Why Backpack?

Why all the fuss about backpacking anyway? Why would anyone in their right mind actually
leave their automobile behind, leave all comfort behind, don 30-40-50 pounds on their back,
and walk up steep mountains, cross fast rivers, brave bears and snakes, and generally just
sweat a lot... all for what? A view that you can see by flipping through a coffee table book at
home?

Maybe it's because for a few precious moments we are in control of our lives. We have
planned the trip, we packed well, and we are in charge of everything that happens to us
during our trek.

Maybe it's to relinquish control. Knowing that if the trail were to crumble beneath your
feet on a cliff, you would fall and there wouldn't be much you could do about it.

Maybe it's a stress reliever. You get to leave behind your work or your classes and in many
cases your spouse, your kids, and your everyday life.

Maybe it's to experience silence. To stop all the noise of TV and traffic and our boss'
voices. To sit still and to not only hear the silence, but to feel it.

Maybe it's to open up all your senses. To smell the sun on wet bark. To feel the mossy rocks
in a cool hollow. To taste the dinner you prepared on your little stove up at 11,834 feet.

Maybe it's to see wildlife, the shy deer browsing, the brave squirrels chasing each other.

Maybe it's to allow time to sort through your emotions, to let them out in the open and to
solve them.

Maybe it's to stop your mind from thinking, to experience life on a basic level, only having to
think about what to wear, what to eat, when to filter water, how far to hike, and where to
sleep.

Me? What do I think it's all about? It's about a connection, one I make to the place and the
place makes to me. I try to impact a place as little as possible, but it definitely impacts me.
Everytime I go out into the forest I am renewed in my desire to protect it. It affects me
and I go back to work and I try in my ever-expanding circle of influence to make sure it will
be there to affect my children and their children.
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Moon rising over Hengst Peak
Sequoia National Park