Backpacking & Hiking
I've been hiking and backpacking, off and on, for many years.
I've hiked with a number of local hiking clubs in the Baltimore - Washington area
including: Sierra Club, Mountain Club of Maryland, Center Hiking Club, Potomac
Backpackers, Capitol Hiking Club, Ski Club of Washington DC (SCWDC), and Columbia Ski
Club. In recent years most of my hiking has been with the Sierra Club,
or private hikes.
I really prefer backpacking over day hiking. Backpackers can get to places that day hikers
can only read about in magazines. Also your senses are stimulated much more: you see,
hear, feel, and smell much more when you're in the wilderness for the entire twenty four
hour daily cycle. I've found that backpackers and day hikers have a very different outlook on
hiking in general. Day hikers are to backpackers what snorkelers are to scuba divers -
rookies. While I do quite a bit of dayhiking since its less time consuming than
backpacking, I am always amazed at how poorly prepared most dayhikers are.
I've done 400 to 500 dayhikes just in Shenandoah National Park alone.
Backpackers have to be able to solve a lot of problems. These include:
initial research about the trip; planning the trip
route; selecting and preparing the appropriate gear; knowing how to use the gear; physical
conditioning; selecting a menu for the duration and difficulty of the trip; selecting good
campsites; purifying drinking water; cooking and cleaning up after; getting your body
clean; staying warm and dry for extended periods in inclement weather; staying on your
route or getting back on with good map and compass skills. Other activities that make the
trip more enjoyable include: photography, writing, sketching, looking for interesting
plants and animals, or using an amateur radio transceiver.
Technical Hiking Information