I’ll be the first to admit that I rarely hike, camp, backpack, mountain bike, cross-country ski, or snowshoe without my iPhone, my camera, and my GPS.
I fight the need to document every adventure and track every route.
I want to say that this is just the nature of the beast when it comes to mapping new trails, writing trail guides, and sharing experiences about the outdoors, but I know better.
I want to put up pretty pictures on my Instagram account.
I want to put photos up on Facebook so grandparents who live far away can see what their grandkids are doing.
I want to tweet about it.
I want to share a video. I want to look on a map on my computer and see my tracks. I want to know how far I hiked, how long it took, and how much elevation we climbed.
Those things aren’t bad. I would argue that my children are going to have a fantastic book of digital memories someday.
Plus, keeping track of my routes is fun. I enjoy seeing that data.
But deep down, I wish that I didn’t feel the need to update Instagram and Twitter and Facebook.
I want to hike and not think about all of the nerdy statistics and details.
I feel like I’m in the middle of a fight.
That fight is technology vs. the wilderness.
Unfortunately, most of the time, technology wins.
I’ve noticed that every time I take out my phone or my camera, it takes away from the experience that I’m having.
Balancing call phone use in the backcountry is a challenge.
I’m working on finding this balance, and I’d challenge you to do the same.
Here are a few thoughts.
Would we get more enjoyment from our hike if we didn’t take any photos?
Or shoot any videos?
What if we didn’t track our routes?
What if we pulled into the trailhead more often and put our phones right into our daypacks instead of our pockets?
How would we feel if we went on technology-free hikes and took time to enjoy being in the moment?
I’m not anti-technology.
But I do believe that we live in a society that craves the dopamine hit we get from social media. Let’s not have the mental and physical benefits of being outside overpowered by technology use.
What do you think about balancing technology in the backcountry? Do you think technology is good, necessary, useful, evil? Or do you think that there’s a way to balance it all? Or better yet, how do YOU balance technology use in the wilderness?
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