I just started hiking and backpacking seriously about 3 years ago at 62 years old. So far I've been to Guadalupe Mountains NP, Big Bend NP, and the Ouachita National Forest, as well as the Sedona, AZ area. Sedona is my favorite place to hike. I have learned a lot about equipment, preparation, and safety on the trails. Hiking and backpacking in isolated places gives me a wonderful feeling of freedom and closeness to the Creator.
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It's exciting to hear that you have gotten more seriously into hiking and backpacking in recent years and that it has taught you so much and made you feel so good!
I lived in Texas for a long time and absolutely adore Big Bend! It makes me happy to see that you've been there, as well as those other gorgeous spots on your list.
This community is a great place to share expertise, ask questions, and connect with others about gear, locations, and everything outdoors. It sounds like you have lots of great information to share, so we hope you find some conversations to jump into. With a robust hiking and backpacking community here in Conversations, we're hopeful you will be able to connect with others on these subjects and make the activities even more enjoyable (on and off trail!).
We suggest taking a look at the backpacking and hiking boards to see if there's anything that interests you there, as well as our different location boards to ask for recommendations or to share your own stories.
Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself. We're happy to have you here!
At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.