For years I was a solo backpacker who frequently ventured solo into less frequented areas. A scare while doing so made me realize how vulnerable a solo hiker off trail is. I concluded that for safety and companionship particularly where any portion of the route is off established trails, I would prefer to hike with other backpackers. So I started this meetup in order to meet like-minded backpacking partners. Hiking with others also provides the environment to share about equipment and the hike location/route/geology/wildlife etc., preferably at breaks and in camp in order to maintain silence on the trail.
For this meetup group's purpose, the ideal backpacking group is up to four backpackers. Some destinations of interest are the High Sierra, Lost Coast, Henry Coe SP, Ventana/Los Padres, and Australia/New Zealand.
Group members are encouraged to organize their own trips. If wanted, the group organizers will provide suggestions for trips, including repeats of previous trips.
During the trip to Half Dome, Anna made the observation that hiking with experienced independent backpackers is very simple and is a lot of fun: travel and camp are simplified and the process of navigation decision making was simple because we all thought alike. This is not to say that we can't have fun with novice backpackers in the group - things will just work a little differently, and the novices will have learning opportunities.
Why small groups on trips? Since part of enjoying where I am hiking is hearing the sounds (or lack of them) where I am, small groups are quiet, hopefully saving extraneous chit chat for breaks and camp. Also small groups have a lower environmental impact and are self-organizing on the trail.
Trips that I organize will usually start Thursday and be two nights long. Leaving Thursday gets us out to the trailhead before the Friday crowds, and coming back Saturday avoids the Sunday traffic heading back home.
Those who organize their own trips of course can define a schedule that works for them. If I announce a trip starting Thursday and you would go if it started Friday/Saturday let me know - a shift to accommodate you may be workable.
While most of our trips will be backpacking trips, from time to time we may have a non-backpacking trip that includes some car camping and some significant hiking/exploring in a location of interest.
In addition to experienced backpackers, some group members are novice backpackers, who are welcome! However, some novices may require assistance on a trip. Since such assistance may impact the overall group's experience of the trip, at the trip leader's discretion, the number of novice backpackers on a trip may be limited.
A note about liability. I have seen complex disclaimers on some meetup groups. Instead of a complex disclaimer, let's just understand that you are responsible for you - no other member of the group including myself and the trip leader is responsible for you and your actions. If you aren't comfortable with anything associated with the meetup it is up to you to take action to remove that discomfort and to let the group know you are taking that action - don't be shy about doing so. Further, backpacking entails risk - stuff happens and even on trips on well-traveled trails in easy terrain, injuries can occur. If you aren't sure about a trip's risks, discuss it with its organizer before RSVP'ing; it is understood that if you RSVP to a trip that you understand what is involved in the trip, that you agree to be responsible for yourself while on the trip, and that you absolve this meetup group's organizers and all trip organizers of any liability for any injury of any sort that you incur while participating in the trip (such participation begins when you meet another member of this group is who going on the trip, and ends when you are alone after the trip).