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  • Advice for VERY occasional hiker

    Due to persistent and permanent issues with transportation and finding anyone willing to hike with me, I'm lucky if I get out once every two years. But largely because of having such limited opportunities, I like trying to make any hike I do go on an epic - if I'm not surprised I somehow made it to the finish, or I'm not burned out and aching for a whole week or more afterward, I feel like I wasted the one chance I got.

    Of course this also leads to the problem that I will inevitably be the slowest person in the group, which is kind of OK if they're willing to leave me behind, I'll hike all night while they camp if I have to, but just adds to the guilt of always being in the way when, or if, I find someone willing to take me.

    Until I finished my 46, I was able to use that to try to get people to go with me, but now I even regret finishing because 46/46 is nowhere near as effective of a bargaining chip as 45/46 or 41/46 or, probably, even 1/46, among the vast hordes of aspiring 46ers. And seems to be of little to no use in finding people closer to me.

    Last winter I went all the way to New Mexico for a day hike, assuming (correctly) that I wouldn't be able to find anyone to go anywhere closer with me over the summer, and taking advantage of Albuquerque having mountains conveniently surrounding the airport and city and not needing to drive to get there. I had hoped that climbing one 10000-footer would be enough to make me forever done with mountains, but (probably unsurprisingly to most of you) that didn't work, and my sense of adventure is back as much as ever.

    What do I do to make the desire to get out into the wilderness go away, either temporarily (finding a way to get out more often/more easily) or permanently (to somehow lose my sense of adventure, or at least lose my interest in the outdoors) as my opportunities to hike get fewer and farther between and vanish entirely?
    ADK 46*/46 CATS 5/35 FT 4/28 Saranac 0/6 Bristol 6/6

  • #2
    I seem to recall going over this ground numerous times in the past but I'll take another swing...

    It sounds like you want to get out hiking more.. not make the desire go away. So let's tackle your issues...

    What is the obstacle to securing transportation? Do you not have a drivers license? If no, why not? If yes, can you not rent a car for a day? You can get one for pretty cheap at any airport. I'll assume money isn't the issue with your "permanent" transportation problem as a trip to New Mexico certainly can't be cheap. And not driving can't be because of some physical limitation as hiking is more demanding than driving. Enlighten us...

    If driving yourself isn't an option then can't you latch on to some meet-up group or tag along with others from your area to get to the mountains? Or make new friends who might have an interest in hiking (and a car) who would be willing to cart you around? With social media it's easier than ever in human history to meet people who have similar interests as you. I can't understand how you can't somehow manage to find other hikers and secure a ride. Even if you prove to be the most annoying road trip partner ever, gas money goes a long way to being likable. Adapt. Make some new friends.

    Next step... let's assume you do find a way to get to the mountains. If you're the slowest guy out there and don't want to drag the group down, the answer isn't hiking all day and night to catch up while they rest. It's to dial back your goals and expectations. Let's say you find a group who's going to hike Allen... you do Adams instead. Or a group going to Colvin & Blake... you do Indian Head & Rainbow Falls that day. Or a group doing Giant... you do the Nubble. There's dozens of these alternatives. If you plan it right you end up back at the parking lot at the same time as the faster group. Your solution of marathon hikes to make up for your speed deficiency limits your options. If you truly want to get out there, you can be slow. There are plenty of slow hikers who have great fun in the mountains and don't kill themselves with 24-hour hikes. You just need to adjust for your slowness and figure out how to fit your itinerary into's other people's. Go explore other places. You don't need to do an "epic" hike to a High Peak every outing.

    My advice is you need to adjust a little bit. You're making this way too complicated. If hiking is something that brings you joy and you want to continue doing it then there are plenty of ways to accomplish it. Good luck.
    Last edited by Makwa; 01-17-2019, 11:00 PM.

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    • bfinan0
      bfinan0 commented
      Editing a comment
      I've tried that... I've even offered 150%, but honestly I'm out of people to ask.

    • Makwa
      Makwa commented
      Editing a comment
      Post it on this forum. Offer somebody from Rochester full gas money to pick up/ drop off and see what happens. There could be somebody out there who is low on funds who would love to hike in the Adirondacks but can't afford the gas there/back. Join the Facebook groups and post same. Who knows what'll happen. Worst that can happen is you strike out. If you strike out try again in a few weeks. Or maybe you get a ride one time. Or even better, maybe you find a new friend/ hiking buddy and a reliable source to drive you. Just try.

    • bfinan0
      bfinan0 commented
      Editing a comment
      I've been trying that for years. It's hard to strike out when I'm having trouble even getting at-bats anymore.

  • #3
    I can't remember where you live. But if there's anything there - hike where you live! And if you are very slow, that's OK- find slow people to go with.

    There are many "older" people who are VERY fast. But on average, local folks in their 70s and 80s who hike are quite slow. Recruit your 75 year old neighbors and take slow hikes with them. You will be surprised at what you will learn chatting along the way, and being a 46er, your considerable experience may help them, as well.

    Comment


    • #4
      This is my advice for you. Lift and keep lifting until you can dead lift 2 times your body weight. When you can do that you will be able to keep up. That's my plan and you can read about my journey in the thread.

      https://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/...-is-helping-me
      Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
      ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

      Comment


      • Bunchberry
        Bunchberry commented
        Editing a comment
        I never thought I would enjoy the sensation of being stronger as much as I do. You might find you like it. There are health benefits both physical and mental that make it worth your while that you can enjoy every day.

      • bfinan0
        bfinan0 commented
        Editing a comment
        Makwa that reference isn't lost on me at all, it's an album I used to know very well although I've forgotten about it for quite a few years now.

        But all you did was remind me of yet another of my adventures that absolutely sucked at the time but are still better than anything ahead of me, thinking about The Wall sent me right back to the middle of a rainy night in 2010 somewhere between Couchsachrage and Seymour, semi-lost and bushwhacking with my friend, belting out "Comfortably Numb" to keep the bears and the panic away.

        Yeah, even better than a way to get out more often would be a way to not want to get out anymore. Safer, too.

      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        "Run Like Hell" would have been the better choice off that album.

    • #5
      You know the cost of auto insurance has nothing to do with how many times you failed your road test, right? TBH if you failed it nine time then maybe driving a car just isn't for you...

      I'm going to be very frank here about your fitness, and I mean it in the nicest possible way. Unless you have an eating disorder or some type of handicap that allows you to miraculously ascend mountains but not exercise, then just do it. You don't need mountains or a gym membership to train. Go for walks and do some basic strength training exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and planks. Cut back on the sugars, and start each morning with a glass of water as soon as you roll out of bed. Training apps like MapMyFitness can be a huge help because they help you set goals and establish healthy patterns. Using smart watches can help too. It doesn't have to be an Apple Watch or a Fenix, but just something like a $60 Fitbit that vibrates to remind you to get off your @ss now and then and counts your steps. Basically what I'm getting at here is that instead constantly making excuses and leaning on crutches that prevent you from doing things, just go do them.
      My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

      Comment


      • bfinan0
        bfinan0 commented
        Editing a comment
        The thing is I have no interest in health. I just like spending a few days every year or two out in nature, and, admittedly, the feeling of adventure from trying a much bigger hike than I'm supposed to be on was a strong positive factor too.

      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        You may have no interest in health now because you're young and strong. Trust me though, the first time you feel like you're going into A-Fib halfway up a slide or a scramble - or just walking on a hot day - is going to be an extremely eye opening experience. The less time you spend maintaining your body on a day to day basis, the more likely a cardiac event is right around the corner. It sounds heroic to say "then I'll die with my boots on, doing what I love," but it isn't.

      • bfinan0
        bfinan0 commented
        Editing a comment
        You mean it's not supposed to always feel like that?

    • #6
      A couple thoughts:

      1. I understand the feeling of wanting to get out more. And the issue of finding something suitable after hiking in the High Peaks. Ohio (where I lived for 15 years) and Indiana (where I live now) have nothing close to the beauty or challenge that is present in the Adirondacks. Every time I leave, I am thinking about the next time. But I have come to realize that I seek several things when hiking one of the 46: a day in nature away from everyday life, time with family and friends, and an opportunity to test my body and mind. While it feels like settling sometimes, I can find these opportunities almost anywhere. Figure out what it is you want or get out of your experiences in the High Peaks and do your best to find a more practical solution (if you can't get over the other hurdles you have identified).

      2. I have a long way to drive to get to the High Peaks. 10 or more hours when I lived in Ohio and now 12 or more where I live in Indiana. My opportunities are limited to get to the High Peaks. It takes a lot of planning, time, and money to make it happen. But I find a way to make it work. 2 years ago I wanted to make a trip up there so bad I left my house after work on Friday evening, slept in my car, hiked the Santanonis with a group from Albany on Saturday, and left at 4 am on Sunday morning to get back for my daughter's choir concert. I never once wished I hadn't made the trip. I'm not looking for a slap on the back by telling this story. Just demonstrating that if you want it bad enough you will figure out how to break down the barriers.

      3. I respect your situation; the effort it took hike the 46, the fact your slow, etc. But your ability to find excuses or rationalize your view for every piece of advice or input you get on this forum is perplexing. No forum member, including myself, can ever fully relate to your situation. We don't know you personally. But it seems like there should be some way to accomplish your goals.

      Best wishes. Jeremy

      Comment


      • bfinan0
        bfinan0 commented
        Editing a comment
        My most insurmountable obstacle is finding people who will go with me. I've got a place I've been wanting to go for 12 years now and still haven't made it back to, and it's only an hour away (by car). Sometimes I can find former friends who say they might go with me next summer, but then when it's actually only a few weeks or months away they're out doing real things with their real friends.

        And I completely do sympathize with your randomly driving to the Adirondacks story - that's like the time I went to New Mexico for the day realizing (correctly) that it was my best and only chance to hike for the whole year. The real mystery though is how to extinguish that desire so I lose the motivation to do something crazy like that.

    • #7
      You can get there if you want to. Don't do anything to cause yourself to be rescued if you do.

      Happy 2019.
      Adopt a natural resource. Give back.

      Comment


      • bfinan0
        bfinan0 commented
        Editing a comment
        If I do it won't be anywhere near the high peaks. I'm trying to get smarter and only hike on busy trails or near/in major cities now that there's no 46 to chase. which is another reason I've been looking to the west and to Europe more.

    • #8
      What do you do for work? Maybe you need to move to the Adirondacks or Catskills, so transportation is less of an issue. Whatever you do, can you do it from those locations?

      Comment


      • bfinan0
        bfinan0 commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm a web developer, so theoretically I could work from just about anywhere, but moving out of Rochester isn't a reasonable option for me.

    • #9
      You figured out how to hike these peaks before, you can do it again. You figured out how to get all the way to New Mexico to hike something, right? That's not nothing. So what if it's not the way someone else might do it. It doesn't seem that you're finding the advice here specific enough or helpful enough for you and your situation. I have to plan my hiking trips really carefully too - balancing distance plus finances plus time plus ability/trust in my skills plus weather reports. I see a lot of solutions and suggestions that make good sense to me, but if none of them work for you, then so be it - you just have to keep thinking hard and working with your particular factors to consider. And your desire to hike and get outdoors eventually will trigger some kind of solution, even if it's unorthodox.

      Comment


      • bfinan0
        bfinan0 commented
        Editing a comment
        It's more that everyone is giving me tips on how to get back to the high peaks, when what I want to do is move on from them, either to something more attainable or to nothing at all, without losing the admittedly addictive feeling of biting off far more than I could chew and somehow not failing.

        Of course, if I had a somewhat less stressful way of getting to the mountains, like a friend I could rely on to make sure we could go every year or two without having to spend most of my free time trying to force a more unorthodox opportunity out of thick flatland air, I think I'd be more interested in returning, but the way things are now, moving on is my main focus.

      • stone611
        stone611 commented
        Editing a comment
        Ahh yes I see. Maybe not many people on this forum are much good at moving on and leaving the high peaks? I know I'm not Still in the throes of my ADK addiction. So no advice there. It's a pickle.

      • bfinan0
        bfinan0 commented
        Editing a comment
        I mean I've set my goals about as low as possible and I still see it as borderline impossible just to find anyone to go with in that much time:

        This year: Get out camping for one night, and maybe experience a night in a lean-to for the first time
        Within the next 10 years: Hike the part of the Finger Lakes Trail in Letchworth state park
        20 years: Backpack the Cranberry Lake 50
        29 years: Thru-hike the Northville Placid Trail
        30 years: Spend my "retirement" on the International Appalachian Trail, starting January 1 in the Everglades and going north until I run into winter or run out of money

    • #10
      There's a whole lot more to the millions of acres of the Adirondacks than the high peaks to explore and provide challenging enjoyment. Ever tried to do some back country navigation and find remote ponds and other natural features? There are many other goals to be made and to attain. What about waterways and paddling?
      "Leave the beaten track behind occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do you will be certain to find something you have never seen before." - Alexander Graham Bell

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      • bfinan0
        bfinan0 commented
        Editing a comment
        I'd run into the exact same problems, if not worse (for having to get to less touristy areas, and having to get a boat there), in terms of having no one to go with and no way to get there.

        This is why I want to figure out how to move on and learn to love the indoor life, I just feel like it would be easier for me with no friends and no reasonable way of getting out any time soon, despite my burning desire to do so :(

    • #11
      It sounds like you're bored and frustrated, Bill, and maybe its time to sh!t or get off the pot. The ADK Forum isn't the place to ask for advice on how not to want to hike in the ADK; its what most of us probably want to be doing on nearly a daily basis. In the not-so-distance past you've had people offering to help in a variety of ways up to and including forum members going as far as offering to quite literally pick you up and drive you to and from the trailheads. You've been thorough in terms of making up excuses about time, your pace, what your parents don't want you to do, the seasonal conditions, etc. Frankly, just like your struggles with Allen, the real reasons are locked away in that noggin of yours. Most of us aren't rich and don't have the luxury of unlimited time, yet we all make sacrifices to pursue our passions. For many of us, these outings end up costing us far more than an $80 bus ticket and the minor inconvenience of a bus to bus transfer along the way. We have to deal with daycare, dog sitters, driving in a variety of conditions, having to be back at work the next morning, gas, tolls, etc. Similarly to improving your fitness, if you want to get into the peaks badly enough, you'll find a way to just make it happen. If you want to climb out west in the SNs or the Rockies, or Europe of all places, I think you'll find those trips to be much more logistically taxing than making your way to the HPIC (coming from experience). Hell, a day trip ticket to hike some of the more popular peaks out west and over seas can easily run you $100 depending on your point of access and have to be applied for in advance. If you have your heart set on those locales then just do it. Make it happen. Mountain climbing is an ambitious sport for energetic people. The mental and physical prep starts at home.
      My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

      Comment


      • bfinan0
        bfinan0 commented
        Editing a comment
        That's absolutely valid. Then where /would/ you suggest I go, though, to learn how not to hike, and how to lose a well-formed appreciation and love of the outdoors that I'd rather not have pulling me in impossible directions?

      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        Only you can answer that, but that really doesn't seem to be your goal.

      • bfinan0
        bfinan0 commented
        Editing a comment
        If there were any way that it would be possible, it would certainly be the easier solution.

    • #12
      45 posts on a recurring theme of self-pity. Our members are generous with their time and counsel. Well, I'm not and as such I'm killing this thread, and I should have done so as soon as it appeared.

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