Backpackers hit the trail

The idea of spending multiple days hiking in the outdoors while carrying a heavy backpack between campsites might not sound appealing to most, but there are a select few that enjoy the challenge and adventure that can be found through backpacking.

Backpacking is an outdoor activity that is essentially where hiking meets backcountry camping. One must carry everything they need for the week on his or her back, including food, water and shelter, as they hike from camp to camp.

Alex Adamson, junior, has been backpacking for several years, starting when he joined the Boy Scouts at age 10. “One of the first trips I went on in Scouting was a backpacking trip, and I liked it,” Adamson said. “I stuck with it and liked it even more when I was backpacking with my friends.”

Through backpacking, Adamson has traveled to different places around the United States. “Over the summer, I traveled down to Philmont, which is a huge reserve in New Mexico, and just over winter break we went up to a place in Minnesota to go snow backpacking,” Adamson said.

Jenny Forca and Rachel Morales, both seniors, have been on many backpacking trips together over the past few years. “It was freshman year when we first went,” Morales said. “My mom just kind of suggested that we go out and go backpacking, so here we are.”

Although Forca and Morales had been on several backpacking trips, they both agreed that their trip to Mammoth was their most enjoyable trip. “Mammoth was my favorite place that I have backpacked,” Forca said. “Yeah, It was hot, but there was snow on the mountains that we were on,” Morales continued.

As with most activities that take place outdoors, weather plays a huge role in the experience one has on the trail. “You can never properly plan for weather; it’s always crazy,” Morales said. “It’s either blazing hot or freezing cold.”

Weather heavily impacted Forca and Morales’ trip up to Mammoth. “It rained for like 3 hours,” Morales said. “ I slept in a sleeping bag but I was entirely submerged in water so I was freezing the entire night.”

Adamson reflected on his own experiences with the weather as well. “There was this one time, down when we were backpacking in New Mexico, where we were on top of this mountain and a huge thunderstorm started,” Adamson said. “There was lightning striking and hail falling and we were just like, ‘We need to get down!’ ”

While the weather can be crazy, backpacking offers an escape from daily life that other outdoor activities cannot emulate. “My favorite part is probably just the disconnection from the rest of the world. You don’t have to deal with anybody else other than yourselves for the time you spend on the trail,” Forca said.

Even though the experience offered by backpacking is one of a kind, backpacking is relatively easy to get into. “You just really need to have a backpack, a sleeping bag and the desire to adventure out into the unknown,” Adamson said. “I’d highly recommend backpacking to those that really crave adventure and want to do things that other people don’t do very often.”

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