Getting Away From It All
The mentality of seeing someone else in the backcountry when you're exploring solo is an odd one. When I used to go fly fishing if I saw anyone else on the stretch of river I was fishing I'd think, "No! This river is ruined! Overrun with tourists!" Now when I go biking by myself and see some other solo rider way out in the woods I'm thrilled to make contact. I was puzzling it out while riding along the other day, and my theory on my own feelings is that it all falls back on being lost versus knowing just where you are and what you're doing. Riding along an extensive network of trails entirely new to you, you're grasping for straws--not even sure you'll be able to find the parking lot by the time you're exhausted. But a river is quite different. As long as you stay on the water you'll always be able to find you way back. Plus there's the psychology of the limited space and resources on a river versus the wide open spaces of bike trails. Neither of them are mine to give away or own, but there's a different sense of privacy in the places we go to get away.