On my commute to work today, I began to contemplate why I enjoyed backpacking so much. It is quite odd. At face value, backpacking is carrying a heavy pack over many miles in an area with no basic amenities and no showering. Sounds hard, sweaty, and gross when put like that.
Though when I think more deeply, there is something very rewarding about hiking those long miles. About two weeks ago I hiked 18 miles in one day. That was hard and by the end, my feet hurt like hell. But damn did I feel accomplished afterward. I am sure this feeling is very similar to other forms of exercise. Backpacking is no different.
Backpacking also opens up remote areas for exploration. Some of the best and most beautiful locations in the world happen to be in the wilderness. The touch of mankind hasn't reached these areas, keeping them beautiful. Lakes are clearer and bluer without pollution. Wildlife roams the areas freely because the wilderness is their territory and not ours. It is very much a world of its own out there. Exploring these locations is certainly a gift.
Lastly, the absence of cell service forces an unplug. To some, this may seem like the scariest thing in the world. For me, it is one of the best benefits of backpacking. If I am on a trip alone I have time to read a book and think deeply about various assets of life. If I am with others, I can truly enjoy their company with meaningful conversations, card games, and more. The lack of being connected to the internet allows me to feel more connected with myself, with others, and with the landscape around me. I feel more present and in the moment. After a backpacking trip, I always feel like I hit the reset button having spent time away from my phone and social media.
Backpacking ain't for everyone, that's for sure. But for me, it is a hobby with benefits I really cherish.
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Until next time!