A common misconception that we notice people tend to have about a majority of hikers and backpackers is that they are loners, escaping to the wilderness in hopes of avoiding the general public altogether. In a sense, they’re right. The peace of mind it brings to get away from the hustle and bustle while reconnecting with nature can be pretty enthralling.
No alarms and phones ringing off the hook, no traffic speeding by, no need for small talk in the morning with fellow coworkers. However, if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the course of our personal backpacking experiences, it’s that the community itself is one of the best things about the lifestyle. We’ve linked up with some absolutely amazing people along the trails and online who consistently go out of their way to bring everyone together and help each other out.
Whether you need advice on a local trail’s map accuracy, tips on what to bring or leave at home, or just a friendly conversation regarding upcoming or previous excursions, this community is always willing to stick its neck out.
Case in point:
Recently one of the groups we follow online (Adventure Archives) held a get together at Highbanks Metropark in Columbus, Ohio. We were just wrapping up a backpacking trip about an hour away, so we decided to stop by. It was an amazing turnout, where they provided pizza, postcards, buttons, etc. for their followers:
People came from all across the country to attend and take a hike around the park together. This isn’t normally something that antisocial loners take part in, but this crowd would make shelters along the Appalachian Trail feel unwanted.
Sure, there will always be those who just need a break from people altogether for a while, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with this. Most of us require a certain amount of downtime to recharge our batteries, whether it’s a weeklong vacation or a cleverly disguised sick day. This is part of human nature.
As far as this thing of ours? We’re mostly doing what we love, not running from what we despise.