Ultrabackpacking Origins

7 May 2013 3:55 pm0 commentsViews: 11

My origins in ultrabackpacking trace back to the age of 10. While I certainly wasn’t covering ultra distances (or even running for that matter), I made my way from our yard and into the woods adventuring.

We had just moved from a neighborhood with fence-wrapped-yards that were spotted with a few climbing trees to a subdivision with 5 acre wooded lots.

I hadn’t been particularly fond of moving to the farthest outskirts of town, away from friends and the house I had grown up in. I didn’t particulalry like the very dated house we had moved into or the grandmotherly furniture set I had inherited for my bedroom there. I had also just gotten enormous owl glasses too, which merely doubled down my status as the nerdy, chubby kid at school. But neither discomfort at home nor at school mattered.

When I walked out into the woods, I was happy.

Behind the house, a steep embankment lead down to a creek that served as my trail. I splashed down the tiny creek until I was exhausted or hungry and then turned around and made my way home.

Sometimes I was with friends or siblings, but often I went on my own.

I plucked my way up and down the wooded slope to the creek without giving much thought to falling or tumbling if I did.

I was always comfortable weaving through the woods.

When I started running at the age of 13, my time in the woods existed in the back of my mind.

For all the years since then, I have toggled back and forth between running and hiking as separate activities. I tried to keep the standard definition of each in its own little box. But that is such an unnatural thing for me to do.

Running, hiking, and backpacking all occupy a mutual space.

All of these are 10-year old me tromping through the woods for hours at a time, lost in nature and my thoughts.

Rather than consider each subcategory of activity in isolation, I wish to examine them as a whole. By considering each activity in collaboration, the experience can be enriched each time I stike out on the trail. Ultrabackpacking is my notation for the parent category to these kindred activities.

Until Tomorrow,

“When I move through the mountains, I run where I can and walk where I have to. That’s my natural motion.” – Jennifer Pharr Davis


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