Off the grid, disconnected is when I feel most connected to myself, nature and the people who walk the path with me. Backpacking in Glacier National Park was the wildest backcountry experience I’ve had, venturing deep into towering Montana mountains. I began the adventure on the anniversary of my dad’s death with my childhood best friend of 13 years, Fana.
My dad lived most of his life out of doors. An adventurous, wild, and wondrous human, my father cultivated my courage and confidence until the day he died. The last words he spoke to me were, “you are so beautiful.” Like so many women, I struggle to accept and love my body as it is, and on the 1 year anniversary of my dad’s death, I wanted to be surrounded by the beauty of nature; the place where I feel most connected to my dad and myself. With my dad gone, it is nature that reminds me of my radiance.
In one of the most stunning places on earth, with one of my best friends and nothing more than a backpack in the backcountry, I felt in awe of the power of nature and the power within myself. I felt my dad with me in the resilient wild flowers, the breathtaking views, the smell of pristine alpine lakes.
Backpacking is more than an escape. Backpacking is a reminder of what matters: connection to the common ground, and the cultivation of gratitude for our wondrous world and miraculous bodies that allow us to venture into the wild. Backpacking represents the sacred simplicity of what we truly need to live: water, food, and fresh air.
Backpacking is more than an exploration of the wild backcountry. Backpacking is a discovery of the self, an adventure into the most rugged, beautiful, terrifying, untamed, and awe inspiring terrain in the outdoors and inside the self. In simplifying our needs, in stripping down to the essentials, one discovers the sacred inside one’s self and in nature. The wilderness builds not just skills but a sense of self, a confidence only cultivated outside of one’s comfort zone. On the trail with a heavy pack, one learns to let go of the invisible burdens carried in daily life.
In the mountains, surrounded by beauty, it is nearly impossible to cling to anxiety, stress and negativity. In the face of something so much bigger than myself, I am able to see more clearly. Expansive views give way to a new perspective that transcends the trite worries that often cloud my mind.
In the quiet of the backcountry, I felt my dad’s presence stronger than ever before because I was fully present. How iconic that we must disconnect to connect and experience what it feels like to be fully alive. When immersed in the wild, we see we are a part of nature, just as exquisite as the landscape that surrounds us.
Thank you for taking the time to read the Glass Top Counter. I always love hearing from readers so if you feel inspired, leave a comment below. Want to go on a backpacking venture of your own? Check out my packing list below and don't hesitate to reach out to us at the shop with questions about how to have your won backcountry experience.
My Backpacking Packing List
Osprey pack (65 liters)
Sea to Summit waterproof pack cover
Thermarest sleeping pad
Marmot sleeping bag
MSR pocket rocket stove and fuel
Water filtration (system or tablets - we used tablets)
shovel (pocket size)
rope long enough to hang food
lighter or matches
first aid kit
Lo & Behold bug spray
Elemental Herbs All Good sunscreen
hiking shoes - I wore my Salomon X-Missions
camp shoes - I took my Chacos
Icebreaker wool t-shirt
Icebreaker long sleeve shirt
Patagonia happy hike shorts
Patagonia happy hike pants
Icebreaker wool tights
Rab rain coat
Arc’teryx atom lt jacket for cold nights
Fits wool socks
Icebreaker wool underwear
BEAR SPRAY! Thank goodness we didn’t see a grizzly
My Favorite Foods To Take On the Trail
Good To Go Meals (we took the coconut curry, korea bibimbap, and the Indian korma)
Patagonia Provisions bars
My must haves
journal and pen
Lo & Behold cleansing grains face wash