Sep 8, 2010 at 10:20 pm #1263107
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
I've given a lot of thought over the past year or so about what I do and don't like about backpacking and what I hope to put into it and get out of it.
I've made a list of the reasons I like to backpack:
Visit beautiful places.
Hang out with cool people.
Play with fun gear.
Personal time for reflection.
Rest and relaxation.
You can shuffle the order of the first six items, but hiking will always come in last place.
Now, if I only had to walk 100 yards to enjoy any or all of the first six items, that wouldn't be very satisfying. I don't mind walking, but it's more of a means to an end for me.
I also don't like to sully a trip with firm goals. I definitely like some flexibility and spontaneity built-in to allow the maximum opportunity to enjoy the "Big Six" reasons to be out there in the first place.
Over the past year I've walked 15 miles and been comfortably tired, 8 miles and been exhausted, and once I did 6 miles by 9:30 am and was ready for more. It's just not really about the walking for me.
Anybody else share my priorities?Sep 9, 2010 at 1:30 am #1644114
drowning in spamMember
I'm the same way. On my next thru hike attempt I want to be able to hike fast enough that I spend less than half the day hiking and most of the day lounging. I don't mind the walking so much, but I'd much rather spend time exploring off the trail, taking pictures and reading.Sep 9, 2010 at 4:22 am #1644121
maybe you should try slack packingSep 9, 2010 at 7:39 am #1644154
Pretty much I am the complete opposite.
I love the physical aspect of hiking, the challenge to see to you can make it over the next pass before dark, can you beat your distance, speed or any other random personal record? It's during the hike that I reflect on life and as weird as it sounds find relaxation. For me camping is where I sleep to rest and get up the next day to hike. I rarely hike with anyone but I do get to meet interesting people on the trail. Also, gear is a means to an end and my goal is to make it invisible to my hiking experience.
We are probably only common in one area, hiking to be able to visit beautiful places. Other than that we are complete opposites. But that what's cool, we are seemingly doing the same activity yet with different means and objectives.
David, This probably doesn't come as a surprise since you are one of the few people I have ever done a trip with.Sep 9, 2010 at 8:06 am #1644159
@nerdboy52Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Interesting. I like the birds and the scenery, etc. well enough, but I just like to walk. I walk in my neighborhood. I walk at local Metro Parks. I walk along the AT when I get the chance. Mostly, I walk in Ohio's national forests.
I don't mind camping, but mostly i do it because it allows me to extend the walk.
Back when I was a kid, my old man told me to "Take a #$%^(* hike" when I was bugging him one day. So I did, and I've been on the same hike ever since with breaks to go to college and teach my classes.
A walkin' fool, as my old man referred to me afterwards,
StargazerSep 9, 2010 at 8:32 am #1644164
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
I like to walk too. I walk between 3 and 5 miles a day at work, I'd rather walk a ways than keep driving to find the closest parking space. I like that I am healthy and able to walk as much as I do. That said, the last mile scrambling up to L lake ( our first trip together), the climb to Glen Pass, breaking trail uphill with the snowshoes I borrowed from you, the miles of cobble hopping and sand walking on the lost coast ( our latest trip together) were not the most enjoyable- per se. The challenge was fun; the feeling of being strong was good; the thoughts in my mind ranged from almost absent in meditation to firing in rapid senseless succession. ( not a writer here ). They were the " work" part of something very enjoyable.
I prefer to harvest potatoes to digging a hole to plant a fruit tree but I don't dislike digging a hole; every time I look at or enjoy something that was hard to accomplish, I get the renewed reward and good feeling from it.
Hiking can be the work to get your other rewards and it can also be the reward itself, depending on where you are at.
Keeping your own pace has a lot to do with it too. My daughter likes to go slow and take lots and lots of breaks; I don't like taking breaks but rather keep a steady pace; some like to go fast and take frequent breaks. Those differences can make or break a hike, if you are just constantly keeping up or waiting for someone.
That was my bit.
I look forward to another trip together.Sep 9, 2010 at 9:05 am #1644171
I am the opposite. The destination is key, but the adventure in between is what I crave.Sep 9, 2010 at 9:56 am #1644190
Interesting thread, I like it.
I like hiking. I hike to see the beautiful places: the mountians, the waterfalls, different places.
I got interested in backpacking only to be able to visit more places and away from the crowds. I like a schedule and goals. Nothing is more rewarding to me than getting out achieving my goal of getting to the top of the mountian (or whatever!) and taking pictures along the way. I don't require a hard hike or big miles, just setting a goal and achieving it with enough difficulty to have a sense of accomplishment. Difficulty being subjective of course.
At the end of the day, I am happier with a shower and a nice bed and meal, but am willing to settle for a tent if the views are worth it. Buying the gear is more fun than actually using it!
I go light so I can take the DSLR and my wife will complain less.Sep 9, 2010 at 10:13 am #1644195
"Buying the gear is more fun than actually using it!"
It sounds like you have caught the "gear bug" and it could cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.Sep 9, 2010 at 10:16 am #1644196
Each to his or her own… not trying to change anybody's mind about anything…
I am not a morning person. I like to take my time — and will often hike slowly and make stops — to "drink in" the sights and smells along the way…
I sometimes wonder if, for some people, the hike feels like a chore — a necessary evil to get oneself to one's destination — precisely because they treat the hike as such??
There's a lot to be said about challenging oneself to cover maximum territory — to feel the "rush" of accomplishment at the end of the day. But there is also a lot to be gained by taking things slowly and enjoy them for what they are. Variety can be a very good thing for one's hiking experience.Sep 9, 2010 at 10:41 am #1644206
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Hey David, I really like your six reason to hike alot!!!
But for me hiking is number one on my list and it is the means to any destination. You can not backpack with out hiking. You might just want to simply car camp in the future-You can get all the same benefits of backpacking(six reasons) but you do not have to hike-except maybe to the outhouse are to the nearest creek..I really like the physicality of backpacking at altitude over multiple days enjoying the jaw-dropping scenery and the friendships formed. IMHO there is no correct way to backpack, everybody has there own personal comfort levels and physical limits. Too each is there own and you have to hike your own hike!!!
Dave Lutz enjoying a hike on the Grand Canyon of the Toulmne River this past June–I think you were having a blast at this particular time…Sep 9, 2010 at 11:05 am #1644213
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Personally I like to hike. The whole backpacking thing has only been so I can see more. It doesn't matter if it is a mile or a 20 mile day. I like watching the miles go by. But as for camping….meh.Sep 9, 2010 at 11:08 am #1644215
"I think you were having a blast at this particular time…"
Jay Wilkerson stalking Dave Lutz? Hmmm….. :)Sep 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm #1644239
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Colin Fletcher, in the Complete Walker (I believe), wrote something to the effect that he heads to the hills when normal life becomes stale and routine. For example, he relates how glorious it feels to take a hot shower after many days on the trail, but how in normal life a hot shower is just another mindless activity.
Of course, he loved being in on the trail. But he wrote that this rediscovery of joy in the "mundane" was another compelling reason for him to hit the trail.
Colin Fletcher, March 14, 1922 – June 12, 2007, RIP.Sep 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm #1644253
Elliott — isn't it fascinating how we humans are wired? :)Sep 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm #1644298
First what I don't like…
Getting to the trailhead . I am not very good with logistics
(where I grew up, my home was at the trailhead…)
Finding rubbish on the trail
Incessant chatting whilst walking.
What I like :
The walking because that allows me to do some thinking and discover new places or see again places i like to see again.
Arriving in a beautiful spot and setting up for the night.
Looking at , finding wildlife
Watching the night sky.
Being inside my shelter under torrential rain . I get my best sleeps then.
FrancoSep 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm #1644299
>Being inside my shelter under torrential rain . I get my best sleeps then.
+1 (As long as the storm that's producing torrential rains don't whisk me away to Oz [where Dorothy went via tornado, NOT Australia!])Sep 9, 2010 at 7:50 pm #1644382
Dave: I hope I'm not partially responsible for your lack of enthusiasm for hiking. I know I planned a fairly demanding trip in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. You would have liked the Deadman Canyon trip! A much more reasonable pace. And no flooding or snow.
Anyway, to address your question. All the things you mention are important to me too, but the actual hiking is unquestionably always at or near the top of the list. My favorite part of any trail day is the first steps out of camp, with a whole day of adventure ahead. Each day presents unanticipated challenges, and beauty.
Also, there is something about the pace of hiking – the act of walking – that stimulates the mind. Walking is the pace our brains are evolved to experience. I find joy in watching the landscape unfold at that pace. I also enjoy the way the mind and body fluctuates throughout each hiking day, experiencing frustration, ecstasy, joy, sadness, excitement, pain, etc. all flowing through me as I walk. A microcosm of life really.
In addition to backpacking, I day hike, city walk, neighborhood walk, dog walk, whatever, as much as I can every day. I find even a 20-minute walk at lunch enriches my day.
So for me, the hiking is central, though all the other things matter in their own way, but I'll save that for other posts.
Thanks for raising the issue, though, it's worth considering.
Ps. I'll keep your preferences in mind for future trips. You're still invited.Sep 9, 2010 at 9:02 pm #1644394
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
I'm enjoying reading everyone's posts.
The title "I don't like hiking" was intentionally provocative but is a slight exaggeration.
I guess one way to put it is that the rewards of my "Big 6" list are so great that I'm willing to hike to enjoy them.
I hate to come off as lazy – I love to ride my bike around town. And I think the best way to get the feel of a new place is to walk around.
But on a Saturday morning if it's between riding to the top of the ridge and walking, I'm on my bike every time.
I definitely hope I haven't knocked myself off anyone's invite list!
And Jeremy – the GCT trip played into my overall experiences for the year and therefore factored in to my education process, but I REALLY appreciated the opportunity to do the trip. They say you learn the most from your setbacks…Sep 9, 2010 at 10:02 pm #1644401
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I love walking— it's just those steep uphill parts. If North Dakota had timbered wilderness, well there would be a deal :)
It is my goal to retire and become a North Dakota landscape painter. I've already started:
________________________________________________________Sep 9, 2010 at 10:44 pm #1644407
drowning in spamMember
Actually, I don't care much for the camping either. It's the breaks that I desire. There are much nice rocks and trees that beg to be lounged on for hours. The walking just gets me from spot to spot and camping prolongs the experience.
I'm not saying the walking is bad, but I could do without it. If I had the option to ride a magic flying carpet along the trail, I would take it for sure.Sep 9, 2010 at 11:51 pm #1644423
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I started backpacking to get to the better fishing spots. Soon I stopped taking the fishing gear because I liked the hiking better, and the fishing just became a distraction to the hike.Sep 10, 2010 at 12:00 am #1644425
The two major components of backpacking, hiking and camping, have a symbiotic relationship. When I'm hiking, I can't wait to get to camp and set up my shelter, cook a meal, relax, nap, etc. But once I'm in camp and I'm all set up, then I can't wait to get back on the trail and discover more things! So, each one sort of feeds the desire of the other.Nov 19, 2010 at 9:25 pm #1666272
@sparkyLocale: Southern California
I have never really thought about liking one aspect of backpacking more than another, its all one thing. There is only one way to experience it.Nov 19, 2010 at 10:19 pm #1666280
@creachenLocale: East Bay
What came first the chicken or the egg?
For the record I love hiking because it keeps me fit, it burns calories and most important IMO I get to enjoy nature. You can not get to these spots with out hiking!
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