Why I Enjoy Backpacking

I have been asked many times over the years why I enjoy backpacking so much.  Well, I am not sure there is a single answer for that question. There is both the physical and the mental challenge that in like placing myself.  Of course, there is the adventure aspect of backpacking.  Carrying everything you need for a week on your back while traversing 50+ miles of wilderness.  Not knowing from one moment to the next what is up ahead.  Maybe it is the friendships that I have developed over the years while backpacking in the wilderness with buddies of mine.  Of course, those of you who know me well understand that I really enjoy the whole outdoor experience. 
I remember several years ago backpacking in the Pecos Wilderness Areas just outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico.  My friend Wayson, his son and I were on a four day hike to Hermits Peak.  This is a 10,880 foot peak in the New Mexico Rockies.  There are many things that I will always remember about this trip, maybe because this was my first ever backpacking trip in the Rockies.  Up until that time, I had only backpacked in the southeast.  I remember how cold it got in the mornings and this was in July.  I remember the adventure of crossing the same creek 29 times on the 9 mile uphill hike the first day.  I remember the painting that God created just for me and my friends as we sat on Hermits Peak watching the sun rise on our last day.  What a breath taking view!  
This summer I took my son Joseph on his first 50+ mile backpacking trip.  What a blessing it was to be with my son his first long backpacking trip.  We even covered the same part of the Appalachian Trail that I did on my first 50 mile trip back in the summer of 1974.  So there were many story’s that I had forgotten about my first hike on the AT that I got to share with him.  Yes, he even laughs at me on some of them.  But on this trip, I began to see my son not just as a teenage boy, but as a young man.  To watch him struggle and overcome a hard 13 mile day; and be willing to do it all over again the next morning.  To see the life lessons he has learned be applied each day with the responsibility he had on the hike.   What a wonderful way to spend a week.
The funny things that happen on different backpacking tips that seems to be shared over and over again.  To buddies of mine (Jim Sowell and Don Hamlin) and I had hiked into Addis Gap Trail Shelter (Appalachian Trail) on a VERY COLD January night many years ago.  The cold was not the funny part nor was the hike that afternoon.  I seem to remember it being a really hard hike, maybe due to the extra weight we were carrying because of the extreme cold that weekend.  The funny part was as we set around the fire that night trying to warm up.  It seems that I got one of my boots so close to the fire that the sole started to pull away from my boot.  The heat from the fire has actually heated my boot up so much that the sole completely separated from the boot and fell off.  This was quite hilarious to Jim and Don, and eventually I found the humor of it.  (Since that trip, I have always carry some duct tape.)  I can just here the retelling of this story the next time Jim, Don and I get together for a trip and all the laughter we will have.  Oh, then there is the time that I got hit on the head by a falling branch as I was gather in fire wood.  I had better stop now with those stories.  I can see Jim and Don rolling on the floor in their homes laughing now. 
So why do I like backpacking so much.  These are just a few of the reasons.  If you are looking to create some memories with your family and or fiends, why not try a weekend backpacking trip, who know it could change your life.