Friday, June 17, 2011

The scripted outdoor experience

I spend a fair amount of time doing outdoor activities: boating, fishing, hiking, and hunting -that sort of thing. Fairly often I’ll meet people on some sort of guided and packaged tour. It used to weird me out.

The time it really hit home I’d just done a short two hour hike, (fat guy two hour hike.) There I was, enjoying the view, when a group of people joined me on the ledge. That was cool. On such a short hike on a weekend, it’s not a surprise to meet other hikers. What did surprise me was that this group had paid a professional guide big money to organize and guide this hike. This trail had well marked parking, and was unmistakable. Even if you somehow got off the trail, going up got you to the top, going down brought you to the road. It was steep, but a lady from a nearby hotel had climbed it on a whim, in high heels. Dumb, sure, but she did it.

I’ve met canoe guides who take their charges 3 miles up the river to a camping site. I’ve seen hunters guided to tree stands a couple hundred feet off the road. Observed guided fishing trips along a river that is 90% accessible by paved road.

It puzzled me why they just didn’t do it themselves. My first thought is that they flunked basic map reading and a host of other basic skills. While that may be part of it, I’ve come to the conclusion that these are people who wanted a guaranteed experience and were willing to pay for it. They did not want to do even fairly basic planning. They do not want to be responsible if anything isn’t perfect. It’d be the guide’s fault, or the charter company. Buying a packaged trip doesn’t take a lot of time or study, just money. They don’t have to take any responsibility for themselves. Some professional is getting paid to do that for them.

Now I don’t have money to waste on that sort of thing. Even if I had money to burn, I’d still be m my own guide and outfitter. Half the fun is pouring over maps and charts, organizing my gear, and planning the meals. With my type of trip, odds are much better to come across something not in the guidebooks. I can’t understand why someone would pay for a canoe trip that costs much more than buying your own canoe and camping gear.



  1. I do not know about your state, but in Texas it does require shilling out to deer hunt. It is not something you can just roll out and do because most of our land is not publicly owned.

    As for the other stuff I have no idea. It sounds weird to me. I would never pay for a 2 hour hike or even longer because there is not point.

  2. New Hampshire has a lot of land open to hunting. If you have a license, you are good. Big private land owners get a significant tax break for allowing public access. Lot's of National Forest land open to hunting too.

  3. "They do not want to be responsible if anything isn’t perfect"

    Bingo. We actually have guided kayak fishing trips here, something that blows my mind. I pretty much considered fishing from a kayak as a way to save money, not spend more. But that sheeple herd mentality runs through every single aspect of their lives, as stuff like this illustrates. They really do NEED someone to wipe their butts for them...

  4. on my mystery tours, start off radomly and end up somewhere, at my own pace and direction (wander all over).

    works for me...


  5. When I lived in Pennsylvania, you could hunt almost everywhere, but when I moved to Texas I got a big surprise. Hunting and hunting leases are big business.

  6. The more I hear about Texas the less I'd like to be there. Even here in Floriduh, we have a lot of places that are public in which to hunt.
    Sounds like you'd better be rich and repugnican if ya want to live in Texass.
    Pay some fat cat to hunt his land ? Not likely.