Wisdom from The Trail
(What I Learned While Hiking with Nature Adventurers)

  1. Hiking vs Backpacking. If you think the difference between hiking and backpacking is “just a matter of semantics” then you my friend are in for a big surprise. Hiking is walking with or without a pack and hardly ever overnight. On the other hand, backpacking is walking + camping + carrying ALL your gear on your back. So at the end of the day, the difference between hiking and backpacking is sleeping arrangements.

  2. “An early start”, a phrase open to wide interpretation. If you think hiking means a leisurely breakfast with family & friends forgetaboutit, especially if they use the phrase “get an early start”. Trust me, an early start means they want you at the trailhead at the first glimmer of sunlight and that means a 4am alarm, a microwaved breakfast and standing at the shuttle stop in the dark eating a chocolate bar.

  3. If you remember paper tickets with red ink carbons, then hiking means stretching. It also could mean sore muscles, BUT if you’re in relatively good shape, hiking is...wait for it...a walk in the park.

  4. Head Gear. You’ll probably want to wear a hat, (especially if it’s hot and sunny and HOT) and a legionnaire’s type cap (the ones that covers the neck and ears) is a “cool” choice. Our intrepid leader “Daniel Boone” wore one of these caps, I on the other hand went with my N.O. Saints cap with a golden fleur de lis and my Ray Bans of course - very cool

  5. Fast/Slow Hikers. Setting the pace with a mixed group of fast and slow hikers is rough RJ and I would often have to slow our pace and wait for the others, yeah hiking especially uphill with a heavy pack does take a toll on one’s knees, hips and… psyche, which could explain why the backpackers thought those kale chips and protein bars were tasty.

  6. Hard to Reach. Nature Adventurers always have some magnificent hard to reach spot they want to see and getting to this magnificent spot often involves a plane ride, followed by a car/RV/cab/bus/shuttle/bicycle/wagon or cart ride, hours of hiking, elevation gain and/or tramping through water, scrambling over boulders, navigating a narrow ridge, plus or minus a rickety bridge, a tent and sleeping on a rock. Bottom line – go with flow, these hard to reach places are magnificent and while you can probably see the spot on the internet there’s something to be said for standing in the middle of it (especially if there’s the option of going back to a hotel with a hot shower and bed at night).

Nature Adventurers talk a lot about nature and the journey, but I don’t we see how a soft bed a few sandwiches and taking a shuttle to the trailhead takes away from the “experience”. Besides isn’t it natural for man to take advantage of technology? I truly believe if Lewis & Clark had the option of a Humvee and a Hilton they would have would have seized the opportunity with both hands.