We traveled 80% of our summer. During all that time, I took exactly one trip during which I didn’t work. Didn’t record notes, didn’t snap photos, didn’t tweet or post or gram or vine. One.
It was a five mile hike into this lake, pocketed below a saddle of Northern California’s Trinity Alps. We stayed three nights and three days, and all we did is hike, swim, read, and fish. I love backpacking for many reasons, but as my life gets busier and more complicated by the day, I think this is what I love most:
Backpacking is inherently simple.
It is one foot in front of the other. It is one trail, intersecting with the next. It is life stripped down to the bare essentials: 1. get water 2. get shelter 3. get food 4. get warmth.
We arrive at our campsite. We seek out our water source. We sit by the creek and we pump the water through our filters. We assemble tents. We start a fire. We cook our meals. We wash our dishes. We gather firewood. These tasks take us most of our day.
Nothing else matters: not what’s on Facebook, not phone messages, not appointments or obligations. The ‘wants’ fall away: there’s no hot shower. There’s no shopping. There’s no internet surfing on the couch or ice cream in the freezer. Only the ‘needs’ remain: we need to be warm. We need to be fed. We need to see this view of granite and pine and earth and sky. These are our needs.
For the kids, it’s about the adventure. The crashing through forests. The boulder scrambling. The running from yellow jacket nests. The attempts to catch fish with bare hands. The joy of being filthy dirty. It used to be about that for me, too. Now I need only a good book and a collapsible chair and a view.