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View Full Version : Wheeling alone... your thoughts!


Rezarf
07-10-2008, 04:31 PM
I know that this is typically a no-no, but on Tuesday (my day off) I found myself with a full tank of gas and no one to go with me out onto the trail. I kept to easy backcountry roads with a few spurs trails that were fun and I found myself loving being "out there" alone.

After several hours of criss crossing lots of FS road and side trails I was pretty deep into the woods when a huge bull moose startled me and crashed
through the woods :eek:as I drove by him near a meadow outside of winter park. I turned the 40 off and watched him for a long time as he continued to eat then move off into the woods.:p:

This kinda got me thinking that at that point, I was a LONG way out by foot, but the enjoyment of the peace and quiet, getting out and walking around, taking pictures, and in general exploring whatever I wanted to do was super fun! In the back of my mind I knew it wasn't the safest thing in the world, but I was pretty prepared when I went, extra clothes, food, water, cell phone, CB, tools and spares, maps, and CO2, and Stacy knew the tenative routes and area's I was generally going exploring in... and I stayed within those zones.

What say you? Foolishness (flame away) or acceptable risk. I loved it, but don't want to become a statistic either. I was never more than a long days hike from town, so I felt good about the risk and had a blast.

:thumb:

subzali
07-10-2008, 04:42 PM
I've gone out alone before. I don't believe there is a hard and fast rule out there, and I think a lot of it is up to you and what kind of risk you're ready to deal with! You could get in a bad situation either by yourself or with another person or group and both times it could be pretty bad! I've taken to inviting people to go with me most of the time, but there are times that even if I don't get a bite I'll go anyway! Like you said, you were prepared with extra clothes, food, water, etc. - and at least around here you're never more than a few miles from a town/house and very unlikely to not see a person for more than a few hours!

Romer
07-10-2008, 04:45 PM
If you would have had a ham you would at least been able to communicate. I remember the story on Pirate about the guys stuck in the snow near wentowrth springs california and after several days of not showing up a group went in and found them. With a HAM, they could have hit a repeater and called for help.

I use to wheel alone before I joined the club, but I didn't do the great trails we do or was smart enough to know better. Now I have an instant caravan whenever I want to go anywhere.

Evrgrnmtnman
07-10-2008, 04:46 PM
Can I have your 40 if you get eaten by a bear or mtn. lion, or loss in the wilderness, or die of exposure, hypothermia, swept down a river? Actually, as long as it's not a too difficult trail I don't see a problem......have fun!

MDH33
07-10-2008, 04:48 PM
I think you were smart and prepared. Letting someone know where you're going, taking gear in case you have to spend the night and avoiding anything too difficult are all good measures when solo. Same applies to hiking and backpacking.

This is typically what I do when camping. Look at the map, find an area to explore, load up the gear and go.

:thumb:

wesintl
07-10-2008, 04:55 PM
This kinda got me thinking that at that point, I was a LONG way out by foot, but the enjoyment of the peace and quiet, getting out and walking around, taking pictures, and in general exploring whatever I wanted to do was super fun! In the back of my mind I knew it wasn't the safest thing in the world, but I was pretty prepared when I went, extra clothes, food, water, cell phone, CB, tools and spares, maps, and CO2, and Stacy knew the tenative routes and area's I was generally going exploring in... and I stayed within those zones.


Those are the old standby rules. I used to take a bike with me wheeling alone. If the truck breaks and I couldn't fix it a bike covers 10 miles much quicker than foot.

I have to admit though with a ham you could feel much safer if you needed to call for help. Even then it's not fool proof.

The other thing is buy a hunting or fishing license even if you don't participate in either of those hobbies. It covers the search and rescue fee or I think you can buy a corsar card.

Otherwise it's your level of comfort IMHO. :cheers:

Evrgrnmtnman
07-10-2008, 04:59 PM
There's always those emergency GPS transponders! Don't know how much they are though....600-800 bucks I think....

nakman
07-10-2008, 05:01 PM
acceptible risk, if you're prepared go for it. But also be prepared to kiss some butt if you start calling around to guys you didn't invite to go with you, asking them to now come bail you out. Summer is different than winter, IMO, I'm more hesitant to go out alone in the winter since it's easier to get stuck, and conditions can change so much quicker.

that's a cool tip about the licenses, I forgot about that. ;)

wesintl
07-10-2008, 05:05 PM
There's always those emergency GPS transponders! Don't know how much they are though....600-800 bucks I think....

spots are like $150. I dunno if they have a monthly charge though. I haven't looked into them. Half the fun of getting lost if finding your way back :eek:

http://www.findmespot.com/Home.aspx

Uncle Ben
07-10-2008, 05:45 PM
If you know what to do, your truck is maintained well and you can be found easily if something goes wrong....go wheelin' man! If you know your truck has an issue that might leave you walking then be smart and don't go alone!

Bighead
07-10-2008, 05:57 PM
spots are like $150. I dunno if they have a monthly charge though. I haven't looked into them. Half the fun of getting lost if finding your way back :eek:

http://www.findmespot.com/Home.aspx

Looks like it is a yearly charge (Spot Service Pricing (http://www.findmespot.com/ExploreSPOT/ServicePricing.aspx)). I have been looking at those also.

Survivorman is the spokesman...how can you go wrong?!

corsair23
07-10-2008, 06:17 PM
Drew,

Just driving to work everyday is a risk IMO. It sounds like you were well prepared and mitigated the risks to as low as you could given the situation so I say GO FOR IT :thumb:

Before I joined RS I almost always wheeled with just one truck (but usually had a passenger or two). But, back then my idea of wheeling was more dirt roads and what it sounds like you were on so the risk, IMO, of anything tragic happening was pretty low.

Hants
07-10-2008, 07:02 PM
1) make sure you're prepared -- sounds like you were and there are more suggestions above (Colorado backcountry is a *bit* more dynamic than many other areas)

2) make sure someone knows where (generally) you're going, and when you expect to return

3) go for it -- I have for years

I did Mountain Rescue for over 5 years, and the bulk of the callouts were due to people not being prepared. It really is difficult looking for someone when the callout is due to someone finally noticing they're overdue by 4 days, or a ranger sees a vehicle sitting there for a week and starts checking.

On my bigger trips, I leave a rough itinerary and agency contact list with someone in town. Then touch bases with them periodically.

If you leave your vehicle for ANY reason, leave a note in it including your name, how many are with you, when you left, why you're leaving, where you're going, and when (if?) you plan on returning. Vehicles are EASY to find -- it's when you go off on foot that it becomes difficult to "track you down".

In my early 20's, I went hiking in the backcountry of Canyonlands NP with a buddy (very remote and NO trails or roads within miles. We scheduled 3 days, and told our pickup person to contact the rangers if we were a day late. Long story short, our contact got ahold of the rangers on the 4th day (after sitting by the road many hours on the 3rd day and 1/2 day on the 4th. Rangers declined to search for us because we were "prepared", and "not that late". Made it back out late on the 4th day - tired, hungry & thirsty, but otherwise great. We had missed the route back out of the canyon (500 foot cliffs on both sides). After a bunch of backtracking & searching we couldn't locate it (even the next morning). We ended up doing a class 5 scramble/climb out with no climbing gear. :eek:

AxleIke
07-10-2008, 07:05 PM
IMHO, this is just fine.

I grew up this way.

50 miles back, 5 days worth of gear, just me, my two brothers, and my parents in our 4runner.

Its all about being prepared. If you know the risks, understand them, and are prepared to deal with a major vehicle failure (such as wes on a bike), then its not an issue.

When I am out alone, i always have clothing and shoes to be comfortable walking many miles, including in a white out blizzard. I have maps, and compass with me, and I know how to use them. I have water, and water purification methods with me, so that I can drink, and I always bring a good handfull of those high energy sports bars, so that I can stay fed.

Glad you had a great time.

Nay
07-10-2008, 07:10 PM
The risk is to your vehicle if you are prepared personally. If you have to hike out and leave it, then it may not be in the same shape or with as many parts when you get back.

I've taken a 5 month old and 17 month old out on Elephant Hill in 103 degree heat in a Jeep :eek:, and saw nary another rig, but it's not a risky area per se. Still seems pretty stupid to this day, though.

I wouldn't hesitate to go out by myself - even when I wheel with a group in summer I am prepared to stay overnight in near freezing temps with my entire family. Really, in many ways, I'd prepare less for a non-hardcore solo day trip. As long as you aren't risking rolling, a rig provides shelter, probably a source for a fire, and storage for food and water. It's not the riskiest thing in the world for sure, and a walk in the woods alone is such a rare thing at some point you have to do it just to preserve a shred of your sanity.

bh4rnnr
07-10-2008, 08:48 PM
I'll agree with what has been said already.

I love going out alone, even more so now being downtown. You have to be prepaired and know your limits, of yourself and your vehicle.

Those new devices are great and can help in a bad situation, but dont ever forget the compass. Simple, reliable, and been around forever. The plb's are great, and with a personal experiance(un be knownst to me), is nice to have that tool.

Get out there and enjoy the world.

:beer::beer:

Red_Chili
07-11-2008, 09:41 AM
Done it lots. You had your bases covered.

The bull moose probably presented the biggest danger.

Rezarf
07-11-2008, 10:18 AM
Thanks guys, this is reassuring what I was already believing. Anyone up for exploring on Tuesdays? :D

Wes, you can also buy a card that covers your rescue if need be, it is by the year, the name of it slips me now.

wesintl
07-11-2008, 10:31 AM
Wes, you can also buy a card that covers your rescue if need be, it is by the year, the name of it slips me now.

Yeah I mentioned I thought is was corsar card (http://www.huts.org/whats_new/corsar.html). A purchase of a hunting or fishing license is nice too since it goes direct to protecting and managing the wildlife that we often see while wheeling. Nice donation that's doesn't break the bank.

rover67
07-11-2008, 01:52 PM
i go out a lot by myself. I bring food and a sleeping bag too. I found out this winter that it was easy to get stuck behind a closed pass late at night returning from camping/fishing.

you seem to go out prepaired so no sweat i guess.

then again I am new to the area.

Dora
07-11-2008, 05:21 PM
Corbet and I just had this conversation yesterday because he wants to go to Monument Valley on his way to Vegas this weekend. Our 80 is in good shape (although still not lifted), Corbet seems to be in good shape, and he has life insurance :rolleyes: so I told him as long as he has food and water he should go if he wants to. I have hiked by myself in the middle of New Mexico and as long as you have the essentials and common sense to survive I don't see a difference between hiking alone and 4wheeling alone. However, be prepared to pay for the tow if something breaks down. On the other hand....maybe Corbet shouldn't go j/k :)