People give plenty of excuses for avoiding experiences like backpacking–and you can see some of those reasons and my arguments against them here.  But if you have even an inkling of interest, then you should try it!  Why?

1. The scenery.

Wilderness areas are scenic.  They’re beautiful. There is nothing like seeing wildflowers, bubbling brooks, unnamed mountain peaks, and wildlife all in one day.  It’s pretty fantastic.


View from the summit of the Falls Creek Trail in the Uncompahgre Wilderness

2. The solitude.

It’s quiet in the wilderness.  Depending on where and when you go, you may not see people for several days.  You might encounter a handful each day in more popular areas, but either way you’ll probably spend quite a bit of time hiking with only the company of eachother (assuming you’re hiking with someone).  It’s awesome: there are no trains, no car horns, no television commercials.


3. The mental strength.

Backpacking makes you a stronger person.  There will be times when switchbacks are steeper than you thought, when that trail is more exposed than you wished, and when that thunderstorm hits before you get the tent set up. In these moments, you have to be strong.  You have to take a deep breath and keep going.  The good thing is, because of the solitude, if you need to get angry for a minute or two, no one will be around to hear you!

4. The adventure.

Just think of the stories you can tell!  The pictures you can show off!  You’ve been on an adventure, just like Bilbo Baggins (though hopefully without the dragons or Gollum).  There is nothing better than returning from a trip and saying, “well, we had to cross the headwaters of the Rio Grande to get started but…” or “the hail storm the last night was insane, but we were safe and warm inside our tent.”

5. The chance to explore a new place. 

Backpacking is never boring.  Each trip and each new trail brings a chance to explore a new area.  You might find old miner’s cabins, or the remains of a dredge by a creek somewhere.  You’ll see views you’ve never seen before.  You’ll find hidden waterfalls created by snow runoff and maybe even (carefully) explore a cave or two. If you’re tired of the same old same old, then go backpacking!

waterfallYour turn:  What are your reasons for going backpacking?

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