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Learning the Hard Way: The Grayson Highlands Backpacking Incident

Learning the Hard Way: The Grayson Highlands Backpacking Incident

Whether it was spending the week camping with siblings or building stick shelters in the alleyway behind my house, I’ve always been what I describe as “an outside dog.”

As a kid, I came across an old U.S. Army survival manual and the thought of survival and self-reliance captured my imagination. The minimalist passion with which I started my life outside has persisted and evolved.

I’ve come to appreciate the backpacking gear and resources at my disposal, and that appreciation is strong now, because of one particularly miserable night backpacking in the Grayson Highlands of Virginia.

5 Things About Backpacking Nobody Tells Beginners

5 Things About Backpacking Nobody Tells Beginners

Backpacking and a mobile, active lifestyle has captured the imaginations of many in an age where social media makes it possible to effortlessly share photos of vistas, lakes, snow covered mountains in an instant.

While we sit at work or at home and peruse Instagram looking at these majestic pictures, often times we catch a glimpse of the elusive and mysterious figure that is responsible for applying the filters and adjusting shutter speed: the backpacker.

This mystery of the modern world makes the lifestyle look as sanitary and leisurely as going to IKEA or Sunday brunch, but as anyone who has climbed a mountain or bushwhacked through miles of brambles and rhododendron knows, there’s a lot the viewer isn’t seeing.

Here are five things you may be surprised by on your first backpacking trip…