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Thread: Is Bushwhacking for you ??

  1. #1
    Junior Member rvfvftt's Avatar
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    Is Bushwhacking for you ??

    Looking for a Bushwhacking partner ??

    Please Let me know if you are interested

    I am tired of Hiking the same old mountain over and over. Need to try something new

    RVF 48/48, 67/67, 100/100, 48/W48, 111/111

  2. #2
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    You don't necessarily need to bushwhack to hike new stuff. There are tons of places to go with trails, and many of them (gasp) don't even reach any peaks.
    Proprietor, NH 52 With A View Facebook group
    Author, New Hampshire's 52 With A View - A Hiker's Guide
    Author, AMC Southern NH Trail Guide, 5th Edition - Coming in 2020!

  3. #3
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    Nothing wrong with solo bushwhacking. It sharpens up your navigation skills like nothing else (unless you use the "follow the beep" electronically assisted approach). Just make sure you carry a satellite beacon.

    A general comment is bushwhacking is an acquired taste that many hikers do not acquire . My guess is 1 in 10 long term hikers at best may acquire the bug. The bummer is the "follow the beep" approach using published tracks has created unsigned trails on most of the 100 highest peaks. The remaining summits on the NH 100 list seem to be far less afflicted by this damage but I expect its just fewer folks going after the lists.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Work on your traditional navigation skills (map, compass and observational) and you won't ever reach for any otherwise unneeded external electronics for bail out. And, where ever you go, please do not leave a trail of colorful plastic flags as bread crumbs. Too many people do. I will only have to remove them as I pass by and follow your false trail.
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 04-02-2018 at 09:25 AM.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  5. #5
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    I also encourage you to not let being a solo hiker prevent you from bushwhacking. I almost always backpack alone and going off trail for a couple of nights is very rewarding. My heart rate soars whenever I take those first steps beyond sight of a trail. Camping in the woods off trail still makes me feel like I am on a grand adventure into the wilderness. Silly I know, since you can almost always find indications that someone was there before you.

    In addition to 2 maps and 2 compasses, I carry a PLB, GPS, and cell phone as well as a goodly amount of first aid items. I am the opposite of fast and light.

    Link to two wonderful articles - http://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/f...d-gps-assisted

    I recommend learning to navigate in the woods with a M&C using a relatively safe location before heading to the Whites; for example, a forest that is bounded by roads on all four sides. I used places like Mt Monadnock, Mt Wachusett, and the Quabinn Reservoir.

    Some suggestions for easier destinations:
    Black Pond BW on way to Owl's Head
    Bear Pond
    Whitewall summit
    Camp Hedgehog
    Last edited by Tom_Murphy; 04-03-2018 at 08:57 AM. Reason: i can't spell

  6. #6
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    Finding a good bushwhack partner is tough. There has to be level of trust established which takes time and also a comfort level on when its time turn around. I don't know if I would consider anyone an "official" partner until we have mutually agreed a few times that its good time to turn around on a hike short of a summit which can go against the "press on regardless" approach some folks who do lists acquire. Given that I rarely do an out an back, the old and bold comment that there are old climbers and bold climbers but not a lot of old and bold climbers applies as one never knows when the stuff will hit the fan on the way out via a different route

    Another observation I have found is few can pull off a truly collaborative group bushwhack (more than two people). Inevitably larger groups tend to turn into "follow the leader" hikes or even worse a "second guessing" hike where one in the group wont lead but will be second guessing the chosen route. I find that follow the leader folks tend to get discouraged when they are not invested in the route planning and this can lead to "mutinys" on occasion when the going gets tough.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    When on trail or not, I would never go on a trek by blindly "following the leader", and I teach my land nav students they should not either. Nothing worse than staring at the back of the boots of the person immediately in front of you for mile after mile. I go by: "if you are not the lead dog, then every view is the same". Even when following on a trail (and especially when off trail), I note: do I expect to make a turn here, does the creek bend here, is this stream or ravine crossing when and where expected. Whenever I am not the leader in a train of hikers, then I am also navigating on my own by observing the terrain with the map, and frequently checking direction by map and/or compass to be sure all is correct. What if the "leader" is more optimistic about their skills than he or she should be, or what if they become injured or otherwise are unable to continue leading? Could anyone else lead from any given point in the trek? When visible should I expect to see that hill or waterway in the distance?. All doubly important questions to answer when bushwhacking off trail.

    Honestly, I prefer to be in instructional mode in such a group. When training my students (or anyone else willing to learn) I am following along at the end of the line, monitoring and noting each step and turn made by the lead navigator, then debriefing as needed as we go. Making mistakes is ok and they will happen. Unless safety is an issue I let mistakes play out until discovered by the students. That's the best way to learn and the way I taught myself long ago.
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 04-03-2018 at 07:02 AM.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    Like PB says maybe 5-10% hikers have bug for bushwhacking and it appears to me majority of the 5-10% bushwhackers focus on lists like NH100 etc. Lists are fine for some, but not for me. I'm generally interested in ledge outcrops with good views not necessarily a list peak. I have some special places I like to re-visit which I prefer to keep secret. It can be hard finding partners with right blend of interests, work schedules, family commitments. One guy is retired and another works weekends ...... I guess that is why lists can be good for some. You get might develop a small group of friends all working on same list and stuff happens more readily. I don't have much spare time so I can't devote much time to venturing to far from my base camp in Plymouth NH. I like to explore a valley and make multiple trips into it. One of my projects for this year is exploring south slope of Osceola would like to visit a big slide or find and follow old road used to go up Breadtray Ridge. I do carry Inreach device which I use to report my position to my wife. I used to carry Spot, but I find Inreach works better for me. I would venture more boldly if I could find partners who matched my interests etc. There are many local terrain features that make nice starter bushwhacks like Cape Horn. You can go to many nice places most of way by trail and coupling 0.5 or 0.75 mile bushwhack also nice way to get your feet wet.
    On #67 of NE67
    On #99 of NEHH
    On #46 of WNH48

    An atom walked up to me and said "i think I've lost an electron"
    I said "are you sure?"
    It reply "I'm positive."

  9. #9
    Member AlpineBee's Avatar
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    I rarely post, but I have to chime in and agree with everything @Nessmuk and @peakbagger said. I would also add that you should understand your comfort level. Know when it’s okay to push that boundary and when you should bail. When you plan a route, know your exit strategies for any point during the trip. I’m a habitual, solo bushwhacker. I’ve come to prefer it over trail hiking. Knowing when to quit is important if you are alone. Over this winter, there were at least three times I felt I needed to quit. I was upset with myself in the short term, but I’m alive. When I do bushwhack in a group, I only invite a small number of trusted people - 2 or 3. I like having people rotate in and out of the lead position to avoid people feeling left out of the process.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    I find it nice to have 2 or 3 in group. The leader can then concentrate on finding clear route to follow and persons in back can watch the compass or map or GPS and say Hey you're off course. You need to work right or left. You can make better time that way. It is nice to have someone to share the pain with when things get a little thick. Switching in and out of lead position allows everyone to take break from leading, relax and re-charge.
    On #67 of NE67
    On #99 of NEHH
    On #46 of WNH48

    An atom walked up to me and said "i think I've lost an electron"
    I said "are you sure?"
    It reply "I'm positive."

  11. #11
    Senior Member iagreewithjamie's Avatar
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    This is a great thread.
    I love to bushwhack. When you have open woods, why would you not? if you've never gone from West Bond down to Franconia Brook, it really is your loss.
    I grew up in the south where we have lots of woods, so we got map and compass/orienteering along with hunter safety as early as 6th grade P.E.
    I'm of the mindset that if you injure yourself on a bushwhack, there's nobody to save you but yourself.
    I prepare for every possibility, and while I move at a slower pace with a bigger pack, I know I can survive any situation... same philosophy as winter hiking.
    On that note, it seems every bushwhacker I've met lives for winter hiking, and bushwhacks in the summer to kill time until the first snow.
    Nothin' on the top but a bucket and a mop
    And an illustrated book about birds.
    You see alot up there, but don't be scared:
    who needs actions when you got words?

  12. #12
    Junior Member rvfvftt's Avatar
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    Great advice and tips from all thank you.

    I do love Bushwhacking the adventure the challenge the knowledge that you are 100% on your own.
    The only way you will prevailed is good planning, patience and keeping your wits about you.
    Its exciting, scary and fun I love it
    Regards Rich Farrell

  13. #13
    Senior Member Snowflea's Avatar
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    What everyone ^^ said.

    Would add that while map & compass skills are essential, some of us choose to use our techie toys because they are fun. I love recording tracks on my bushwhacks (but don’t publicly post them).

    On that note, thank you, AlpineBee. While I love reading about your adventures, I applaud your discretion in posting. Really cringe when, for example, folks visit a special place such as Bear Pond and feel compelled to tell the world.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    By the way, in my traditional land nav training course, use of GPS as a crutch is forbidden by students and myself during the field trek test portion. During a guide leader training trek, as certification for a summer leadership job, I failed one student "leader" for sneaking using a GPS. If you really want to learn to use a GPS, I will show you separately, but not during your certification skills test. Best to learn by doing and learning from correcting mistakes first. I teach a separate training course dedicated to use of GPS in conjunction with traditional methods, primarily designed for LE and SAR team members.
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 04-03-2018 at 07:15 AM.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  15. #15
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowflea View Post
    Really cringe when, for example, folks visit a special place such as Bear Pond and feel compelled to tell the world.
    I suspect that in the era of ever-spying smartphones and companies collecting location data from them there are probably very few (if any) truly secret places left around.

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