Working full-time and finding the time for hiking/bp'ing

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
Mutt
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Joined: October 6th, 2016, 5:49 am

Working full-time and finding the time for hiking/bp'ing

Post by Mutt » January 1st, 2017, 10:13 am

So I'm curious to know from those of you who work full-time jobs (40 or more hours per week), how do you find time for hiking and backpacking? Do you just do dayhikes? Do you plan a lot of overnight weekend trips? Do you use vacation/PTO for longer trips?

Currently I'm working M-F with weekends off--which also happens to be when hiking trails tend to be more crowded. Having just returned to a former employer, I won't even be eligible for vacation time until next December--and only one week. I won't be eligible for 2 weeks of vacation until I've been with the company for 5 years, although I'm sure I'll be able to take some unpaid time off on occasion. At any rate, my hiking is going to primarily be weekend overnighters for the foreseeable future. There is some talk of adjusting my work schedule so that I work four 10 hour days per week, Monday through Thursday, and if that happens my situation will improve significantly.
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Steve20050
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Re: Working full-time and finding the time for hiking/bp'ing

Post by Steve20050 » January 1st, 2017, 2:57 pm

Well, currently my schedule sucks as far as hiking goes. I'm working 50-60 hour weeks and hiking has been minimal. I am approaching retirement in a 3 -4 years so hoping for more time, though I'm not sure where that will be. My wife is from South America so I really would like to see more of the Andes. We'll see how well us Americans are received in foreign countries at that time.

Having stated all that. I can say that in the past I have worked (3) 12 hour shifts. Which allowed lots of time obviously. Other periods, I've had Fridays off. That helps a great deal. If you can swing that it would make things much better for hiking. You would be a step ahead, if you will, on most others heading outdoors. You get best parking spots. Your on the trail before most others. You get more pick of places to camp and can time pretty much everything to your advantage. So if that works out, it does help, especially with growing numbers of hikers these days. Good luck and happy New Year.

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retired jerry
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Re: Working full-time and finding the time for hiking/bp'ing

Post by retired jerry » January 1st, 2017, 3:20 pm

it's weird how locals like Americans (or at least are friendly) even if they don't like our government, like Iran for example

I have enjoyed more time off after retirement. My goal is 1 week a month year round. The only exception in the last 10 years was April 2011.

Steve20050
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Re: Working full-time and finding the time for hiking/bp'ing

Post by Steve20050 » January 1st, 2017, 5:28 pm

retired jerry wrote:it's weird how locals like Americans (or at least are friendly) even if they don't like our government, like Iran for example<br abp>
I agree its not usually the locals in foreign countries that are the problem for Americans. The vast majority are curious and accommodating. It can be with governments. I used to not need a visa to enter Bolivia for example. The US did want a visa from a Bolivian. So when the "leftist" government of Evo Morales came to power, they decided it was tit for tat, so now I need the visa.

I should add I have received more interrogation in return to the US and customs here after a visit to Bolivia. Maybe I was a drug smuggler ;) . Funny thing was I once had a bag of Coca leaf in a vest I had for hiking. Legal to purchase in some Andean countries, even restaurants have Coca tea. I have given it to locals I meet when trekking in Bolivia as a friendship thing, since your often crossing their land. Forgot I had it. Packed up and went through customs in both Mexico and the US and found it when I got home. :oops:

Anyways, that kind of stuff does happen as many of the countries are "leftist" :shock: , and we all know how that is perceived here by the powers that be. In reality, the governments in South America are as varied as is the topography. Very seldom have I felt threatened. There are the same issues as here that can hang you up. You do need to pay attention as tourists are marks for hit and run of petty theft many places, especially since you stick out and in some countries poverty is a daily issue. Machu Picchu comes to mind where tours thru agencies are necessary both for ease of use and safety.

Sorry for the hijacked thread Mutt. There are many fears, mostly unfounded about South America as a whole. I try to let people know it isn't any worse than going to some areas of this country and the scenery is often spectacular.

Mutt
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Joined: October 6th, 2016, 5:49 am

Re: Working full-time and finding the time for hiking/bp'ing

Post by Mutt » January 1st, 2017, 5:30 pm

Steve20050 wrote:Well, currently my schedule sucks as far as hiking goes. I'm working 50-60 hour weeks and hiking has been minimal. I am approaching retirement in a 3 -4 years so hoping for more time, though I'm not sure where that will be. My wife is from South America so I really would like to see more of the Andes. We'll see how well us Americans are received in foreign countries at that time.
I'm not a foreign traveler, nor do I play one on tv, but from everything I have heard, it seems that most ordinary folks in other countries tend not to judge individual Americans by their government. Probably my favorite travel "celebrity" is Rick Steves, who focuses on Europe. He advocates a "go with the flow" style of travel and immersing oneself in the local culture where possible, so as to distance yourself from the "ugly American" stereotype and also learn more about the culture you're visiting.
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retired jerry
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Re: Working full-time and finding the time for hiking/bp'ing

Post by retired jerry » January 1st, 2017, 6:43 pm

I just hate airports or I might be more adventurous. Lot's of great stuff within driving distance.

Like, your flight is delayed, they don't know when it's going to take off, if you snooze for a moment you'll find it took off without you.

I haven't flown since before 9/11/2001

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Double Tree
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Re: Working full-time and finding the time for hiking/bp'ing

Post by Double Tree » January 1st, 2017, 7:38 pm

Yes, go for the 4-tens. Much more flexibility not to mention, more travel time. Maybe your company is open on some paid holidays so you could schedule a floater for a long weekend.

I work a regular 40 hours too. I prioritize hiking whether day-hiking or backpacking during better weather. My husband humors me and will sometimes backpack with me. Often our week-vacations are backpacking. It's a balance. If he will backpack, he gets to choose where. I'm just happy he'll go with me.

In the summer, it's light late enough for me to run out to the gorge after work for an evening hike.
Kelly

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buckwheat
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Re: Working full-time and finding the time for hiking/bp'ing

Post by buckwheat » January 1st, 2017, 7:43 pm

I'm with you Mutt.

I started a job in June of '15 and been working 40-50 hours a week since. The company is great to us, and I get 2 weeks paid vacation a year, and if necessary Unpaid time off, but even still, I find myself wanting to do all my work rather than taking time off, as usually that just means I am further behind at my job when I return. Holidays that give 3 day weekends are precious, so its great when I don't have to squander those. (Unfortunately I am sick this NYEs weekend, so I don't have the energy/desire to hike anywhere).

If you don't have vacation/need the hours, and thus don't have any days off, weekends are just something you have to make the most of. Try to have your trip planned and packed by Thursday night, so Friday, you can drive to the trailhead and camp there, or if possible get an hour of hiking in, so you don't have to camp in a parking lot. If you wait until Friday night to pack, and set off Saturday morning, it'll be noon before you've gone very far, which really sucks if you have to be heading home by 5 on Sunday. An extra morning really does wonders to what is available. If you live in Portland, you've got a million hikes within a 2-4 hour drive from you. I'm in Corvallis, so most of my weekend hikes are just like 'drive east 2 hours, find a trailhead, hike, camp, loop out, drive home'. Day trips end up being more repetitive unless you want to drive 4 hours for 3 hours of hiking. I can hike Mary's Peak, and McDonald Forest, whenever I want, but that is about it.

This summer I'm going to hopefully be doing the JMT, and I'm taking 2+ weeks off, but that will be my first long trip since starting the job. Trying to squeeze trips into weekends does boost your mileage/speed, but even still, anything beyond 40 miles is out of reach on a 2 day weekend which sucks. And anything beyond like a 5 hour drive. I'd love to have a week off to go noodle around North Cascades, or Rainier, or Olympic, or the Redwoods, or any number of other places.

Having a job sucks. But it lets me have the money to finance all my hikes, and lets me afford nice gear to keep me comfortable and happy and recharged. So its a necessary evil. At least until I start a popular hiking blog/podcast.

4-10s if available is great, a couple of the crews at my job run them over the summer, and switch back to 5-8s over the winter, and I'm jealous as hell of them, I'd love a 3 day weekend every week, especially if you work 5-10s anyway.

Mutt
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Re: Working full-time and finding the time for hiking/bp'ing

Post by Mutt » January 1st, 2017, 7:59 pm

Hiya Buckwheat!

I actually have a smaller Gregory pack, a Z55, that I keep packed in my car with everything except food and water and fuel during the spring/summer/fall months. In my car, I also have a small, clear tote with lid in which I keep necessary stove fuel (canister) and commercially prepackaged food for a two day hike. So I am always ready to go for a weekend overnighter during those crucial months. I learned this trick from Backpacker Magazine.
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Peder
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Re: Working full-time and finding the time for hiking/bp'ing

Post by Peder » January 2nd, 2017, 9:06 am

buckwheat wrote: The company is great to us, and I get 2 weeks paid vacation a year, and if necessary Unpaid time off, but even still, I find myself wanting to do all my work rather than taking time off, as usually that just means I am further behind at my job when I return.
I sometimes wonder about the US - when I worked in Denmark (30 years ago!) you had a mandatory 5 weeks of paid leave per year plus the about 10 public holidays - it was prorated the first year of employment. By law, everybody HAD to take three continuous weeks of holiday during the June to August period. My understanding is that in Europe, employees want more holidays and better benefits, whereas in the US the focus is on better pay. This clip pretty well illustrates the difference between the US and western Europe.

In some areas, such as maternity leave, the differences are also striking! In Denmark the parents (jointly) get 52 weeks of paid maternity leave.

Being self-employed and hence unemployed for part of the year, the local system allows me to hike. I understand the frustrations of those who can only get out rarely. If you have a family and work full-time, it is very difficult to get out often unless the whole family hikes. All you can do is to make the most of it (as Mutt and Buckwheat do), and presumably get in some hikes on summer evenings after work - even if you need a headlight to return to the car.

Occasionally I see a TR from a person being overjoyed by a hike to Larch/ Hamilton / Table Mountain. It turns out in the narrative that it is their second hike of the year and that hiking is what the writer lives for. Then I realize that it is October and I feel somebody is missing out in life...
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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