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My love for spending a week alone in the wilderness - a guide’s perspective

Posted on January 04 2017

The following is an explanation of my love for spending a week alone in the wilderness from my perspective of a guide. Anyone who works in outdoor recreation can tell you that there are so many benefits to the line of work, the largest of which is the amount of time spent outdoors.

Growing up I had the opportunity to be part of an adventure camp that was several weeks each summer, the beginning was training and practicing outdoor survival skills and techniques and the later half was a trip to the Adirondacks in various locations for a backpacking or paddling trip. After many years as a camper, I was old enough to be a counselor in training and then a regular counselor. I would spend several weeks in the woods teaching kids and showing them how amazing the outdoors were.

My favorite location for this was the St. Regis wilderness area which is in the southern Adirondack region and is comprised of a system of rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. It is a truly amazing place and I recommend it to individuals of any experience level, you can plan the trip to be close to populated areas and short paddling excursions or get far away from everything with a long loop of paddling and portages. Here are some maps of the area for your planning purposes I recommend starting at the St. Regis pond, as it is pretty much in the center of everything.

Now to get back to the main point, spending time alone in the wilderness. While showing people all the area has to offer is a wonderful experience and I love guiding and teaching, there comes a point when cleaning up after people and taking responsibility for a group becomes mundane. The true experience comes when you can take a few days and spend some quality alone time, just you, a tent, a hammock, and a book in nature. It gives you time to reflect and allows you to reconnect with nature as an individual.

You do not have to be a guide to experience this by any means, just take a day or a few to find a place in the wilderness, set an auto reply to all of your email and other communication, pack up what you need and go. No matter where you live you can find a place like this and take the time to get out there and experience nature the way it's meant to be. There are so many benefits to doing this; when you return you will feel revitalized and refreshed, a lower level of stress, and an increased level of motivation.

I am a busy guy that has my hand in a lot of different things and with that comes an inherent level of stresses and anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything I do and I would not have it any other way, however, when I feel things getting to the point where I need a break, I do just that. Take a few days and push myself to make sure everything is taken care of, let my partners and employers know that I will be out of contact for a few days, and get out in the wilderness to recover and reconnect. By doing this it allows be to be much more productive in the long run. So, with that said, I ask you to give this a try, plan it, and get out there and experience your world the way it is meant to be.

Ben Watsky


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