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Imagine walking through the wilderness on a nice sunny day, leaves crunching beneath your feet, birds chirping and the aroma from the fallen rain of the night before, fills you with a feeling that you can’t get from anything else. This is what makes me happy. I came to find this by hiking and backpacking with my friends and family.  Backpacking is a very enjoyable activity that can open your comfort zone, widen your physical and mental capabilities, and motivate yourself to become more adventurous.I have always been interested in the outdoors mostly because of my dad. My dad has been on more hiking and backpacking trips than I can count, and when my brother got old enough to start going up in the mountains, I got interested in it too. On my first backpacking trip, we went for four days and three nights, which is a lot for a first time. I had gone on hikes with my family, but backpacking is a completely different thing. It was during a camp, with a bunch of girls from all over the U.S. that had never really done anything like this. Of course I didn’t have much experience either, but I had been up in the mountains hiking several times. I was very nervous, and it was definitely hard most of the time, but the whole thing made me step out of my comfort zone, which I don’t really like to do. The whole time you are backpacking, you hike all day, and do so many things that you don’t necessarily want to do. Backpacking is just like hiking except you have a 35 pound pack with you the entire time. I was hesitant at first because I hadn’t hiked hour after hour uphill, with people I didn’t know. Backpacking isn’t all physical though, so many things go through your brain while hiking uphill for hours, how you can’t wait to either get back to camp, or get back to the truck, or how you are constantly hungry, thirsty or both. Widening your physical and mental capabilities can be a very hard thing to do, unless you want to. Yeah you are probably dying because it’s eighty five degrees out and you are out of shape. And in your brain you are telling yourself, only a few more miles, but even if you think about it a little more, it makes you just want to fall over and sleep, because a few more miles when hiking, really means a few more hours of your body telling you to stop. But the mental part of this is the part where you keep going. If you do stop, you aren’t pushing your physical and mental strengths. Most of the time, it’s hard to keep going, but as long as you have your buddies to keep you going, I promise it’ll be worth it.Self motivation is hard thing to achieve. It might not sound hard when you just hear it, or barely think about it, but it is. You might tell yourself you are going to go for a run tomorrow, but when tomorrow comes, the couch and tv usually sound more appealing. The thing is when you go for a hike, or go on a backpacking trip and you enjoy it, you are going to want to do it again. At least that’s how it was for me, when I went hiking for the first time, I absolutely loved it. And when I went on my first backpacking trip, it was one of the best experiences of my life. So now, I love hiking and if I could do it everyday if I would. When you do things you are really fond of, you want to do them again. Doing things you love, for me, being outdoors, motivates me to do it. And I believe that when you go on hiking trips or backpacking trips, you are becoming more adventurous. Therefore you are being motivated to become more adventurous.Unless you already know you really love the outdoors, and doing things outside, I suggest you give it a try, nothing bad will come of it. Opening your comfort zone, widening your physical and mental capabilities and motivating yourself to become more adventurous are all great things to be able to do in life, and backpacking is a great way to accomplish those. Backpacking is an amazing experience that only requires basic knowledge and some simple understanding of the activity.

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I'm Erica!

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