Friend or not to friend, that is the question.
I decided October 2nd of 2014. I am going to hike the Appalachian Trail after my birthday in 2015. It’s been a little over a month and I have had some great conversations about this venture. I have been met with a fair amount of negativity. Mostly, people just tell me how amazing this idea is or how jealous they are, but they never take me up on my offer to come with. I try to tell myself that I’ll be fine without a designated hiking partner, but heading out to Georgia by myself in the spring is actually kind of terrifying. I know that everyone who chooses to do long distance hike has at least thought of this, or will encounter this problem as they plan. Some people love to hike alone, others…not so much. I was on the fence about hiking alone, even on short hikes, but hiking with partners seems to be more rewarding than not.
I like going down the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma. They are near Lawton, in a more arid area of the Sooner State. The mountains there are old, worn down and rocky. The peaks aren’t that high, the highest being 2478 feet tall and that one is off in an area where hikers aren’t allowed. Mount Scott is 14 feet shorter than that, and I’m not sure that there is a way up it that isn’t the road that must look like a corkscrew from an aerial view. Elk Mountain is a good walk, hitting 2270 feet at its peak. It has some great views too, with a big rock quarry area behind it, great for rock hopping. Here is where buddies come in handy. I love to ninja up those rocks. It’s really nice to feel the wind on your face from up top, sit and share a granola bar with a friend. My problem is getting down, because of my acute fear of heights. All of my buddies have handled this so far, so I guess it’s good that I hang out with crazy people.
I also had an opportunity to hike with a friend at Big Sandy a few years ago. It was my first big hike, and I was relying a lot on his experience…my bad. The experience itself had some miserable moments, like that friend locking my keys in the car in the middle of nowhere at 12 at night, he got altitude sickness that at the trailhead after drinking some beer and threw up everywhere, we carried in extra weight (for some reason we packed in a small ice chest, steak and dry ice. Seriously.), we didn’t refill water when we could and I got very dehydrated on the hike in, and finally I had a bad reaction to pain meds after my first real meal, and he made fun of me for being worried about bears and wanting to bear bag things (but when we saw that bear track on the way out….it still makes me grin. Suck it! I was right! There are bears around!) I still wouldn’t have passed up that trip. It changed a lot about my life and how I thought about things. It was absolutely beautiful up there. Hanging out by Dads Lake in a hammock, watching the snow fall on the next mountain over, listening to the absolute quite, it was life changing. If I didn’t have someone else there to share that stupid steak with, I don’t know if it would have been as good. I surly would not have known about the place, and I wouldn’t have learned what NOT to do. Still, we laughed a lot, played cards and went fishing. It was a good trip.
I’m really looking forward to other life changing hikes. I’m still pretty determined to go on the AT, and I’m hoping to find a buddy to go with me (I might have just met one 2 weeks ago. Let’s see if he is crazy enough to follow).
BTW, name the awesome movie that this is from….DONT GOOGLE IT! It sounds like a lot of my hiking conversations…
F: You are drunk! And when you are drunk, you forget that I am in charge!
R: You are in charge. Fine, then which way do we go?
F + R: THAT WAY!
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