I've done a few solo trips over the years, including 10 day backpacking trips off trail solo. It's not something one just leaps into, it's something that you take the time to develop the skill sets that let you travel safely alone.
And there is just something about being out alone in the wilderness. Where the only human sounds are the sounds of my breathing, the sounds of my footsteps and even the sound of my own voice as I talk and sing to myself (something I discovered, after 3 days totally alone I have full-on conversations with myself). The wilderness just seems larger and somehow even more beautiful.
This definitely rings true for myself as well. Also what Steven and Dieter said. When I started out I often had Friday's off and it was tough to find partners who could change objectives at the last second (most people really hate changing their minds about anything
). I like to be "mean and lean" both in planning and execution of my trips. If the weather changes last minute, I'll drive an extra 300km to get better weather.
I like being alone in the wild. Everything looks sharper, smells stronger and takes on more meaning when I'm alone or with another strong hiker who doesn't need to be right near me the whole time (i.e. Steven, Phil etc). I notice way more details when I'm solo. I often miss goats, sheep and bears when I'm busy chatting with a partner.
I find it puzzling why so many people seem to only go out with huge groups as a social gathering. Don't they miss the quiet and stillness of the wilderness when there's 10 people chatting around them all day? I work with people all week and just want to escape civilization on the weekend!
I have to admit part of it is that it costs a lot for me to go out for a day or even more, a weekend. It takes me away from my family. If I go on a week day it literally costs me (and my family) tons of cash since I get paid hourly. I want to maximize my time out there - not have to run around calling for heli-rescues because someone tripped on a grass slope.
It is tough to find partners with the same commitment level too.
You know what Steven did when he dislocated his shoulder while descending Mount Sir Douglas? He popped it back in and then proceeded to downclimb 40 degree ice with two axes! You know what Eric did when his knees locked up 2km from the bivy site on Recondite? He yelled for a bit, then popped 2 Advil, took a few deep breaths and continued on. The next day he climbed Recondite and hiked another 20km. That kind of stamina and determination isn't easy to find!
Technology has made it much safer and easier to travel solo. Sat phones, Spot devices and GPS units have certainly made my wife a lot happier about me travelling by myself. She doesn't like it when I come home with stories of charging Grizzlies though...