The backcountry is an interesting place. If you take a second to think about it you realize that a lot of the things about the backcountry are really quite miserable. What part of skinning uphill for miles with a 40lb pack sounds fun? None of it! It doesn’t matter how beautiful the scenery is…that kind of hiking hurts, a lot.

And somehow I am still always jumping at the opportunity to spend hours trudging through the snow. Why?!

For the bragging rights? For the “training” it gives me towards an equally miserable ultra marathon? For the time away from the never-ending connectivity of the world? For the complete solitude of an empty hut on a Saturday morning? All of the above?

Honestly, I have no explanation for why I find so much happiness in the backcountry. I cannot describe the peace that comes with “earning my turns”, even when my quads are crying as they push me uphill. It is like explaining the pure joy of a successful long distance trail run to someone who has no desire to ever understand running. You just have to experience the euphoria of fighting through the self-doubt and pain to pull off something that sounds ridiculous and impossible. After all of that…it just clicks and you “get it”.

Quite frankly, I’m not sure if I “get it”. I’m still chasing down my limits and secretly hoping they stay hidden – far off long a dirty trail, buried beneath the snow and at the top of a far away mountain. I want to keep chasing, always searching, using the pain as a motivator and loving how it shapes me into me!


Natalie @ Free Range Human · February 20, 2021 at 12:34 pm

There is so much truth here. I don’t think anyone can understand the pull of the backcountry until they experience it themselves. There are no words for the peace it brings, and it’s truly my favorite place in the world.

    Heidi Nicole · February 21, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    And you’re living proof of that running example I used! 😉

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