Great post!  

"I have said for years that backpacking is actually a gateway drug for mountaineering."

For me,at least,it worked the other way around. I started day hiking, surmounting the easier summits, learning that a good many peaks required at least an overnight approach (or were much more pleasant done as an overnight)and things mushroomed from there.

Starting on unfrequented trails and summits, I developed a preference for wilderness and I have never developed a preference for hiking the AT and similar.

But whatever gets you out of doors and walking is good!

 

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