First Solo: I Did It!

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Miya

Because I am able.
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Thread starter #1
I did my first solo last weekend! 06.30.18 - 07.01.18. Thank you to everyone who offered me tips, advice, and words of encouragement!
Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA, Sifford Lakes.
It took about 4.5 hours to get there from my home. I left early, got my permit and made it to the trailhead around 10 AM. My plan was to camp at one of the Sifford Lakes. The first lake was only 2.1 miles and the next grouping of lakes probably 2.5. I was really nervous that I would be terrified at night and would want to flee back to my car, so I made sure to pick a lake not far from the road.

Sifford Lakes-10.jpg


New boots, my feet were happy I returned the trail runners. Guess I really do need the ankle support, just not Danners.
Sifford Lakes-2.jpg

The trip ended up being very uneventful, I didn't even take many pictures.

I traveled to the second set of lakes, but was worried that I wouldn't see anyone. I ended up hiking back to the first lake and setting up camp around 13:00. There was very little shade on the trail and at the lake, so I sat in the lake and tried to keep cool. It was only 83 degrees (over 90 in my tent hah), I know I should have been grateful for the temperature, since it was a torturous 105 back at my house, but I was hot and sweaty and remembered why I prefer winter hiking.

Sifford Lakes-6.jpg


I spent most of my day reading 'Earth Abides' and wishing I had brought a swim suit.

Sifford Lakes-4.jpg


A couple showed up and camped right next to the lake around 1600; I watched them jealously since I had set up my tent 100ft from the lake, in the flaming sun.

A family of 4 showed up at 21:00 as the sun was setting, (also camped right on the shore of the lake). I vengefully imagined @scatman showing up to throw them in his imaginary prison.

It cooled down to mid 60s while I slept. For the first time, I was comfortable, with my sleeping pad R value of 5.7, my fleece liner, and 10 degree sleeping bag. I was very happy with my ability to fall asleep, I wasn't nervous in the least and didn't have any nightmares!

Sifford Lakes-7.jpg


Heading back to the car.

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I really enjoyed Lassen, and cannot wait to go back and check out the sulfur pits and Cinder Cone area.

Now that I have solo hiked, I prefer being with someone. I am always alone. Alone when I go to bed, alone when I wake up. I go to restaurants alone, go shopping, go to the movies...everything I do is alone. Hiking, I like to do with a partner or two, but still so thrilled to know that I can when the urge becomes too strong!

Oh yeah, another thing I forgot about summer hiking...Mosquitos. On my trip back to the car, I was treated with 18 bites. They are currently still itchy haha!

Road pictures near the entrance.

Sifford Lakes-13.jpg


Sifford Lakes-14.jpg
 

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#2
Sounds like a successful trial! It is fun to share the outdoors with others, but a solo trip now and then can just be what the doctor orders!
 

Vegan.Hiker

I'd hike that
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#3
Congrats! After the last trip i’m sure you’d take “uneventful” as you put it. Looks really pretty there.
 

Perry

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#4
Way to go!


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#6
Awesome sunset! Yeah once you get past the first solo it gets way easier after that. For ladies I'd mention though if you're hiking and a passing hiker asks if you're alone just tell them "No, I got a few friends dragging behind me a ways". lots of creeps out there.
 
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#7
Grats! Good book too btw.
 

b.stark

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#8
Looks like you had a good trip. Would really love to have a spot like that within easy driving distance. Would make my weekends a whole lot more full of adventure.

Now that I have solo hiked, I prefer being with someone. I am always alone. Alone when I go to bed, alone when I wake up. I go to restaurants alone, go shopping, go to the movies...everything I do is alone. Hiking, I like to do with a partner or two, but still so thrilled to know that I can when the urge becomes too strong!
Your thoughts here on camping solo somewhat echo my experience. I enjoyed 1-2 night solo camping or 1 night backpacking trips a lot more when I was in college and lived with roommates and was around people a whole lot. Now that I do most things other than work alone, the whole solo thing has lots its luster a bit(and I wasn't always a huge fan even back then). It's much better to me to share the outdoors experience. Still worth a solo trip from time to time, but it's much more rare these days.
 

Dr Nebz

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#9
Awesome! You did it! Everytime I go backpacking I improve upon things and learn things that I did not know. Solo especially! It is always nice to go with friends, who wouldn't want to share these beautiful places we visit? But its nice to know as adults that its not always possible to always go with friends because of our schedules, but you can still get out and enjoy the wilderness because you are confident in yourself. Thanks for sharing! Nice one!
 
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#10
Congrats on getting your first solo out of the way! Hopefully it will be the first of many!
 

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Wyatt Carson

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#12
Super cool achievement

But never, ever forget a little one oz nalgene of lemon eucalyptus repel for mosquitos and gnats!
 

Miya

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Thread starter #13
Congrats! After the last trip i’m sure you’d take “uneventful” as you put it. Looks really pretty there.
Yeah, I was happy to have a trip go as planned. Not as an exciting story in the end, but I don't mind.
 

Miya

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Awesome sunset! Yeah once you get past the first solo it gets way easier after that. For ladies I'd mention though if you're hiking and a passing hiker asks if you're alone just tell them "No, I got a few friends dragging behind me a ways". lots of creeps out there.
Haha good advice! In my excitement, I probably would have been like "I am alone, it is my first time!"
But very true, I have heard some off putting stories from some other female hikers.
 

Miya

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Super cool achievement

But never, ever forget a little one oz nalgene of lemon eucalyptus repel for mosquitos and gnats!
I used a brand that says it is lemon and eucalyptus on this weekends backpacking trip and look like I am polka dot print. But I am it would have been much much worse without it!
 

scatman

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#17
Yippee! I knew you could do it. :twothumbs: Not as bad as you thought it would be was it? And as for those campers who were too close to the lake, I'm on it. I just need to think of a new name for my next mule. :)
 

Miya

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Yippee! I knew you could do it. :twothumbs: Not as bad as you thought it would be was it? And as for those campers who were too close to the lake, I'm on it. I just need to think of a new name for my next mule. :)
Nope, easy peasy!
Okay, I expect photos of their capture (I ended up breaking the rule this weekend, I was easily influenced by the bad behavior haha)
 
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#19
It's always interesting to hear people's views about hiking alone. It seems like most people don't like it, but those who do rarely go with others. When I first got into backpacking in my teens and 20's I rarely went with other people - though it was enjoyable when I did. I was still going alone in my 40's a fair amount until I came home hurt from a trip. My wife insisted that I stop going alone for safety's sake and I didn't go alone again for more than 15 years. I still like going solo, but I find that sharing the experience is important to me. It seems like most of the people I know have never gone hiking in the back country and so I've had the pleasure of introducing a number of people to the beauty and wonder of it. Mostly that's been pretty rewarding - but unfortunately when it goes bad it tends to go really bad. I guess the number one thing I've learned is that when I'm planning is to think about how to cut the trip short if something should happen. I do that now whether I'm going with people or going alone. A second lesson for me is that if I'm going with newbies I try to have at least one other person along that is experienced. That's made a huge difference a couple of times.
 
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#20
Great report. I did my first solo multi day trip last year and had the same campsite experience. I walked around the northwest shore of Thousand Island Lake where there were no people and started to set up camp. Then walked back and set up camp closer to where there were other people. I didn't talk to them and couldn't hear them, but I felt better knowing they were around.

I do have a buddy I really like backpacking with and I enjoy those trips. But for me, in regular life, I usually go with the flow as far as what the wife and kids want to do. Its nice to be able to linger when I want, put my head down and put miles behind me when I want, swim, take pictures, whatever. I tend to be very inconsistent miles wise when I'm alone and I kind of like that.

Sounds like you're honing in on what is special about it to you. Bravo!
 

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