Weekend Project – Freedom on the Trail

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Backpacking may be the ultimate expression of outdoor freedom. It is the ability to carry everything you need on your back; it’s the freedom to venture out, explore something new and to simply exist. Perhaps the beauty is in the simplicity.

Last week we challenged our community to share about these moments of outdoor freedom, whether at the trailhead, the campsite, the summit or anywhere in between. We’re featuring a few of our favorites here:

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Photo by Blake (Instagram’s @out.bound). 

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“Our steep trek up the mountain rewarded us with an awesome place to camp. Life above 8,000 ft.”  – Photo by Richelle (Instagram’s @msrichellemarie). 

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“We carry a means to shelter and eat and sleep, sure- but it’s so much more than that. Backpacking is a means to loosen our grip on civilized reality, a portal to escape time set by clocks, to undress pretenses and simply exist.” – Photo by Marisa (Instagram’s @marisajarae). 

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Photo by Christopher W. (Instagram’s @cwatson119). 

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“It is funny to stop and think about how quickly time passes, how different life was a year ago. I set a goal for myself at the beginning of 2016 to start hiking more, to get out to nature to help combat some of the stresses in life, to truly relax and connect not only with the world around me, but with myself. I am pretty happy with the progress I have made. So far, I have gone on 32 hikes, 23 of which I have never done before. I have hiked a total of 237.3 miles, with a net elevation gain of 48,426 feet. Countless bruises, blisters, slips, falls, stumbles, and challenges have accompanied this accomplishment, but I wouldn’t change that for the world. I have experienced so much laughter and joy just being out in nature, breathing in the fresh air, and taking in these beautiful sights that surround me. None of this would be possible without the love and support of the people I hold near to my heart, so thank you! Each and every one of you! I cannot wait to see what adventures these next 4 months hold!” – Photo by Paulina A. (Instagram’s @paulina_anderson). 

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“Feeling lucky that I haven’t grown up staying at 5 stars hotels so I can easily enjoy a night à la belle étoile with a rooftop soon made of stars!” – Photo by Alice B. (Instagram’s @alicebomboy). 

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Photo by Eddie P. (Instagram’s @pacnwexplorer). 

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Photo by Daniele (Instagram’s @danieleclarissa). 

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Photo by Galen (Instagram’s @ale.in.galen). 

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Photo by Shelby W. (Instagram’s @mountaingoat_). 

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Photo by Steve W. (Instagram’s @walasavagephoto). 

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Photo by Susanna (Instagram’s @sjwright36). 

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Photo by Aaron L. (Instagram’s @grebnexul). 

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Photo by Michelle (Instagram’s @mlynnrbr21). 

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Photo by Valentina (Instagram’s @vale3.0). 

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Photo by Instagram’s @fluffy_buffalo.

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Photo by Brittany (Instagram’s @bihfy6). 

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Photo by Ashley K. (Instagram’s @ashley.adventures). 

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Photo by Allison F. (Instagram’s @afostersox). 

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Photo by Instagram’s @meplife.

Stay tuned on REI’s Instagram for the next weekend project.