Solo and SICK! That sucked and I hope to never go through it again. 10+ mile stumble out to the road and cell phone call for the wife to come and scrape me up out of the ditch. I gave up on the 1 man tent or any bivi hunting fantasies after that event. I actually think if I had a larger shelter I would have done better and may have been able to recover and continue. With the 1 man seedhouse all I could do was sweat my sleeping bag soaking wet since it was raining outside and I had no where else to put it other than on top of or under me. The real killer was a few days later I got back in there with a partner from a different access point into the drainage and spotted a band of rams only about a mile from where I turned back on the first attempt. Pretty depressing since I just didn't have enough time left on the tag to try and make a play on them. The trip wasn't a total waste though as a tasty little black bear wondered into camp that evening and got a ride down the mountain on our backs.
When I first started backpacking, blisters from boots that didn't fit me right ended a planned 6 day scouting trip after a single night. My broken leg on Kodiak ended that trip in a hurry, though Luke and our partner still had to stay two nights after I was whisked away to pack out meat and gear. Luke and a buddy came out a few days early by water taxi from a goat hunt last year after being battered by storms for days, and the forecast was calling for a one day break in the weather before another storm system rolled in. Sat phone ends up being pretty essential in coordinating changes of plans with air and water taxi, as well as folks at home.
There are probably others, but nothing drastic that comes to mind. Many times our trip plans are somewhat flexible, and so we don't always decide how long we are staying until we get out there. When hunting we typically plan to stay until we punch our tag(s), the season closes, or one of us has to go back to work. For other scouting or backpack trips, we will sometimes cut them short if the weather or visibility is terrible, and similarly extend them (food permitting) when it's gorgeous and we are having a good time. I am trying to get better about leaving a trip plan with one or both sets of our parents when we leave, and so when our plans change a quick sat phone call is usually in order to keep them apprised of the change.
My first Public land Solo hunt in CA. Hiked a 6 mile circle and ran out of water, and was just plain whupped when I hit the FS road 2 miles from camp. Got a ride back to camp from some road hunters. The next morning I was so sore I couldn't get out of bed. I drove out of there with my tail between my legs, and vowed I would never let that happen again.
My old man. Took him up last year planned for 6 days he hung in there for a better part of 3. He mostly road hunts with minimal hiking just looking over ridges and small mountains to see whats on the other side. Im not against this method i feel however you hunt the main objective is to have fun. But after day 3 he looks at me and says " boy this is fun and all and weve seen a ton of deer but this freeze dried sh!+ aint cuttin it. This old man needs a good meal and a cold beer!" being fond of good meals and cold beers myself i obliged to pack up camp and get him back to sanity. 1 arrow flung the entire trip but no blood shed. Granted i didnt kill and didnt stay as long as planned probably the most fun and rewarding hunt ive had in the backcountry. Looking out at your favorite honey hole in the middle of nowhere with your old man gasping for air and giving it hell at your heels equals success to me!
In 2010 I was in the Santa Rosa-Paradise Peaks Wilderness and had good luck finding bucks, but the only water was 800+ feet down very steep canyons and I only came prepared to have 2L of water at time...It was very hot and I'd use 1/2 my water just getting back to camp. I suffered through a 3 hour stalk in bright sunlight without water, miss the buck and then had to go down and get a drink...painful. I will always carry a collapsable 4L container in the future. I ended up leaving some nice bucks behind and hunting from a vehicle based camp.
My brother and I once hiked from near sea level to 6000 ft on a sheep hunt. Access was rough and took nearly two days. Once we get there, I happened to look back down the valley and spotting a pair of rams sneaking out of a canyon WAY down at near 1500 ft elevation. ARRRGGGG! Spent most the next day hiking back out to try and get in an ambush position, only to have some IDIOTS start blasting away at them from 1000 yd way and eventually (40 shots later) wounding the legal one and loosing it into the bottom of the canyon. At that point we were nearly out of water, and finishing the hike out was really our only option.
It was a fairly frustrating experience all around.
ugly ugly storm....i had decided to stay and wait it out....then it kept looking worse and worse with no end to the clouds in sight, and when the wind finally picked up to 35-40mph i decided i better make a run for it. storm hit before i could make it to camp so i hunkered down and it lasted all of about 5 minutes. i was one steep ridge away from camp and there was only 15 minutes of light left so i decided to keep going back to camp. i get up that last ridge and glass back behind me, elk are out everywhere in the area i was just at before the storm, figures.
Got a couple of inches of snow every night, and all the animals were headed down. Once the snow hit 2 feet at our 6000 ft. camp, in 4 days of almost no animals, we packed out. Another time, while I was making dinner, my partner put my wet boots too close to the fire. They were cheap boots and shrunk more than half a size. That was a miserable pack out.
I have never cut a trip short due to anything, but I have had to switch locations at times.
Last year my hunting partner got altitude sickness pretty bad. We had to hike out and to a lower elevation. Still hunted the whole time, just a different area.
I had some debilitating achilles tendon issues while hunting from an outfitter's tent during my rifle hunt a few years back due to super stiff La Sportiva boots. Fortunately I had an alternate pair of boots to use for the remainder of the hunt.
Last year at 12k we had gotten back to camp soaked from snow, rain and sweat. Drying our clothes by the fire was awful due to the wind and snow. We sizzled our socks on rocks drying to underside but the snow on the top side negated the drying as flipping only repeated the process. I still have that scratchy burnt sock annoying me and reminding me every time I wear it. I went with lighter weight socks to cut down on weight. HUGE mistake! My partner Hawker's sleeping bag was soaked inside his bivy and my bag was soaked from the inside of my Tarptent Rainbow. Needless to say we headed to the laundry mat.
buddies couldnt hack it. couldnt handle to time away from the girlfriend or their warm bed. Vowed to never head into the mountains with someone who is not at physically fit as I am or at the very least long in desire. my dad is still the only one who I hunt with who can keep up and he is 54
2010 Solo trip; pretty sure it was cryptosporidium from a faulty filter and an elk wallow. Day five had bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and could hardly stand from being so nauseous and dizzy. Made for a fun four mile pack out. Took four days of bed rest and a couple gallons of pedia-lite before I felt normal again.
My 2 year old kid that was having the time of his life but I didn't pack enough clothes for him. He went through 5 sets of clothes in a day and there was no end in sight. He is a little boy that loves mud and water. He was having a blast and I couldn't tell him no. We had to cut our fathers day weekend short but we still had a blast.