My Love – Hate Affair With Backpacking
I’ve done more backpacking this summer than at any other time in my life so you might think that I loved backpacking to bits.
Me at Nigel Pass in Banff National Park
But you’d be wrong.
I’ve got a 50 pound plus load on my back in this photo
I love backpacking for the places it gets me into – that are completely inaccessible as a day hike. My two week trip to Baffin Island this summer is a good example of that. Other examples include the Chilkoot Trail in BC and Alaska, the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island and the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park.
Floe Lake on the Rockwall Trail
Superb scenery on these trips helps a little to alleviate the pain I feel carrying a pack.
I love the fact you can hike the trails early in the morning – while it’s quiet and when there is a good chance to see wildlife. Just last week I encountered this coyote only about twenty feet away while backpacking in the Skoki area.
Seeing a coyote focused on the hunt first thing in the morning
I love the solitude you can experience in an incredible part of the world – though normally I like to share the experience with someone. On my solo backpacking trip to Cape Chignecto this summer I saw no one for 2 ½ days.
Solitude on the Cape Chignecto Trail
I love the first light you can catch just by being out there.
Leaving Baker Lake early in the morning
But there’s much I hate about backpacking – with the feeling of being loaded down like a mule at the top of my list. Aching shoulders, sore hips and blistered feet are never fun.
I miss the comforts of everyday life – like a warm bed, a hot shower and clean clothes. I miss a pillow. Clothes stuffed in a sack are a poor substitute.
I prefer to backpack later in the summer when the biting insects have mostly disappeared. Last week on my three day trip into the Skoki area with my brother and niece the deer flies could drive you mad.
Although I usually eat very well on my backpacking trips I miss the glass of wine that accompanies the meal.
Rain and wind are never a backpacker’s friend either. I don’t mind a good thunderstorm if my tent isn’t leaking and I feel safe but hanging out in a tent because the weather is miserable outside gets tiresome quickly.
Despite the hardships of backpacking I’ll continue to do a few trips every year – mostly short ones that are only 3-4 days in length. Because in the end I love the sense of accomplishment I get from every trip I do.
Yes I have bad hair and I might smell but I’m feeling pretty darned great after finishing 6 days of backpacking in Colombia
How about you? Do you have a love/hate relationship with backpacking?
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