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A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
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  1. #21
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    My solution is to be very, very tired which isn’t a problem when backpacking. A few years ago, I car camped for a couple of nights in the Sierra Nevada to acclimate and I wasn’t tired. Had a lot of trouble sleeping partly due to the sounds. Seems like there’s more noise in an area with more people like a car campground. In the wilderness, I find things more peaceful.

    On the PCT, the night before getting to the famous McDonald’s at Cajon Pass, I stealth camped at a highway picnic area and didn’t want to put up my shelter. I could have sworn that snakes were everywhere around me as I lay down to sleep in a place sheltered from view by some brush. But it was after a 25 mile day. The next thing I knew it was morning and ten miles to McDonald’s.

  2. #22
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    You're definitely not alone! The sound of a pack of howling coyotes or a screaming fox can give anyone the heebie-jeebies. It's almost worse when the coyotes STOP howling. The critters are generally not interested in you, just your food, or just wandering by.

    I think the only thing to do is get out and get used to it, with or without friends. I generally hike alone, and frequently find myself alone at campsites or shelters. Once I fall asleep in my hammock - nothing's going to wake me up, but the first hour or so, it seems like I hear every rustle in the leaves.

  3. #23
    Registered User Maineiac64's Avatar
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    Long hiking days, bourbon after dinner, ear plugs, great sleep.

  4. #24

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    It takes time and experience to overcome night time fears. Put it in perspective, you are much safer deep in the woods at night than in most larger US cities.

  5. #25

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    My grandfather, a WWII Marine combat veteran, used to say to me as a kid, "Never fear the sounds of the woods at night, rather, fear the silence. His profound statement has always stuck with me.
    "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change". Charles Darwin

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night Train View Post
    My grandfather, a WWII Marine combat veteran, used to say to me as a kid, "Never fear the sounds of the woods at night, rather, fear the silence. His profound statement has always stuck with me.
    Grandfathers correct. My dad a combat vet from korea and vietnam told me the same. Now as a combat vet I say the same but i at times have to shack off the hibbies when it is really quite and I am awake still I get the occastional chill up the back. I am also a hiker that still brings a book with me to read. Yes I take the weight penalty...I try and wear myself out hiking like everyone is telling you..Soetimes a book adds to the falling asleep...
    My love for life is quit simple .i get uo in the moring and then i go to bed at night. What I do inbween is to occupy my time. Cary Grant

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night Train View Post
    My grandfather, a WWII Marine combat veteran, used to say to me as a kid, "Never fear the sounds of the woods at night, rather, fear the silence. His profound statement has always stuck with me.
    Makes a lot of sense -- if there are no animal sounds, then they are hunkering down ... why? Maybe humans are around...

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    Makes a lot of sense -- if there are no animal sounds, then they are hunkering down ... why? Maybe humans are around...
    @*$&%^€<ß, humans!

  9. #29
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    Iíve done a decent number of solo backpacking trips now where I end up sleeping in my tent with no one nearby. Iíve found it gets a little easier each time. Here are some things that have helped me. First I do a proper bear hang and I relax by saying Iíve done everything I can to be safe. I try to set up where I can hear water running as that blocks out any other sounds. I also hike till Iím tired so itís easier to fall asleep. I also leave a rock in my tent vestibule just in case. I hope some of these tips help you but my advice is just get out there and do it and I bet youíll find each time it gets easier. On the AT doing a thru I would imagine it would be pretty rare to be sleeping alone with no one nearby unless you wanted to be alone. Good luck!
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 48
    "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." - Isaac Asimov

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    ..................In the end, I think the false sense of security provided by those soft thin fabric walls of a tent end up increasing insecurity by isolating us from the outside.
    I am just the opposite. Camping alone in the woods miles from the nearest person doesn't bother me IF I am in a tent. Sleeping alone in a shelter, under a tarp or under the stars miles from other people and I am up all night at the slightest sound. It may be irrational but being inside a tent somehow makes me feel safe and secure.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  11. #31
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    Might help to find somewhere to go just sit in the woods as the sun down, without the intent of falling asleep. Just carry in a folding chair. Eliminate the feeling of vulnerability that comes with going to sleep, in order to get some comfort with darkness.

  12. #32

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    As long as "it" is not directly under my hammock the noises don't bother me much.Some of them I love hearing.
    So I just carry a sharp stick and quit worrying about my own mortality....(it's amazing how much noise an armadillo can make under your hammock though!)

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ekeverette View Post
    i'm getting into the fall of my years. what makes me mad is im a good ole" county boy who is afraid of the dark. ive never been scared of the woods in my life. Ive got plenty of time " I hope" but im just plain scared at night.... its so damn dark and the noises, I know im a wus but its the only thing holding me back. thats why I was looking a partner which I know is a bad idea. Anyway I know some folks get scared out there, but over come it. I know the only thing out there bad is people' and maybe a crazy bear.I was in law enforcement for 30 years, i should know better!!
    So what are you going to do about all this awesome advice from folks that have slept countless nights out in the wild and yet they're still here.

    Face your fears and go in to the winter of life scared of something ?

    Yeah you should know better!!

  14. #34
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    " face your fears or go into the winter of life scared of something?

    Yeah you should know better!!

  15. #35
    Is it raining yet?
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    A friend and I once refused to car camp at a USFS campsite near the Grand Tetons. The dark place just felt like a bear attack waiting to happen.

    Once in the tent you've got to ignore the outside noises or you could lose your sanity.
    Be Prepared

  16. #36

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    Flashlights, do you have a good one to use in the dark? Lots of technologies here to minimize injuries when in the dark.

    I've done night hikes, say from Rt. 9 near Bennington, VT to Manchester in one night. There is nothing out there except for the paranoid to worry about at night.

    With all my recent hiking I am shocked by the lack of life in the woods. Go back 100 years and it would be a totally different story. Life was a lot more abundant. Go back 1000 years and the difference would be even more stark. Man killed many of his fears of wild beast and put unwanted people in institutions.


  17. #37

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    I forgot to mention that being "hard of hearing" can sometimes be a bit of a blessing.Surprised no one has suggested earplugs yet.Chances are that they could help those with good ears.

    A friend of mine sent me a YT vid today of a lady whose tent was chewed on in the middle of the night by a bear which she thought was a branch that fell on her tent and warped one of the poles.Then she got out and saw Yogi standing there.I think this was on the BM in the Smokies somewhere;not sure when.

  18. #38

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    [QUOTE=Five Tango;2286808.Surprised no one has suggested earplugs yet.Chances are that they could help those with good ears.[/QUOTE]

    I always bring a pair with me, but the only time I use them is in case there is a group of ̶m̶o̶r̶o̶n̶s̶ hikers nearby who seem to think everyone within earshot stays up past dark. While I generally prefer to camp well away from potential communal areas, there are some locations where this just isn't practical.

  19. #39

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    My tent is 3000# and made of steel. If I get spooked, I jump into the front and prepare to drive away, or over an offender if necessary!

    Actually, I share the same fear, so for now have limited myself to day hikes to my "steel tent" and I sleep quite well. This was the year I was going to overnight solo to address that fear (at 62 I should be grown up enough), but plans changed. Maybe later in the season....maybe not. So far I haven't felt like I'm missing out on anything. It's just that niggling sense of "I should or shouldn't" that's the problem.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  20. #40
    Registered User ekeverette's Avatar
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    i'm going to bite the f....g bullit and do it.... what the hell!!
    eveready

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