This weekend I took a bunch of beginner backpackers along the Manistee River Trail (we had a few other veterans too!) and the trip went beautifully. It seemed like the experience really opened their eyes to how much one can really survive without. In fact… while on the trail, I did a lot of thinking about that exact thing. We live in a culture where we are constantly consuming and never really doing without. However, backpacking is almost entirely about just that. I think there is a lot we can learn from backpacking that really translates to every day life.
Friday night, we put down a few miles through the dark before eventually making it to our campsite. The night hike was beautiful and meditative as we marched through the flood plains of the Manistee River with our headlamps. The next morning we got an early start and hiked about 15 miles before eventually making camp along the North Country Trail. We took a pretty quick pace to make it that far. We took few breaks but did stop for a pretty long lunch at the suspension bridge, which is the halfway point. Dinner was relaxing, until the mosquitos chased us into our tents, and had a great view overlooking the National Forest. The next morning we woke early and made it out of the forest before 9 am. Although there were a few bumps along the way, the trip was overall an awesome one. Some pictures are below.
Taking people on trips and doing adventures may seem, externally, as just a fun thing to do, but not as something that really helps conservation. However, on backpacking trips, I really feel there are direct lessons we can learn that may make us think twice when we go to buy stuff that we don’t need. In fact, it is just extra weight. I hope to take more groups out on some of these beautiful trails in the midwest, in hopes to spread that awareness and make people want to carry a little less both on their backs, but also in life.