10 Things That Will Happen to You in the Backcountry

By Shelby Cranshaw

Sep 22, 2016

Person jumps happily while a dog watches
Photo by Javier Morales.

1. You will remember songs that you have not heard in forever.

2. But, you will only remember one or two lines of those songs and will have to sing them over and over again, or combine them all into one new song.


3. You will have intense food cravings for things you clearly cannot access in the backcountry. Thai food, indian food, a kale smoothie. Everything will sound good. Just try not to get too detailed in your food discussions; no need to torture yourself or others.


4. You will make lists and they will probably be about food. Foods you are going to eat once out of the backcountry (fresh vegetables). Foods you are never going to eat again (cheesy pasta...for now).

5. You will discuss your bodily functions—and become very comfortable with these discussions.

6. You will lie in your sleeping bag and avoid going to the bathroom in the middle of the night for as long as you can (even though you know you’d sleep better if you just went).


7. Your sleeping bag will become a safe haven. You might cry if it gets wet. It will not be the first time that happens.

8. You will wonder what is making your backpack so heavy and curse yourself for bringing that extra piece of gear you never use.


9. When things get rough, you will wonder why you willingly go into the backcountry.

10. But, once you have been back in civilization for a bit, you will be ready for another backcountry adventure.

Written By

Shelby Cranshaw

Shelby is currently taking a gap year-and-a-half. After completing her Fall Semester in Patagonia, she caught the NOLS bug and became the 2016 Fall PR and Marketing intern at our world headquarters in Lander, Wyoming (she's a Wilderness First Aid grad, too!).

Up Next

Sea kayak with other group members and mountains in the background

What You Learn on a NOLS Semester

Sea kayak with other group members and mountains in the background
Photo by Jordan Cranch

On her Rocky Mountain Outdoor Educator semester, Erin Phillips skied backcountry mountains, canoed whitewater rapids, and hiked more than 100 miles across the Utah desert. Each new landscape brought fresh experiences, including the day she and her coursemates hiked for hours to reach a water source in the desert’s slot canyons and danced in celebration.

The desert awakened another kind of thirst as well, a burning curiosity about the beautiful and harsh environment that surrounded her: “Escalante taught me a very special lesson: to stop. To stop doing and start listening.”

Read More