Things I learned about and from the AT – It is the simple things pizza included

Categories:Appalachian Trail | Camping Advice


When planning to go on an backpacking adventure for several months or even several weeks you have to take everything you own and find most near and dear with you. All of that must be placed in your backpack. The challenge is that you can only take what is necessary, what fits, and does not weight a ton.  When doing this I began to find that many of my possessions became trivial or not needed and found having less stuff made not only moving easier but my life felt less cluttered. While finding out what was most important to me possessions wise I began to look at things differently. I started to do the same thing with memories emotions and the like. Things that bothered me in the past became trivial and let go. In doing so a clean feeling began to appear. A feeling that plants must feel after a nice gentle rain passes through.

Once on the trail and  living out of a backpack weighing thirty five or so pounds full of all your worldly possessions you begin to notice that every little detail and memory you now take with you instead of trying to attach memories or feelings to possessions. Even the simplest things will amuse you, make your day, or even change your attitude completely.

Here are a few of my favorite simple things from the trail:

  • A goofy smiley face and the word “hello” written in the dirt with a stick or trekking pole.
  • Being offered a ride and going several miles out of your way and then refuse to take cash for their trail magic.
  • Offering to give sad looking hikers a ride to the Buffet just down the road after telling them your buffet is not open that day.
  • A round of Frosties for a very tired group of hikers by a seasoned veteran hiker in return for great company at dinner. (Thanks Don’s Brother.)
  • A warm shower, electricity, and a real mattress.
  • Clean Water and Ice cubes when you want them.
  • Spring Flowers, Green Grass, and Blue Skies.
  • Friendship, Companionship, and Love.
  • Pure Joy of someone seeing something for the very first time in their lives. (Rosey and her Snow)
  • A fire being built by a  father and oldest son while teaching the younger children how.
  • A conversation over lunch at a scenic overlook learning all about someone and sharing your life story in only a few minutes but it seems like hours. (GBMAN this one is for you.)
  • Smiles and Hugs.
  • Courage and Strength that is contagious.
  • Listening to stories of a wise “tribe elder” and seeing the love and passion in their eyes and they tell their stories .(Mother Goose)
  • Sharing a Pizza and Wings while talking about what really is important after a hard few days of hiking. (Jolly)

So many more could be listed here but these are some of my favorites. Others I will keep to myself and pull out when I need a nice pick me up.  It really makes you think of  what we take such things for granted in our “full of stuff cluttered lives”.  We often forget that there are people out there that have far less and cherish far more. Remember it’s the simple things that will get you through and to hold on to them.

Happy Trails.


PS a great little song.

Adam Nutting relishes being an avid backpacker, hiker, and all-around adventure junkie. While he currently spends his time hiking in the backcountry of southern Arizona, he grew up in Missouri, where he was naturally inclined to spend as much time as he could outdoors. Adam’s passion for the outdoors grew as he climbed the ranks of the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts, eventually attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

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