Most of the time, camping with company is the way to go. You get to share experiences with friends, build strong relationships & get a lot of laughs in as well. However, camping can be quite delightful alone too. Here are a few reasons as to why sleeping in the wild & enjoying a lonesome campfire can be great thing, every now & again.
Move as slow as you want, your the only person on the clock. Maybe you want to get an extra early start on the drive to the mountains that most of your crew wouldn't be sober enough for. Maybe you want to have a later start after cleaning your apartment & finishing some weekend work that maybe your friends couldn't wait around for. This idea also applies once you arrive at the trail, you don't have to rush to camp or settle into a sculpted route. Maybe you wanted to finally see what was on that ambiguous eastern ridge of a mountain you've hiked a dozen times & haven't had any success hiking it with your peers, go for it now.
Silence is key when your alone in the wilderness, reflection of life sifts in & out of mind when absorbing the landscapes & masses of sensory experience. I always pack at least two books with me at all times & am able to clear my mind & enjoy the words of Jon Krakauer, Jack London, John Muir, Elmer Shaw & minds alike. I'm able to meddle in the conversations between birds & trees surrounding me. The freedom to get lost from camp for hours with only a camera in my hand. Interacting with nature in every sense of the meaning, climbing trees & smelling the different types of pine needles, differing the type of lichen on the trees & drinking pure fresh stream water. The ultimate sense of joy & exuberate freedom.
Creativity exists in us all, some more than others. I myself am strongly inspired by the wilderness & what it provides & represents for mankind. When camping, I'm able to get out my expressions for wild beauty on paper with ink pens & also with film cameras documenting the visuals I'm enjoying & feeling. Even more so when I'm in these actual wild places alone, the words I'm writing & illustrations come into my mind & onto the paper easier & more truthful in the wilderness.
Ultimately, camping & being out in the wild confidently when alone is the most important factor to me. Self reliance is a huge factor when hiking & camping solo. It's a lesson of confidence & reality, what are we each capable of & where does it end? You can quickly figure that answer out when you walk into the timberline for a few days alone.
All photos shot with Kodak Portra 160 film.