There is more to keep us in the city/suburbs than lead us to the backcountry. Think of the demands – catching up at work, getting ahead at work, paying bills, and attacking the honey-do list. There are tremendous demands to keep us close to home. The responsibilities are important, and sometimes urgent.
Go anyway. Years from today, you’ll never remember what kept you in town. At most, you’ll remember it as being “work,” or a family event. However, if you go to the backcountry, you may very well have an experience that is remembered for the rest of your life.
Many times, I’ve taken this advice, but not all the time.
On New Year’s Day of 2016, I decided to do something to remember the day. I had a dozen reasons to stay home, but I went anyway. The plan was to hike to a rock overlook, take some photos of the sunset, find a place to camp, and return home in the morning. I finished packing for the trip a little late. There was no way I would catch the sunset. I went anyway. I parked at trailhead parking and raced six miles south along the Appalachian trail (AT). The sun crept lower and lower in the sky. As the photo below shows, I missed the sunset by a short time, but the sky was still brilliant. After a hot dinner, I placed my tent on a mossy carpet and enjoyed a cold winter night.
On another occasion, I climbed 3 miles up a mountain to camp at a site I had passed years ago. I had begun training for an upcoming section hike and I thought a 3-mile up and down would be a good next step. Once again, I had plenty of reasons to be at home, but my wife encouraged me to take this time and return to a favorite section of the AT. I do not remember what I would have done at home during this time, but I will never forget this sunrise.
Perhaps the most dramatic Go Anyway example came in 2014, when I decided to climb one more summit on a day when my legs screamed, the shelter right here looks nice! The podcast, The First 40 Miles, featured this story in episode 135. Trailiac recorded a written version.
How many times has a backcountry experience waited for you, and you didn’t show up? When have you been glad you went anyway?
Here are four tips to backpack more, and be ready to go when you hear the call.