I'm a solo backpacker for the most part. I get the pleasure of setting my own schedule, sneaking up on wildlife, and getting the first choice ofshelter sites. I don't need to share my food and no one sees when I'm sprawled out in the middle of the trail from pure exhaustion. Yet truth be told, hiking with others is far more enjoyable. The miles seem to roll by quicker, experienced backpackers offer great insight, the mood seems always chipper, resources can be shared, and things I may have otherwise missed are pointed out. Also, nothing beats the chatter and comradery that comes from fireside groups.
I can't really say I choose to be a solo backpacker. The reality is that my trips into the wild are often planned only when the situation presents itself. I've learned all too often that family and work has a habit of finding every single vacation day I've scheduled which was initially set aside for backpacking. I also don't have the luxury of having many friends nearby after moving to a fairly secluded area three hours away from where I grew up. In as much as I appreciate the solitude of a hike to reflect on life and my own thoughts, I prefer to go with others.
In a pinch, many of us know about Meet-Up (http://www.meetup.com/) which allows like-minded people to find one another through their passions and hobbies to ultimately "meet-up" at some point. This is an excellent resource for the backpacking community. Unfortunately, there aren't a ton of offerings from Meet-Up and I've also noticed that many aren't very well run. Also, trying to find a "scheduled" hike is often problematic for me because frequently the groups that I belong to often have the activity in the middle of the week or with such short notice that I simply can't make it. Then there are the hikes where 30 people signed up (no thanks) or those that repeat the same trails that I've literally done dozens of times. But, it is a resource and has a lot of value for those of us looking for folks to share the trail.
Well, how about a similar resource - just for backpackers? Wouldn't that be nice? Fortunately, we now have options. Check out Come Hike (http://www.comehike.com/). Using a similar format as Meet-Up, but exclusively for backpacking, Come Hike just might be the niche you and I are looking for. This site is VERY new, so much so that you may find nothing in your area. But like with many good things on the front end of development, it may take YOU to get involved to start a group and to rally the troops. The best part, unlike MeetUp.com, ComeHike.com is F-R-E-E.