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How Did Backpacking Change My Life?

Years ago when I was in college there was a yearning I had to try and do something more in my life that challenged me beyond my comfort zone. So when the opportunity came my way to try and go camping/backpacking, I jumped at the idea.  Of course back then my backpack was pretty big and I knew nothing about trusting the trail. In fact, my first experience was full of rain, flood, and a bear scavenging through our food.

My desire to push myself in the outdoors was still very prevalent. So by sheer luck, I started hanging around a crowed who loved rock climbing. I was immediately obsessed with the challenge of climbing a rock face and the feeling of Adrenalin when reaching the top. In fact, it was very rewarding and filled my soul with self-esteem and confidence.

Years of scaling rock faces (and some epic ice climbs) also brought one day a blown knee. I blew out my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on a ice climb in Michigan and was never to climb again. That really sucked.

So back to backpacking. Since I couldn’t climb I wasn’t going to be denied my dose of Mother Nature. So after I was given a green light to hike, I started backpacking and trying to remember what I had learned on that rainy night. More and more I went on overnights and trekked through some pretty amazing wilderness areas. Every time I hit the trail it seemed like a brand new experience and gave me such pure joy. It renewed my sould like nothing else ever. I could go anytime I wanted and could go at it alone, by myself to have that time just for me.

It really did change my life.

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In 2003 I completed a Thru-Hike on the Appalachian Trail. Since then I have over 12,000 miles underfoot and 20 years of backpacking, and camping experience. Certifications include WFA, WFR, LNT Trainer, and belong to AORE. Have been guiding backpacking trips for over 10 years. The outdoors has taught me one thing. Trusting the Trail! really does provide everything a person needs.

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