shape possible - I made it to the top of Kilimanjaro (19,340') last year in great part thanks to following my doc's advice (minimum 30 mins/day biking & hiking, 4 days/week with heart at target rate based on age & weight for three months prior, plus several 6-8-10 hour hikes).

I hiked that John Muir route from Valley to Yose Falls, Eagle Rock, El Cap, and Old Big Oak Flat road when I was 25, it was one of my best days ever! Took me about 14 hours, I think - back to car around 10:30 p.m. I did NOT, however, follow Muir's standard of carrying only "a sackful of bread with a little tea and sugar" (Search Google for [muir bread "the yosemite"]).

Have fun,

avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 17, 2009 02:12PM
For a two-day trip I would go straight to Mount Hoffman, spend the night
on the summit, next morning go down by May Lake to Tenaya Lake and
return to the Valley by Cloud's Rest and the Nevada and Vernal Falls. As
on the foregoing excursion, you leave the Valley by the Yosemite Falls
trail and follow it to the Tioga wagon-road, a short distance east of
Porcupine Flat. From that point push straight up to the summit. Mount
Hoffman is a mass of gray granite that rises almost in the center of the
Yosemite Park, about eight or ten miles in a straight line from the
Valley. Its southern slopes are low and easily climbed, and adorned here
and there with castle-like crumbling piles and long jagged crests that
look like artificial masonry; but on the north side it is abruptly
precipitous and banked with lasting snow. Most of the broad summit
is comparatively level and thick sown with crystals, quartz, mica,
hornblende, feldspar, granite, zircon, tourmaline, etc., weathered out
and strewn closely and loosely as if they had been sown broadcast. Their
radiance is fairly dazzling in sunlight, almost hiding the multitude of
small flowers that grow among them. At first sight only these radiant
crystals are likely to be noticed, but looking closely you discover a
multitude of very small gilias, phloxes, mimulus, etc., many of them
with more petals than leaves. On the borders of little streams larger
plants flourish--lupines, daisies, asters, goldenrods, hairbell,
mountain columbine, potentilla, astragalus and a few gentians; with
charming heathworts--bryanthus, cassiope, kalmia, vaccinium in
boulder-fringing rings or bank covers. You saunter among the crystals
and flowers as if you were walking among stars. From the summit nearly
all the Yosemite Park is displayed like a map: forests, lakes, meadows,
and snowy peaks. Northward lies Yosemite's wide basin with its domes and
small lakes, shining like larger crystals; eastward the rocky, meadowy
Tuolumne region, bounded by its snowy peaks in glorious array; southward
Yosemite and westward the vast forest. On no other Yosemite Park
mountain are you more likely to linger. You will find it a magnificent
sky camp. Clumps of dwarf pine and mountain hemlock will furnish resin
roots and branches for fuel and light, and the rills, sparkling water.
Thousands of the little plant people will gaze at your camp-fire with
the crystals and stars, companions and guardians as you lie at rest in
the heart of the vast serene night.

The most telling of all the wide Hoffman views is the basin of the
Tuolumne with its meadows, forests and hundreds of smooth rock-waves
that appear to be coming rolling on towards you like high heaving waves
ready to break, and beyond these the great mountains. But best of all
are the dawn and the sunrise. No mountain top could be better placed for
this most glorious of mountain views--to watch and see the deepening
colors of the dawn and the sunbeams streaming through the snowy High
Sierra passes, awakening the lakes and crystals, the chilled plant
people and winged people, and making everything shine and sing in
pure glory.

With your heart aglow, spangling Lake Tenaya and Lake May will beckon
you away for walks on their ice-burnished shores. Leave Tenaya at the
west end, cross to the south side of the outlet, and gradually work
your way up in an almost straight south direction to the summit of the
divide between Tenaya Creek and the main upper Merced River or Nevada
Creek and follow the divide to Clouds Rest. After a glorious view from
the crest of this lofty granite wave you will find a trail on its
western end that will lead you down past Nevada and Vernal Falls to the
Valley in good time, provided you left your Hoffman sky camp early.

avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 17, 2009 02:34PM

Another, to the head of Yosemite Fall by Indian Cañon; thence up the
Yosemite Creek, tracing it all the way to its highest sources back of
Mount Hoffman, then a wide sweep around the head of its dome-paved
basin, passing its many little lakes and bogs, gardens and groves,
trilling, warbling rills, and back by the Fall Cañon. This was one of
my Sabbath walk, run-and-slide excursions long ago before any trail had
been made on the north side of the Valley.

Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 03:14PM
Does anyone have any figures on the number of people who do the 211 miles on the John Muir Trail solo compared to those who go with 2 or more fellow hikers? I have plans to do the JMT trip one day (I know...man plans, God laughs), but it's hard to find someone who can devote 20-30 days to doing it. Or even wants to! But I do. I know it's only about 10% of the length of the Pacific Crest Trail, but I can't imagine many things more fulfilling and enjoyable than to see the Sierra Nevada between Yosemite and Mount Whitney.

I've read many articles and I've studied the topo maps of the complete JMT, including the ubiquitous Tom Harrison map-pack, I still don't know how well-marked the trail is once you get out of the Valley. I'm sure there are places where you might want to have a group conference to determine the right course to follow. And, of course, if you would have an accident having a fellow hiker with you would be a benefit.

Although, I'm thinking as long as you can stay on the trail, someone is bound to come along at some point. Or it that just wishful thinking? A GPS unit would be nice, but I'd hate to depend on that alone.

Has anyone here done the JMT solo? Would you be okay doing solo again?

avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 03:46PM
I've done portions of the JMT (Woods Creek to Whitney) solo.
(Tuolumne to Roads End Mike and I did...)(didn't want to have the wifie
drive ALL the way around to Whitney Portal...)

The JMT is sooo popular... The trail is very very well marked so losing it
would take effort IMO. (The Tom Harrison maps are not super detailed
just to give an idea...)
(of course this is assuming it is not under snow...)
It is not the trail to take to get away from people...

I will probably do the JMT again... and probably have to do it solo... but my
current "long one" plan is from Hetch Hetchy (or TM) to Lake Tahoe..
(probably early Sept. since by then all the PCT thru hikers are long gone)

Anyway, as long as you have some experience then I wouldn't worry at all.
You should definitely do it.
avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 04:35PM
After hiking and camping solo in grizzly country, I felt nothing about Yosemite trails seemed risky. What is the cell phone coverage like these days in the High Country?
Good thoughts on the stream crossings; bushwacking is an obviously ill-advise action but if you are on the usual trails, you should do fine. The preparation must be more precise as you would not have someone to borrow matches or sunblock from.

The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 06:03PM
WOW -- some of these daily mileage counts are waaaaay outta my league!!

Fully outfitted, I can hope to cover 10-12 miles at the most. Day hiking with an Alice pack, I can cover about 25 strenuous miles on a good day.

Cell phone coverage: my boyfriend is the contractor in charge of the two cell sites in Yosemite -- Sentinal Dome & Tuolome Meadows (hence, my ever frequent trips into the Valley!) He was adament that the system is designed to cover the valley corridor, ONLY. Any coverage in the High Country is purely a quark and should not be relied apon. He advised that anyone needing coverage should rent a Sat phone (and he grumbled about not going at all if you need phones....but he's an Apache from big lonely country full of attitude!)

avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 16, 2009 08:27PM

I agree with "big lonely country full of attitude". On an older thread somebody said cell phones don't work most places in Yosemite except YV & TM and that one might as well avoid adding the weight of a phone on the trails. Throwing rocks is a more effective form of emergency communication. Apache say rock go far in thin air.


avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 17, 2009 07:43PM
The first one (Yose Falls, El Cap, Old Big Oak Flat Rd.) is 20 miles-ish.
Great 2 day backpack trip... (did it with the wifey and posted a pic on a previous post)...

Anyway, for me, his "great" feats were:
First to summit Cathedral Peak.
Hiking thru the 'now Muir Gorge' instead of up and around.

If you like "The Yosemite" writings I would highly recommend you check out
"My First Summer in the Sierra". I truely enjoyed these two books of his.

Indian Canyon has been on my radar ever since reading his books.
I doubt many attempt it nowadays...

I love eeeks next post where Muir says:
"The excursion to the top of Mount Dana is a very easy one".

And I hope that MY "sierra trip" lasts another 40 years.
smiling smiley
avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 17, 2009 08:02PM
bill-e-g wrote:

> Indian Canyon has been on my radar ever since reading his
> books.
> I doubt many attempt it nowadays...

I started up it many years ago but had to turn back due to a foot problem. It didn't look all that hard though.

Re: Backpacking alone
January 17, 2009 07:51PM
I solo hike quite a lot, and I think you have to use your head and take extra care; you have no "human" backup, so you need to back yourself up.

I enjoy both hiking with people and hiking alone; being a photographer, I think it's unreasonable to expect friends or family to linger while you fiddle around with different angles of an old tree, or wait for the lighting, or stop every couple of minutes. And lots of times it's just too complicated to coordinate timing for more than one person.

The continuous admonitions to "never hike alone" remind me of the Mythbusters' warning "don't try this at home, we're experts and you're not" stuff. It IS without a doubt more risky in many ways to hike alone, but using your head can do a lot to keep things reasonable.

After an eye-opening time in the desert, I carry a handheld GPS, so if I get distracted and off-trail, I don't have to use the angles on the photos I took to get me back to the trail...8^). I take a cell phone in my pack, regardless of how useful it may or not be, but of course I don't depend on it any more than I would depend on a GPS for my only source of navigation. First aid, mirror and whistle, fire starters and space blanket/bag, filter, and enough clothing always are in my pack, day or backpack. Sometimes it seems silly to have all that on a day hike, but reading this highly recommended story might change your mind:

When in isolated places I try to be noisy...scraping feet, clearing throat, or my handy trek pole makes a nice 'click' when it's tapped on the ground. Just so I don't surprise any wildlife.

There are places I just wouldn't go solo; Tenaya Canyon, for example.

Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 17, 2009 08:04PM
Sierrafan wrote:

> being a photographer, I think it's unreasonable to expect friends or
> family to linger while you fiddle around with different angles
> of an old tree, or wait for the lighting, or stop every couple
> of minutes.

Maybe so. But sometimes friends are good for carrying the heavy camera and tripod.

Re: Backpacking alone
January 19, 2009 10:59AM
I went up Indian Canyon about 4 years ago solo. The only hard part is that there are two ledges about 7 to 10 feet high with almost no handholds. I almost gave up on one. With two people it would be a snap. It looked to me like very very few people go up it.

I should add that there is no trail at all that I could see. The only sign of human activity is an abandoned 3" water line that went up the right side of the canyon a ways. I could hear Lehamite Fall but couldn't see it

Post Edited (01-19-09 15:31)
avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 19, 2009 02:39PM

There are two deep channels at the head of Indian Canyon. The NG Trails Illustrated map shows Lehamite at the head of the right hand channel. Google Earth has poor resolution of that corner and no falls are visible, possibly due to time of year the photo was taken. I've seen data that say Lehamite is almost always pretty well gone by late June.

Apparently there are no official trails up Indian Canyon?

Also, pardoning my ignorance, what fall is in the photo with your tripod camera in the foreground?


avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 20, 2009 12:46AM
tomdisco wrote:

> Apparently there are no official trails up Indian Canyon?

No, but the part I did had a use trail.

> Also, pardoning my ignorance, what fall is in the photo with
> your tripod camera in the foreground?

That's Lower Yellowstone Fall (or is it Falls?) in October 2005.

avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 19, 2009 04:58PM

You are right about seeking a balance between distance to travel-vs-taking photos and kicking back to take it all in. As much as I hate to admit it I'm prepared for the possibility that I'm laying out a more aggressive hiking plan than may be appropriate for me. For me the key to accomodating both trail miles and stopping to smell the flowers will be getting an early start each day. There is a lot of daylight in July for covering miles with nothing to do evenings except eat supper, sit on my butt and then go to sleep. If for some reason I just run out of gas and can't make it to my planned camp area, no big deal. I'll find another spot for the night.

The NG trails illustrated maps have all the detail for my needs. Not a big fan of electronics on the trail--to each his own.

Mosquitos are another matter. Only once have they ruined part of a Yosemite hike. In the 70's my wife & I did a single short overnighter to May Lake. The night was spent under the stars beside the lake where we woke up with frost on everything. Halfway through making coffee the Sun came up and so did the little bloodsuckers. They literally drove us away from the lake at a small run. That was my only bad experience with mosquitos in the Sierra and I will never camp beside a lake again. This year I will have a mosquito net to fit over my hat but will have to get really desperate to use it. Spoils the view.

Getting in shape beforehand is a must. Here in NC I'm hiking several miles every weekend with a 35-lb pack (my absolute limit). There's no way to simulate altitude but the May/June heat and humidity here will be a challenge for conditioning. The pack includes two water bottles plus one of the good carbon filtering systems because I plan to hydrate often at altitude, something I in particular have to concentrate on doing. I know that by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. The trick is drinking frequently enough to stay ahead of that curve, even when you don't feel thirsty at all. I tend to forget that when working outdoors with two bottles of water sitting in the truck! That can not be allowed to happen on the trails.


avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 19, 2009 05:52PM
Jim, I know you dont like electronics, but when it comes to dehydration, its no small matter. When i find myself heading up a particularly long stretch that pushes my limit at altitude, I actually set my watch to give me a little chime (one chime) every 15 minutes to remind me to drink, until I begin to anticipate the chime and turn it off (usually takes an hour -- four or five chimes)

Annoying? Well, Im by myself so thats not a problem, besides, the nasty headaches from dehydration are far more annoying!

avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 20, 2009 08:00AM

Thanks for the advice. Hydrating every 15 minutes seems a bit extreme but it obviously works for you so I will give it a try, particularly on the long climbs. Headaches from dehydration and altitude are not welcome. There's plenty of water to be found in July so there's no excuse for getting dehydrated.

avatar Re: Backpacking alone
January 20, 2009 09:24AM
<<Hydrating every 15 minutes seems a bit extreme>>

Jim, my normal intake of water is about 30 min intervals, but it seems that when I need it the most (the hot steeps) is when I forget. The 15 min interval is usually a starting place that tapers off as I get my pace and/or the terrain evens out a bit. Also, most of my explorations take place in the desert, Grand Canyon (Bright Angel trail is particularly merciless) or the North Sierra in the dead of summer.

Re: Backpacking alone
January 22, 2009 09:13PM

I also do backpacking alone most of the time; though, just for safety, I carry a satellite phone now these days ... and Globalstar's finally gotten the bugs out of all their recent uplinks (THANK GOD!).

Additionally, I'm pretty strict about adhering to the plans I leave wth family at home ...

So far. .. no trouble

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