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MAY. 8, 2013

The Simple Life of the Backpacker

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By Lucas Newton, Hante Adventures Coordinator

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When life condenses itself into the same three needs that animals need in order to survive in the woods, life becomes much more simpler.  Cooking meals, hanging bear bags, filtering water, and putting up tarps become an organic and clockwork process whenever you reach your “destination” for the evening.  Your destination may already be planned, but most of the time leaders take full advantage of the later sunsets, renewed energy of the students and the amount of water the group currently has to determine where they will lay their  head for the rest of the evening.

When you’re trekking, your belly is happy with whatever warm foods you consume, the air is so fresh with the spring buds emerging after a long winter, and you simply feel alive!  The best part is the sense of community, or as I like to call it, trail family, that emerges when placed in such an amazing environment.  Students must rely on one another; know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, not be afraid to be completely open and honest with each other to simply live well together in the woods.

I recently completed my biannual 10-day backpacking trek on the Appalachian Trail in North Caroline / Tennessee with students at The Outdoor Academy.  We had such beautiful and amazing weather, except for one day when we were stuck in a rain cloud all day. I definitely didn’t wish for the simple living to end.  We were sad to find out about the  Boston bombings when we called to check in with the Pisgah Forest office on that rainy Friday. While we were sitting in puddles, soaking wet in our tarp, we counted our blessings.

My group, the Ninjas, summited Max Patch bald on our first day, met lots of great thru-hikers, delivered some great “trail magic” by making sandwiches for a couple of German thru-hikers, and covered much of the same portion of the Appalachian Trail that Hante Trek NC is going to hike this summer.  Simple living, trail families, warm food and laughter await, there are still a few spots available to be a part of this wonderful experience.

To see more pictures for the OA Trek, please follow this link.