By Margaret Hedderman
Backpacking is kind of counter intuitive to evolution when you think about it. Throughout the history of human beings, we have created and/or discovered methods of getting out of work. Like inventing animals and cars. So, when you think about going into The Wild for days on end, carrying all your crap on your back, one must wonder – where’s my donkey cart?
I imagine the drive for a lot of backpackers comes from a Thoreau-inspired notion of getting back to nature – which is funny because we’ve spent so much time and money getting the hell away from nature with all its bears and poison ivies and… roaches… ugh… There’s also the gear. Seriously, I’m a walking gear shoppe. I mean, I can’t even remember the last time I wore deerskin backpacking. It could quite possibly have been never… Anyway, the modern man’s version of “getting back to nature” sure does rely A LOT upon the high tech inventions of civilization.
A few years ago, my (pre)boyfriend and I embarked on a 20+ mile “day-hike” over five mountains. All we wanted was to say that we had done it. (Which we so did.) Isn’t that a huge factor in a backpacking trip – to say that you did it?
For me, a schlepping over difficult terrain and sleeping in the dirt is just as much about being in the outdoors as it is about not being in the city. It’s about slowing down and seeing what’s around you and thinking about it. How often do you think about the scenery you drive through on your daily commute? And I like “getting back to nature” in the sense that I can at least pretend that I kind of belong there.