My First Backpacking Trip
Spring Break Backpacking Trip
My uncle took me on my first backpacking trip when I was in fifth grade. I had gone camping prior to that and really loved the experience. My parents however, were not much into the outdoors. They would go for a picnic for a few hours, and that was about it. Forget about a trip to the wilderness. Let alone spending a night there.
Luckily, I had an uncle who was quite an outdoorsman. He loved fishing, and I had gone on a few fishing trips with him. As much fun as those fishing trips were, we always came home at the end of the day. Besides, we always went to a lake close to the city, and we could still hear the noise from the freeway. Not exactly what I would call the wilderness. So I was really excited when he asked me to go along on a backpacking trip into the woods during my spring break.
To get there we first had to drive to the area which took about half a day. We spent the night in a rustic motel which was a wonderful experience in itself. We started bright and early the next day, and I saw there were a number of other people wandering about. I asked my uncle why it was so crowded. He told me not to worry; we stayed in a popular spot for people to start their hiking trips, but they were not all going to the same place.
He was right. Before dusk we were already surrounded by a stillness like I had never experienced before. We could hear a few birds and insects sing every now and then, and that was it. I marveled at the true wonder of nature. But at the same time I was a little scared as that was my first time being in the wilderness. I took comfort in the fact that my uncle was an experienced backpacker and had been there before.
The first night backpacking
The scenery at the campsite was gorgeous. It was a rise above a large mist-covered lake. By the time we got there my feet were hot and a bit painful. I was longing to go barefoot, so I asked my uncle if that would be ok. He said yes, but warned me to watch where I was going and not to wander off too far. So off came the shoes and socks, and it was exhilarating. I felt total freedom and one with Mother Earth.
The moon was brightly shining, and its reflection on the rippling water created a mystical scene. I could hear crickets and other night creatures around us. The cool breeze gently caressed my skin. I wanted to stay awake and continue to enjoy it all, but was soon overtaken by exhaustion and fell asleep in that heavenly night.
The rest of the backpacking trip
The next morning I woke up to a ray of sunshine and the smell of a cooking fire. My uncle was preparing breakfast. Cooking outdoors was another wonderful part of the backpacking trip. The aroma of the burning wood and the sweet scent of pine trees carried by the refreshing wind from the lake all added to the flavor.
My first backpacking trip wasn't perfect, however. I had a few minor mishaps. My bare feet stepped on a thorn a couple of times but I still refused to wear shoes. I figured the few days there were my brief moment of total freedom. I would not be able to go barefoot as much once I got back home.
Then I fell and skinned my knees once trying to climb up a hill. Luckily, my uncle brought a good first aid kit. Still, it was so painful that I cried. My uncle said that everything, good and bad, was all part of the whole experience that made it valuable. He then told a couple of jokes to make me laugh.
Our backpacking trip came to an end far too quickly. But it was an experience I would treasure forever. I have since gone on a few more backpacking trips and they were all fantastic but none was quite as memorable as the very first one.
The second video is on backpacking barefoot. I have never done it (the hiking part) myself but it can be done and sounds like fun.
Do you like backpacking in the wilderness? Share your thoughts or just let me know you stopped by.