“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”
I have been thinking the last couple of days about the pros and cons of solo vs. group hiking.
In several posts over the years, I have written about the virtues of hiking solo as opposed to being in a group. For me, personally, hiking solo is the way to go. Now that I am getting a wee bit older, I do leave an itinerary so my family knows where I am. At this point in my life, it’s just a question of common sense and a hearty willingness to stay alive! But the fact remains that I still like to go it alone.
Obviously, however, I know people that feel that the more the merrier. I see on REI that they have group hikes on the weekends where they may meet at a bar, do the hike and finish the day at the same watering hole. They like the camaraderie and the overall social aspect of being in a group. Some folks are new to hiking and don’t have the confidence needed to be out there alone.
Since REI and other hiking clubs continue to offer these types of excursions, they must be pretty popular. As a matter of fact, in Bear Mt. several years ago, I ran into my cousin in the middle of nowhere and she was a member of a group of about 30. Too many people for me.
The bottom line in this situation is that people are getting out hiking. They may not feel comfortable hiking alone for a myriad of reasons. And that is cool. At least they are taking that first step (no pun intended). I fully believe that once you gain the experience and confidence and you head out by yourself, especially for the first time, you will find yourself in a whole new world. The possibilities become endless.
What I see as the most complicated issue with group hiking is just being tied down by the group itself. From talking to people who have done these types of hikes, they say that they have had times where they might have wanted to stay on a peak or go in another direction but couldn’t because you would need group consensus for that to happen. To lengthen a hike or stay by a lake for longer than what may be scheduled all would need approval from the group or at the very least, the group leader. That’s too constricting for me and what I want to accomplish on my hikes.
“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
So into the woods I will go, for as long as I can, solo.