You learn a lot while backpacking, especially about yourself. I’m pretty sure the nine backpackers I spent this past weekend with in Linville Gorge know a lot more about themselves today than they did before our trip.
The weekend trip was an Intermediate Skills trip, meaning participants needed some backcountry experience, though not necessarily in a wilderness. It was targeted to people eager to expand their skills and push their comfort level. And that they did.read more
Before every backpack trip, we hold a trip planning meeting. We call it a “trip planning” meeting; in truth, the trips are pretty much already planned. It’s more of a “trip explanation” meeting. We go over basic logistics: carpooling, the route, the campsites, where we’ll find water, the weather forecast, any special precautions to take — for instance, if it’s an exposed route, bring extra sunscreen; if there are multiple water crossings, bring water shoes; if there are bears, bring a bear canister.read more
The first time I went on a solo backpacking trip, I didn’t.
It was back in the 1990s, I’d been backpacking with friends for about 5 years, and convinced myself I should take a solo backpack trip. I felt good about my basic backpacking skills, I loved hiking alone … still, there was this worrisome doubt.read more
It was cold and dark, and we were occasionally plunked with raindrops. But not a one of us moved from our spot by the fire.
“What is it about a campfire?” someone asks.
We’re drawn to fire for its light and heat, of course. But for us, on a three-day backpack trip on the Neusiok Trail in the Croatan National Forest, it was less about survival and more about pondering, as Guy Noir might say, life’s persistent questions. Like whether one would survive a freeze-dried meal with an expiration date of 1997. (Answer: yes, surprisingly.)read more