Jun 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm #1260228
@sandeepkgiriLocale: Northern CA
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?Jun 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm #1620713
James D BuchMember
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.Jun 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm #1620721
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
–B.G.–Jun 16, 2010 at 7:43 pm #1620752
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…Jun 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm #1620761
Larry De La BriandaisParticipant
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
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^)Jun 16, 2010 at 8:42 pm #1620778
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 artificialJun 16, 2010 at 10:10 pm #1620811
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
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.Jun 16, 2010 at 10:23 pm #1620816
@start2dayLocale: So Cal.
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.Jun 17, 2010 at 6:29 am #1620879
congrats on getting out of that situation.Jun 17, 2010 at 4:46 pm #1621061
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.Jun 17, 2010 at 8:03 pm #1621112
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…."Jun 18, 2010 at 7:37 am #1621186
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
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.Jun 18, 2010 at 10:41 am #1621241
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..Jun 18, 2010 at 11:04 am #1621254
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
It's more restoration than transformation. Certainly better for my heath– physical and mental. Escape with exercise!Jun 18, 2010 at 11:25 am #1621261
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
@ 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 JoelJun 18, 2010 at 3:25 pm #1621328
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
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.Jun 19, 2010 at 6:58 pm #1621592
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
I don't know if it transformed me so much as it has allowed me to be who I really am.Jun 19, 2010 at 7:12 pm #1621596
"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.Jun 19, 2010 at 7:27 pm #1621600
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Yeah. From a scrawny 142 pound weakling to a scrawnier 137 pound weakling. :((Jun 19, 2010 at 7:36 pm #1621603
Tom Kirchner is a filthy liar!! He may be thin, but you wouldn't want to mess with him face to face. :)Jun 19, 2010 at 7:45 pm #1621605
@antigLocale: Pacific Northwest
Eugene is a liar too! That picture must be his son and grandson! :PJun 19, 2010 at 7:58 pm #1621611
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Eugene is a liar too!"
We're all congenital liars here, especially Ben. ;}Jun 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm #1621632
"Yeah. From a scrawny 142 pound weakling to a scrawnier 137 pound weakling."
Weren't you the one singing the praises about cold dinners — leaving the stove at home? Here, have some of my beef stroganoff…Jun 19, 2010 at 11:27 pm #1621639
You called him "filthy" and a "liar" Ben, I guess you're heeding your own advice, and merely messing with him screen to screen! ;)
As to the OP; whatever change backpacking did for me I've since forgotten, as UL has turned me into a seamstress at best, and a forum refreshing crackhead at worst… =
Geez, gnite!Jun 20, 2010 at 5:47 am #1621652
@bcrowellLocale: Southern California
I think backpacking had a big effect on me as a kid. I'm a life-long science geek, parents divorced, lived with my mom as a kid. I wasn't fat, but my experience of physical activity was mostly P.E. class at school, which I hated. My father took me backpacking for the first time when I was about 10, the classic Little Yosemite hike from the valley. He has a picture of me on that hike, at the first bridge, with my eyes crossed and my tongue stuck out because I'm feeling so whipped a couple of miles into the hike. But I ended up enjoying it, and going out for more trips with him. It showed me that there was something physical I could do that wasn't a team sport where I'd always be the last kid picked for the team. Over the years, I think it helped me to appreciate nature and feel confident and independent.
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