Solo hiking! So solitary, and yes, so lacking in absolutely anyone that can easily corroborate your accomplishments afterwards.
Yep, it happens. Questions about a route we took, a summit we might have missed, and fortunately, these are all usually handled so easily by simply getting the group together and comparing notes. Done. In light of everyone’s thoughts and ideas, a clear picture emerges and all questions are answered.
Not so much when you are the sole person making the attempt; sometimes there are questions. Despite Strava data, GPS tracks, and photos which all clearly paint a reasonable picture of where you were and what you accomplished, some people will still want more.
I do appreciate their comments, even the negative ones. I appreciate them because they are making me better at what I love: summiting mountains and documenting those experiences to help others enjoy them as well.
My daughter asked me why the opinions of others mattered to me so much. “Because the commenters are wrong and purposely trying to make me look bad”. I’m not sure why this means so much to me, but it does. Also, she’s right: it shouldn’t matter if you’ve told the truth.
You never look good trying to make someone else look bad. Successful people do not need to put others down.
We all experience judgement from others, but all that matters is the truth. Clearly, I must be doing something worth talking about – and that’s worth celebrating! The reality is when someone creates a negative post aimed at me my website hits go up, and I get tons of positive private messages cheering me on. In the end all of these comments make me better at what I do. They bring up things I’d never think of, making me a better writer, photographer, documenter, blogger, and public speaker in the process.
Still, being a solo hiker/summiter means I’m often the only one who knows my experiences, so I do my best to document them as accurately as possible. I’m human, and I’m not perfect. I miss the photo sometimes, I don’t always see things I should, and yes, sometimes I miss the summit. However, when these unfortunate mishaps occur I blog about what happened accurately and honestly, even if it makes me look bad. I’ve taken wrong turns, forgotten important gear, and turned back on summits more times than I can count. But if I wanted to, I could go back, read my blogs and list them all off because I’ve documented each and every one of them.
In the end, if you do have questions about people’s claims, ask yourself, “Why question them in a public setting?” Could it be solved by sending them a private message and getting your questions answered directly, allowing you both to save face? Why call someone out in a public forum?
Still, before you post/comment/etc., ask yourself: Would you ever purposefully ridicule someone in person? If not, then why do it online? If so, you might need to reevaluate your interpersonal communication skills.
For anyone wanting specific clarifications of my accomplishments, discussions of my data, GPS, or photos, I’d be more than happy to connect with you; Happy Hours are my favorite!
Life isn’t a competition: I hope we all win.