Lessons Learned From A Backpacking Adventure
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Lessons Learned From A Backpacking Adventure

When you carry your life on your back...

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Lessons Learned From A Backpacking Adventure

Getting out into the wilderness can be a much-needed break from everyday life. When it's just you and some friends out there, without the luxuries you've grown accustomed to, you have to change a bit. When you're living for days on end out of a backpack, you learn some things and you learn them fast.

1. All of a sudden, you're a minimalist.

Everything you carry just makes the bruises on your hips worse, so that food, especially the heavy stuff, has to be well worth it to put that extra weight in there, as does every layer. Who needs more than one change of clothes, anyway?

2. Never leave anything out to dry overnight.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F05%2F29%2F636001304930715003-1949747330_crying-in-rain-gif.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=710&h=77892d3a68660c192f60807066da8bee089ebb2ffe21cd99fbd3dfbe87176867&size=980x&c=3067530146 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F05%252F29%252F636001304930715003-1949747330_crying-in-rain-gif.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D710%26h%3D77892d3a68660c192f60807066da8bee089ebb2ffe21cd99fbd3dfbe87176867%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3067530146%22%7D" expand=1]

It won't dry -- but it will rain, and it will be soaked in the morning, and you will be forced to use it for the rest of the trip. But on that note…

3. Synthetic clothes actually do keep you warm when they're wet.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F05%2F29%2F636001305747374179-841564020_200.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=918&h=693b4391bd26882b000ff7fe6607858b45d2026ecf76c8f6408f5e4ad609dbc8&size=980x&c=28172286 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F05%252F29%252F636001305747374179-841564020_200.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D918%26h%3D693b4391bd26882b000ff7fe6607858b45d2026ecf76c8f6408f5e4ad609dbc8%26size%3D980x%26c%3D28172286%22%7D" expand=1]

Despite the fact that it seems impossible as you drag yourself out of your warm (and dry!) sleeping bag to put on soaking and freezing cold leggings, within a couple minutes of moving around, you'll find that you aren't an icicle yet.

4. Fellow backpackers are super friendly.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F05%2F29%2F636001306579303589-1937177200_anigif_40f241355e94ba7be2deae8dc63a9325-0.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=911&h=6e01599bf8d1aeb62116d8b7d68d6af4c097f12ee2e076f21027677f7f8b0bfe&size=980x&c=1823740976 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F05%252F29%252F636001306579303589-1937177200_anigif_40f241355e94ba7be2deae8dc63a9325-0.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D911%26h%3D6e01599bf8d1aeb62116d8b7d68d6af4c097f12ee2e076f21027677f7f8b0bfe%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1823740976%22%7D" expand=1]

They will lead you towards the path you somehow managed to totally lose, offer maps and matches and make sure your trip is going as smoothly as theirs.

5. Clouds are not as fluffy as your six year old self imagined them to be.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F05%2F29%2F636001307489022436-1971583931_rd-bounce.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=952&h=373d4d4216eb030b11302e110bc8adbf5d507acf331fb3b3a184e8bdd7d497f1&size=980x&c=3277382378 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F05%252F29%252F636001307489022436-1971583931_rd-bounce.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D952%26h%3D373d4d4216eb030b11302e110bc8adbf5d507acf331fb3b3a184e8bdd7d497f1%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3277382378%22%7D" expand=1]

Spend enough time in the mountains and you will eventually find yourself inside a cloud. There are no rainbows or unicorns, just a never-ending mist that soaks everything you own, no matter if it's under your tarp or not.

6. Expect the unexpected.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F05%2F29%2F636001309832622837-1321076759_9d62fd4fa48c4072_25.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=130&h=d6ab8ed3f159a836f15bc4d9b21b4d94ee336559901b900a7211ded0efdc0218&size=980x&c=1118811135 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F05%252F29%252F636001309832622837-1321076759_9d62fd4fa48c4072_25.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D130%26h%3Dd6ab8ed3f159a836f15bc4d9b21b4d94ee336559901b900a7211ded0efdc0218%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1118811135%22%7D" expand=1]

Trails get moved, it starts to pour when the sky was blue just a moment ago, there's a river that's waist-high and your trail continues on the other side. Sometimes you have to just deal with what's in front of you.

7. Organization is key.

Packing your pack is an art form. Nothing is worse in a sudden torrential downpour than realizing your rain gear is stashed in the furthest recesses of your pack.

8. When failure is not an option, you can and will find a way.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F05%2F29%2F636001311351835090937614389_giphy.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=579&h=9c168a143b50c4c9062f08b076c62568a34770794e641e82d2cdffb22414dbe9&size=980x&c=2800781203 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F05%252F29%252F636001311351835090937614389_giphy.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D579%26h%3D9c168a143b50c4c9062f08b076c62568a34770794e641e82d2cdffb22414dbe9%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2800781203%22%7D" expand=1]

You can't just not set up a bear hang if you're in bear country. Whether it takes two minutes or two hours, all that matters is that before you go to sleep, your food bags will be safely hanging from a branch of a tree, and you'll have engineered a way to get it there. All it takes is a little (or a lot of) creativity.

9. You are stronger than you thought.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F05%2F29%2F636001312208878967-21120381_you-cant-just-give-up-is-that-what-a-dinosaur-would-do_1185.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=923&h=5c09f04c2ce53786c4c6630e20dbdf8dcea280ece4499452d9edc48806676c57&size=980x&c=2865474772 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F05%252F29%252F636001312208878967-21120381_you-cant-just-give-up-is-that-what-a-dinosaur-would-do_1185.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D923%26h%3D5c09f04c2ce53786c4c6630e20dbdf8dcea280ece4499452d9edc48806676c57%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2865474772%22%7D" expand=1]

You will carry that 50 pound pack; you will get up that ridiculous uphill; you will cross the river without taking a swim downstream.

10. Sacred socks are heavenly and should never be treated as anything less.

When everything you own is soaked, at least you have warm, dry socks to put on. If you can spare sacred pants and a top as well, you're living the dream, and you get to be dry for at least a couple hours each day.

11. People are way more interesting than you ever gave them credit for.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F05%2F29%2F6360013143319674171670078853_635836660267579971-229360664_141022192157901_animate.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=609&h=dd63cff2cfa965754a7af569afb4050ebe460d7ccb5b65d580a6435b8a51ada8&size=980x&c=3171673217 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F05%252F29%252F6360013143319674171670078853_635836660267579971-229360664_141022192157901_animate.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D609%26h%3Ddd63cff2cfa965754a7af569afb4050ebe460d7ccb5b65d580a6435b8a51ada8%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3171673217%22%7D" expand=1]

When there's nothing to do but talk to each other (no cell phones, gasp) you'll learn extraordinarily interesting things about people that you never expected. When you finish the trip, you'll find that you know tons about the people you went with, even if you thought you knew them well before.

12. It could always be worse.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F05%2F29%2F636001314702024722-447983641_duDDJ.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=785&h=6e5a8336a9a8b7b751bb3d302ef83fe67450d0a92a7cb725c8b461d4b84e2bee&size=980x&c=3694402110 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F05%252F29%252F636001314702024722-447983641_duDDJ.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D785%26h%3D6e5a8336a9a8b7b751bb3d302ef83fe67450d0a92a7cb725c8b461d4b84e2bee%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3694402110%22%7D" expand=1]

Whatever the world has thrown at you while you're days away from seeing the inside of a car, it could always be worse. It's raining? Well, it could also be snowing. Water is a mile and a half away? Well, at least there's water. It seems like everything's falling apart? You and your friends are somehow going to wake up tomorrow morning, and it will be the start of a new day.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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