Transformation comes in many forms and in many aspects of your life.
You might be wondering where I’ve been. Saturday I took off into the woods with a friend and my dog (my pups first backpacking trip) for a backpacking trip.
It was a great chance to escape the normal hustle and bustle of life, to reset, rejuvenate, try something old in a new way and make an acquaintance into a friend (a real, live, friend).
It got me thinking about hiking and backpacking and how this all got started and where I’ve been.
I started out camping and doing day hikes as a kids. Camping was what we did on vacation and it was enjoyable. I have lots of great memories of the week or two that we spent up at Skycroft camping, playing, making friends, walking around the campsite, swimming in the lake, playing on the island (a grouping of rocks just off the shore) making crafts in the wood shop and playing games in the barn.
In college I got into backpacking with my dad and eventually went on to be a co-instructor on a course that had a Backpacking component.
Fast forward through more trial and error, more learning, more hiking, more gear experiments and trips and I was ready for my first long distance hike, the Appalachian Trail.
After the AT, came the Pacific Crest Trail and then the Continental Divide Trail. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,500 miles backpacked on those 3 trails alone. That means I’m what’s known as a Triple Crowner, many would think I am a badass (and I am) but I’m also introspective. And what I know is that you learn a good bit, you grow and later you reflect.
Below you can see my (and my dad’s) backpacking transformation. The picture on the left is Dad, me and our dog Oakin. It was our first ever backpacking trip. We are dressed in cotton, with gigantic backpacks (my dad’s is literally a suitcase with shoulder straps and a hip belt), the wrong gear, not enough water and ignorance.
The picture on the right is the start of my Continental Divide Trail hike. Dad hiked the first week with me. We’ve changed a lot. We’ve got good gear, small and streamlined packs, synthetic clothes, experience and enough water (and know how to treat water sources). Those pictures were taken 10 years and 1 month apart (interestingly enough, the picture on the right was taken almost 10 years ago…6/15/17 will be 10 years on the dot).
You see transformation comes in many forms, in many aspects of life. I’ve continued to learn, to evolve, to add to my knowledge base, to learn more about the outdoors and the ecosystems, more about Leave no Trace practices, more about me.
Transformation is one of the ways I create freedom in my life. Constant growth, continual learning, stepping outside my comfort zone, trying something new, it’s all part of the freedom.
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