Jun 20, 2014 at 3:29 am #1318146
@gordongLocale: Front Range, CO
I found this entertaining. What was more entertaining was the pissing contest of comments at the end. Tempted to chime in but no need.Jul 1, 2014 at 1:30 pm #2116493
makes me wonder why we like backpacking so much, considering all the dirt, discomfort, bugs, sleeping on the ground, bad food, extremes of weather. Yet there is something that surpasses all discomfort to make it worthwhile to some. Can it be explained logically, or is it just "if you don't get it, I can't explain it to you"Jul 14, 2014 at 7:34 am #2119549
@asciibaronLocale: Mid Atlantic
i usually get some strange looks when i tell people i'm going backpacking for the weekend. "you sleep in the woods, alone, in a tent, in the woods?" i guess for me it's about being closer to nature, pushing myself outside of the normal daily life, and exploring and learning.
my ex-wife didn't like dirt. we tried camping once, it didn't go well. poopin in the woods just wasn't gonna happen. no running water, no toilets, no a/c.
so many people would succumb to the wolves ;)Jul 14, 2014 at 7:39 am #2119552
Thank You buzzfeed.
Keep up the good work.Jul 14, 2014 at 7:41 am #2119553
@harry-nLocale: Western US
Sleeping in the city or town isn't a picnic either. Had my share of loud, rude people with kids or pets inside decent medium priced hotels or even hostels. Schizoids in the hallway reading bible verses or poetry until the mean granny manning the front desk tells them to shut the H up. Drunks can mistake your front door and badger you all night, at home or hotel … or leave a "memento" . One thing I'll never do again is sleep by a major tourist town – nothing like having the town fool start yelling conversations with himself at 3 AM.Jul 14, 2014 at 7:45 am #2119554
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Get a hammock and be civilized :)
You can have fantastic food on shorts trips and if you don't, it's all your fault.
Bugs are part of the deal. Timing can control that somewhat.
I remember an incident while car camping: the family next to us was in a huge motor home and the mom stuck her head out the door and said to her husband, "BOB, the BLENDER doesn't work!"
They should all stay home, leaving more resources and quiet for those who appreciate the wonders of Creation :)Jul 14, 2014 at 8:23 am #2119566
I am thankful that most people don't enjoy it and stay in the cities and suburbs.
They would ruin the wilderness if they call came out.
Keep them in their padded cells… :)
BillyJul 14, 2014 at 8:28 am #2119567
I don't actually like camping. I like everything up until it is time to sleep. The ground is not as comfortable as my bed. The temperature isn't regulated. I like showers. I like complete dark to sleep. I like white noise from a fan.
But I love hiking and the outdoors. Some places you just can't see on a dayhike. It is nice to escape the trailhead crowds. And mornings, even after minimal sleep, with a great mountain view are fantastic!Jul 14, 2014 at 8:33 am #2119570
As for my non-backpacking non-virtual friends (a.k.a. my friends) it seems we never get to the sleeping on dirt question. The first question they always ask is "where do you use the bathroom" and when the answer come back "not in a bathroom" they wish to hear nothing further. Then I usually ask if they have ever crapped in the woods, and assert that it is much more enjoyable than they think, and so on. Even when I break out my piece de resistance, an account of "the mountain throne", an "outhouse" in Sequoia NP up in the high country that consists of a pit with a toilet seat (and nothing else) with the whole sierra divide spread out in front of you in the distance, a deep gorge to one side with roaring waterfalls 2000 feet below running through it, and Marmots frolicking it the field of flowers at your feet, still they are unmoved to join me.
I have a theory about dirtiness. My theory is that we are more sensitive to changes in our body than the actual static conditions. I think this probably has some adaptive function, but never mind that. What people feel as "being uncomfortably dirty" is usually in fact caused my recently having become dirty. The trick for being comfortable is that once equilibrium has been reached, where the dirt is falling off you as fast as it is getting on you then you are in a comfortable state of stasis. Of course if there is a nice lake to jump in I can't resist. There is after all the inverse effect – the extreme pleasure of getting clean again. But it is the pleasure of GETTING clean, not BEING clean.
If ever allowed to get to the "you can't know clean unless you have been dirty" argument, my friends reject that one too. :-(Jul 14, 2014 at 9:23 am #2119592
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Look where I pooped in the sierras! You can't ask for a better view when you need to go than this. I couldn't afford a view like this at home, but for pretty much nothing, I had views like this all day long, from my "bedroom", from my "kitchen", from my "bathroom" and from my "commute" each day.Jul 14, 2014 at 3:25 pm #2119687
for me, part is about cleansing your senses of highway, tv, and electronic sounds, and substituting that with natural sensations. Like the sound and feel of wind, the sights of lakes and green meadows, and the smell of trees and plants. All the sights, smells, and sounds of the mountains are clean and pure, and refreshing. Even breathing the air is delightful. I have to say I don't sleep very well, but I love the cool air and being warm in the sleeping bag.
Besides the immersion of the senses, there is a calmness to walking. I think my walking takes me to a place somewhat like people who find peace in meditating, chanting, yoga, running, or cycling. I feel peaceful and calm when walking. Even walking uphill, I seriously feel like I am floating, with no effort at all. I used to attribute this feeling to being in great shape, but I'm not in great shape anymore, and I still feel like I float up the trail. Maybe this is the zen that Buddhists seek through meditation, and would explain why I get antsy when I have not been out hiking for awhile.
In actuality, the discomforts are either not that big of a deal, or are just different ways to experience nature. The cold of the morning is balanced by a hot cup of coffee. The hot of the day goes well with a snocone made of snow and coolaid. The blister on the foot, the mosquitoes, scraped knee, are really quite minor issues. The feeling of sweat and grime is easily taken care of by a dip in a lake, and that invigorated feeling when coming out of a cold lake is hard to replicate in town. If people can't figure out a comfortable way to poop in the woods, they are not very imaginative.Jul 14, 2014 at 4:10 pm #2119700
I love it all… the cold shivering morning with hands that sting, the firm foam pad to sleep on that makes me sore in the morning, the hot sweaty climbs in the sun… the cold baths… and pooping in the woods…. love all of it…
It wakes you up to life…
BillyJul 14, 2014 at 4:50 pm #2119705
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
I brought my brothers 8 year old kid to Muir Lake in Horseshoe Meadow.
He wanted to go up high in altitude and I wanted to push him a little (about 5 1/2 miles each way).
While on our way there in the car, he was glued to the phone playing video games.
I would say "look at that" and get a 1/2 second look from him.
He had fun, but he said more than a dozen times that this is a lot of work, just to go to a lake.
When we got back to the car the next day, he had the phone in his hand the whole way down waiting for reception and started to play games the second we did.Jul 14, 2014 at 5:20 pm #2119713
Piper, it may be just me, but the snow on the slope across the lake in your photo looks exactly like Bart Simpson skateboarding.Jul 14, 2014 at 5:33 pm #2119719
You've been watching WAYYYYYY tooooo much TV Marko…
Just say no, man!
BillyJul 14, 2014 at 7:46 pm #2119759
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
"If it were easy, the woods would be full."
Call it selfishness or call it enlightenment, but…
I'm thankful there aren't all that many people who can go up into the mountains confidently when it's 25 below zero.
I'm thankful there are few people who feel comfortable many miles from "civilization" in a tent with thunder, lightning and rain engulfing them.
I'm thankful that only a tiny percentage of the population has the mental fortitude to endure hour after hour, day after day of putting one foot in front of the other, and actually enjoy it.
Does that somehow make our very small subset of the population "special" or "better"?
Maybe, but I like to think we're just much luckier. Lucky to appreciate the enormous intangible benefits, lucky to see and experinece things other people can only dream about, lucky to have the sheer physical ability to do them, and lucky to actually make it a priority in our lives and execute our plans.
And damn if that doesn't look like Bart Simpson on a skateboard!Jul 14, 2014 at 11:02 pm #2119818
…Jul 15, 2014 at 10:17 am #2119894
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
I recall Colin Fletcher (The Complete Walker) saying something to the effect that one of the virtues of backpacking is that after you return, having not had a shower in days/weeks/months, how good taking a shower feels. When you take them every day the experience becomes stale and routine, and you only rediscover the true feeling after a long abstention. The same is true for innumerable other civilized activities.
He doesn't mean that backpacking to him is a long series of deprivations, far from it, but that afterwards you return to civilization refreshed and with your mind open, not numb from endless, mindless routine and assaults on your senses.Jul 15, 2014 at 4:57 pm #2120025
Yes it does…
Jul 15, 2014 at 5:16 pm #2120029
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I'm selfish – with Bob M.
CheersJul 15, 2014 at 5:46 pm #2120041
You know…it does look like Bart!Jul 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm #2120051
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Oh no! Now I can't unsee it!Jul 16, 2014 at 1:47 pm #2120282
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
I love hiking. I love the outdoors. But honestly, I don't actually like sleeping outside. I have never enjoyed that part. I have often seen backpacking as a means to an end – so I can see more miles, more sites.
Before I had my last two kids, I went on a frenzy for 2 years to do longer mile days – so I could come home and sleep at night. Worked for me.
My problem is I get bored after awhile – the point of hiking is it is an activity I enjoy. But once in camp…well, after setting up, eating, cleaning up….and watching nature, eventually I run out of things to do. Granted now I have a smartphone with many books to read (woot!) but I also miss my kids.
And don't get me going on winter camping. Not much more boring than being in a tent at 5 pm, in the dark :-PJul 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm #2120319
…Jul 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm #2120333
Personally, unless there is a rock in my back I couldn't be happier sleeping on the ground outside. My main problem is I also love to lie there in the early morning watching the light change and listening to the birds and other noises, and don't like to get up early.
If not for necessary bodily functions I might not get up until noon.
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