[cdt-l] the Solitude Log - anyone?

Brett blisterfree at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 13 00:57:12 CDT 2007

Remember the "Prospects for Solitude" thing?

Kind of long-winded. And the one person who finished it said 
the best part was near the end. :)

For those who couldn't stomach it all, I'd just like to 
reiterate the Solitude Log concept, maybe give it some 

The "solitude log" is nothing more than an account of 
day-to-day encounters along the trail with other resource 
users and society at large. The more frequent and varied the 
encounters, the lower the overall solitude; the fewer the 
encounters, the greater the solitude. A full day with no 
encounters is given special consideration, and these days 
are tallied at the end of the hike to yield a "full-day 
solitude factor." Beyond this, the purpose of the log is to 
offer a snapshot of the overall trail experience, very 
broadly in terms of user numbers and types of users, 
non-trail users, and frequency of vehicle intrusions on, 
near, and within earshot of the trail corridor.

Here's a sample log, based on a recent hike of mine:


At the top of the Solitude Log, at the URL above, is a link 
to download a blank log for your own use. Open it as a 
spreadsheet within MS Excel or Quattro, and adjust the 
number of rows as necessary to accommodate the length of 
your hike.

Completing a log doesn't require keeping track of each and 
every encounter along the way, but only whether an encounter 
occurred on a given day. Some folks may be able to complete 
a log after their hikes from memory alone. Otherwise, 
maintaining a log during the hike would be simple and quick 
to do.

The solitude log is aimed at "longer-distance"" hikers, 
meaning those that are hiking a fair number of miles in a 
linear direction, without vehicle support, and who are 
covering miles on most days of the journey. This style of 
hiking helps to eliminate any bias that could result, say, 
from hiking many miles in a relatively small geographic 
space, which would tend to have its own solitude "profile." 
The log instead is intended to be a barometer of the long 
trails experience, and to offer a comparison between and 
within these trails during different years, seasons, and 
directions of travel. (AT, PCT, CDT, LT, AZT, TYT, GET, etc 

If anyone's game, I'd be interested in accepting logs (no 
old growth, please) for publishing on the web, probably 
categorized by trail and year of hike. Big on solitude or a 
raging social event - all trail experiences are welcomed and 
would, I think, be interesting to visual in this way.

And if anyone has suggestions for how to better define the 
terms "Solitude" and "Encounters" for the log, please do 
tell. Or maybe I'm way off base with the whole concept - I 
wanna hear about it!

- blisterfree 

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