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Did backpacking transform you?
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sandeep giri
(sandeepkgiri) - F

Locale: Northern CA
Did backpacking transform you? on 06/16/2010 15:57:32 MDT Print View

I grew up in a city of over 20 million people. For the longest time I was attracted to dense urban environments, big crowd events, skyscrapers, and everything else that comes with city life. I enjoyed "urban" hiking.

This all changed when I was introduced to backpacking in Big Sur, CA. I realized what I had been missing all along. Soon after I bought all the needed gear and have been hooked since then to "wild" hiking.

Backpacking to me feels less like an escape, more like returning home. Returning to where I belong. I get joy from mud and rocks much over concrete. From the wilderness I have gained peace of mind, like no other activity (think jumping into an alpine lake in the Sierras after a long summer hike)!

How did backpacking transform you?

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Backpacking Transformatin on 06/16/2010 19:20:29 MDT Print View

Here is the simple short version of the impact it had on me.

I photographed a lot of nature while backpacking and it included a lot of rocks, twigs, leaves and flowers and plants as well as some scenery shots.

I sometimes gave slide shows, not very often.

People sometimes would say, "After I saw and heard your talk, I felt like I was in a giant church of the outdoors."

I had found my church and my meaning and salvation.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Backpacking Transformatin on 06/16/2010 19:51:47 MDT Print View

Amen, Brother.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Did backpacking transform you? on 06/16/2010 20:43:17 MDT Print View

No, backpacking actually confirmed for me just how much of an urbanite I am at heart.

Don't get me wrong, I love the outdoors. But it is only an escape, a momentary diversion. Always nice to get out there. But come the fourth day or so, an iced cold beer is good, and I begin to miss my neighborhood cafe...

But I'm all for horizon stretching. God willing, I will be hiking the JMT next summer. We'll see...

Edited by ben2world on 06/16/2010 20:46:08 MDT.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
My wife on 06/16/2010 20:57:18 MDT Print View

My wife has lost a large amount of weight and was able to go backpacking with me for the first time last year. It's now something that we can do together. And it is a movtivater for her to eat right and stay in share. All that leads to a healthier and happier wife. :8^)

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Did backpacking transform you? on 06/16/2010 21:42:30 MDT Print View

I think John Denver described this very well in the opening lines of "Rocky Mountain High"

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin' home to a place he'd never been before

An acquaintance summed it up in a different way while correcting me when at the end of a trip I said Well, I guess it's back to the real world ... his reply ... No, THIS is the real worked, THAT is artificial

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Did backpacking transform you? on 06/16/2010 23:10:31 MDT Print View

I grew up in the city (L.A. area). Started trout fishing at 15 or 16. A friend and I started backpacking in high school to get to the better streams. After a while, I started leaving the pole and my friend at home.

I can't say it transformed me, although it has been a life long avocation. At heart I am just a wanderer. In my 20's several times I just dropped out and undertook multi-month adventures. It wasn't about escaping, but the thrill of adventure.

In my work, people skills are important and I am good at what I do, when consulting with companies or training people. Also in my job, I am most valuable to my company when I am writing software applications and training manuals. This is the aspect of my job I like most... working alone in my office. I also collect stamps and enjoy my telescopes... all solitary pursuits.

In my leisure, I would rather be by myself or with my wife. I hate company. So I hike. I don't hike to escape anything, but to just be alone. It provides me time to think without distractions. And I like to hike in the wilderness in solitude. Often when hiking cross country, I wonder if I am the first person who has ever traveled this route. I hope I am. I like that thought. Had I been born 200 or 300 years ago, I would probably be a trapper or a prospector.

So I would say backpacking just lets me be myself.

Luymes Ted

Locale: So Cal.
Sure did. on 06/16/2010 23:23:11 MDT Print View

I was raised in an oppressive religion. Instead of church now I hike and backpack every Sunday. My kids say I'm in the Church of St. Backpacking. It's far more than that. Sometimes when I've earned entry to some remote spot in the wilds, witnessing a sublime sunset, alpenglow, or the whirling Milky Way, I feel really privileged, humbled to have the honor of being there.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
luymes on 06/17/2010 07:29:59 MDT Print View

congrats on getting out of that situation.

Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Awakened on 06/17/2010 17:46:28 MDT Print View

I've been into hiking for years, but making the jump to backpacking has been spiritually liberating. I've always had a fondness for the wilderness, and now that I'm getting better at maintaining my health (mainly, getting enough food), what I miss most when I'm out is my cat.

Dont Wantto
(longhiker) - F
in love with colorado on 06/17/2010 21:03:19 MDT Print View

I think I really caught the bug after a hike and an overnighter I almost went on by accident in Colorado several years ago.. and it built up quickly from there.

And this year I discovered this website while planning a 2 week trip in Washington state.. I lowered my weight and have decided to go for it and hike in my dream place instead - Colorado.

So I'm going to thru-hike the Colorado trail this year as a finally-scratch-the-itch hike with a friend..

.. and believe it or not, I am 27!!

"He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin' home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door

When he first came to the mountains his life was far away
On the road and hangin' by a song
But the string's already broken and he doesn't really care
It keeps changin' fast and it don't last for long

But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high...."

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Did backpacking transform you?" on 06/18/2010 08:37:17 MDT Print View

I'm 26, a husband and father of 2 kiddos, but in many ways I'm a big kid at heart. I grew up all across the country and getting outdoors was always something I had a passion for, so it's no surprise I landed on backpacking. Spending many years in Novato, CA as a young(er) boy had me outside sleeping out on tarps under the stars in the grassy hills when summer came, picking blackberries, hiking up the fireroads and along deer trails, then I moved to Port Angeles, WA and hiking among the old growth in the Olympic Mountains almost every weekend with my friends was something I fondly remember. I did a 50 miler with my friends Boy Scout troop when I was 13 with little experience in the Olympics and loved it. As a kid and with a family who didn't backpack I never fully adopted it until I grew into my adulthood.

Backpacking now, specifically ultralight backpacking, simply puts together in an excellent package many of my interests: mountains, trails, wildlife, outdoors, photography, friendships, trailrunning, active lifestyle and endurance activities.

So in some ways, backpacking doesn't define me, backpacking naturally transforms the way I do what I've already been doing.

Dont Wantto
(longhiker) - F
26 and still a kid? with 2 kids? on 06/18/2010 11:41:15 MDT Print View

Did you mean to say 46 or something, Eugene?

I don't know many people who are 26 and would use the expression "and still a big kid at heart".. (and don't know many with 2 kids either but that's just my late-blooming circle)

Also, your profile pic is too small with a big bandana to be able to tell if you are 26 or 46..

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Transformations on 06/18/2010 12:04:47 MDT Print View

It's more restoration than transformation. Certainly better for my heath-- physical and mental. Escape with exercise!

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Did backpacking transform you?" on 06/18/2010 12:25:26 MDT Print View

@ Dont Wantto,

Yep, I'm 26, no typo there on my part. Yeah, my avatar hides my youth well, I could be any age in that photo. Just to show how much of a kid at heart I am here's some more evidence of my young fatherhood and big kid status. I'm really hoping my kids have the desire to backpack, I know my boy will and he's only 1 1/2.


My son Joel

Edited by Eugeneius on 06/19/2010 06:02:48 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: backpacking on 06/18/2010 16:25:54 MDT Print View

My parents met working in an outdoor store. I think I went backpacking for the first time when I was 3, but it might have been 2. I don't think it counts as a transformation, but backpacking and wandering around outdoors was quite central to my development. It took me until college and serious girlfriends to realize that when most people go on vacation, they don't stay in tents. I still think that's abberant and unhealthy.

My interest in backpacking has waxed and waned over the years, but it's always been there. The last year has seen a major resurgance as I've re-realized that being out in the wild is why I do outdoor stuff, and backpacking is the best way to do that.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Did backpacking transform you? on 06/19/2010 19:58:38 MDT Print View

I don't know if it transformed me so much as it has allowed me to be who I really am.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: "Did backpacking transform you?" on 06/19/2010 20:12:56 MDT Print View

"Yeah, my avatar hides my youth well"

That just goes to show ... I thought you were about 14 or 15 by your avatar..... ;-)

BTW, Joel's about as cute as they get! Good on ya!

And as far as the original question, not really, at least not by itself. Life has been transforming me all along, all the time, backpacking is just another part of that journey.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: "Did backpacking transform you?" on 06/19/2010 20:27:18 MDT Print View

Yeah. From a scrawny 142 pound weakling to a scrawnier 137 pound weakling. :((

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: "Did backpacking transform you?" on 06/19/2010 20:36:48 MDT Print View

Tom Kirchner is a filthy liar!! He may be thin, but you wouldn't want to mess with him face to face. :)