The first time I tried backpacking I was totally ignorant as to what to take. I did everything wrong. Poor boots, no tent, no stove, poor utensils, wrong food. Considering all of this I had the best time I ever had in the great outdoors. I took a few more trips, correcting one or two things each time. I bought a good dome tent, a closed foam sleeping pad. I bought a good backpacker stove and a water purifier. I continued to take to the hills as often as possible, poor equipment or not.
I really enjoyed myself while traveling by compass. What a challenge to set out through the woods with only a topographical map, attempting to hit a small lake three miles away.
Not all backpacking trips require a compass but it was fun learning how to do it. One of the best areas my wife and I toured was the Blow-down pass area near Whistler British Columbia. Depending upon where you park your vehicle it can be a six mile hike. The elevation is near tree line at 6,400 feet. Another mountain is only a short hike from the fantastic campsite. The elevation is 8,400 feet and an easy hike. The views are simply spectacular. Long rows of mountains fill your eyes with an unbelievable rainbow of colors.
Nothing can replace seeing all of the wildlife in their own habitat. These little creatures, and some not so tiny, live off the land. They only need their instincts to survive in what we would consider a very harsh environment. The marmots are really cute and are not as shy as we would expect. We have had rabbits running around us for hours acting as tame as house pets.
One morning we had hiked over the divide into the Stein Valley. A huge stone mountain was off to our right. We stopped to boil some water for tea. We heard what sounded like a jet engine behind us. The air was so still it sounded that way but it turned out a golden eagle had been watching the marmots from high up on the rocky crag and went past us in a power dive. It just missed catching dinner as the marmot dove into the safety of the rocks.
These are the reasons I love backpacking.