I grew up in the city of San Francisco. I can not imagine a better city in the U.S. to balance the stimuli of urban life and the fulfillment of the outdoors. With such diversity of recreation, mountains, oceans, lakes, and deserts all within reasonable driving distance of the city, I was truly fortunate in my place of birth. And in order to assure I made use of the great outdoors my father gave me some strong pushing in the direction of the Boy Scouts. I can’t say I remember being a fan of dorky uniforms or Tuesday night scout meetings, but I did enjoy the backpacking trips in the summer, the canoe trips on the Russian River, snow camping in the sierras and many other outdoor adventures to which kids that were not scouts did not have access. I made many lasting friendships and I am proud to call myself an Eagle Scout. I sometimes reflect on my first backpacking trip at the age of 11, to the best of my memory it was a 40-50 mile trek over 7 days carrying backpacks of 50-60lbs, and struggling through snow patches and ice cold river crossings. I vividly remember feeling beaten and exhausted. Now much older and substantially larger, I cover farther distances in shorter periods with backpacks of 20-30lbs. My philosophy of backpacking has matured and my trips have become more comfortable.