budget-travels-tips.com - backpacking, hiking and camping Welcome to budget-travels-tips.com
create account   login  
     home : articles : reflect
    articles  beginners  gear  links  pictures            

Timelessness of Backpacking

by Matt Johnston

Read More Reflections Articles

Half Dome--Inspiration beyond Chinese by Rachel Bradsell
The Appalachian Trail: A Spiritual Path by Bruce Andrew Peters
Walking with Fall by Scott Kimball
Appalachian Lullaby by Joe Plymel
A Personal Challenge by Christina Hall
Out of the City and Into the Mountains (A Jersey Girl's Tale of Backpacking) by Lisa Meagher
Ditch the rent, buy a tent by Ben Taylor
Grizzlies, Scorpions, and Snakes...oh my! by Becky Lomax
Redeeming the Crowds on Whitney by John Welch
Beautiful Cage: Buckskin Gulch to Paria Canyon by Jill Homer
Why We Go by Rob Coleman
Going it alone. by Bob Edwards
Some Night by Clyde San Juan
Fiery Gizzard by TownDawg
In the Beginning by Michael Palm
There Will Always Be Camping by Michael Souther
Timelessness of Backpacking by Matt Johnston
The Birth of a Backpacker by Paul Dockery
My Choice is Simple by Zaring Robertson
The Moose by Logan Wilcoxson
The Sport of Backpacking by Matt Johnston
A Lifetime to Explore by Matt Johnston
Remembering the Rain by Matt Johnston
Why do we backpack? by Tim Lozer
Hiking: Better Than Disneyland by Mark Mozer

Tic-toc, the motto of our society. In a world where running races are won by hundredths of a second, it is still nice to measure backpacking trips in terms of days. You never hear backpackers say that they are planning a 4320 second trip. Backpacking has a timeless quality, not meaning that it applies to all eras of history, but when you hike, you lose track of time. And isn't it nice to lose time for a little while?

One of the main reasons I go into the wilderness is for escape: escape from busy highways, escape from crowded shops, and escape from time. I enjoy knowing that the only thing I have to accomplish in the wilderness is to let my mind run free.

To help this freedom of time, I usually take my watch off while I hike. At first this may seem like a sin to some people since you need a watch to keep a schedule, but it really frees your spirit. It may take a little while to get use to not knowing what the current time is, but once you do, you reach a whole other level of freedom. You cook when you are hungry. You rest until your body is ready. You stop looking at great views when you have memorized what it looks like.

All these activities are normally set by schedules. If you do not know what time it is, you finish these activities when they are completed, not when time is up. The presence of a schedule often gets into your brain telling you to hurry up or you will be behind schedule. Dinner is always at 6 pm sharp. Wakeup time is 7 am and bedtime is 10 pm. All your rest breaks become five minutes because otherwise you would be wasting time.

Wasting time, now that is interesting. If you are doing something you enjoy, how can you be wasting time? Is there a limited quantity of time in our universe? I am sure that last thought would cause a great debate for physicists around the world. But you can analyze the thought a little bit without having to be an Einstein. Humans developed the notion of time. Our universe goes forward, but humans decided to break up this progression into tiny segments called time. Someone a long time ago decided that days, hours, minutes, and seconds are good ways to categorize these segments. But it is our current society that decided to put the emphasis on minutes and seconds.

Not until recent history has a society been so concerned with small portions of time. Many people have daily planners that list every fifteen minutes, or maybe even every five minutes. I am not a historian, but I am pretty sure a farmer in the 1800's did not plan out his day in fifteen minute increments. Imagine trying to plan a hike that way. Normal hiking speed is around 2-3 miles per hour. That's right, the smallest unit normally used in hiking is hours. (There are a few gear heads out there that love to time how many seconds it takes to boil a pot of water, but they are few and far between.)

With an hour as the minimal time unit, backpackers are often not rushed. You can spend an hour staring at a fiery sunset or an extra hour in a warm sleeping bag on a cold morning. Hours let the mind soothe and not worry about every second. The seconds and minutes blur into hours, which are easier to remember and enjoy.

If backpacking is used as an escape from time, leave it at the trailhead. The sun will still rise in the morning and set in the evening. Forget a schedule and enjoy the freedom. Believe me, once you return to society you will be reminded of just what time can do to your daily routine.

About the Author

Matt Johnston (matt@budget-travels-tips.com) is the creator of budget-travels-tips.com website.


Tips & How-to's
Trip Reports

Newest Articles
Submit Your Article


Search budget-travels-tips.com for:

Ready to Buy Gear?

Sponsored Links

Great Outdoor Sites