Carry Things that Lighten the Load

There are some things I can carry backpacking that, despite their weight, make my experience more enjoyable. Some things on my packing list are things I need: a tent, my stove, food, etc. Other things I carry just because they will make the trip more fun. For example, I usually take a book and I…

Seek out Excess

I love it when things turn out to be more than the sum of their parts. For example, I love mountains. But what we can see of a mountain is so much less than what we get. If you add up all the dirt, trees, animals, trails, and air that make up a mountain, all…

Be Olympic Passionate

I recently got interested in reading about what Olympians do to make money. I was inspired to find that many of them work in fields unrelated to their sports. When watching the Olympics, it is easy to imagine these super-humans training 16 hours a day for four straight years. Surely, to be at that level…

Mountains do Change

Mountains, despite their immovability, seem to change over time. But I’ve come to realize that it is not the mountains but ourselves that are changing. Every time I see mountains they look different. Even if I am seeing the same ones, they evoke a different feeling each time I encounter them. And it goes beyond the changing seasons…

Be Tough

Sometimes I write blogs as if I can see sunshine and rainbows in any situation but the truth is sometimes the road gets rough and I have to just be tough to get through it. Sometimes things just sort of suck. Not many things are as easy as sitting on the couch and watching Netflix. I…

Appreciate Experiences

It’s always interesting to me when a set of routines begins to feel like a whole world or an entire life. Sometimes in those situations, I feel like I could continue with that routine for the rest of my days. But I am inevitably flung headfirst into my next adventure seemingly without warning or preparation and…

Utilize Load-Lifters

There are some tools at our disposal which can make the things we do infinitely easier. I think it is important to find these tools and utilize them to their full potential. There is really only one skill when it comes to backpacking and it has to do with the set-up of the backpack. Anyone…

Ride the Wave of Experience

No matter how many times I do something, there is always the faintest sense that I am doing it for the first time. I went to Cedar Point to ride roller coasters recently. I am a huge fan of thrill rides and have ridden many of them in the past. Despite this, I got as…

Have Faith in Steps

It takes a lot of faith of different varieties to do the things we need to be successful.  I talk a lot about clearing away, opening up, and just letting things happen but I don’t talk enough about how to do that. And I think faith is the key. I don’t necessarily mean religious faith although…

Tell Her Your Plans

“If you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans.” Religion aside, this says a lot about the way of the world. I read this quote recently in Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and it punched me in the gut. Every now and then, a writer can put into words a thought or an ideal which…

Greatness is in the Steps

If hiking has taught me nothing else, it is that things happen one step at a time. Greatness is the process, not the destination. There might be things in life that just happen. A person might win the lottery after buying a ticket for fun. But most things happen gradually with a lot of effort….

Put Your Head Down

“Some days, you just have to put your head down and hike.” I have been fortunate to share camps on the Appalachian Trail with thru-hikers, those people who set out to hike all 2,000 miles without significant breaks. One summer, my hiking partner and I happened to be in the Shenandoah Mountains while the thru-hikers…