by Tim Martin


(Illustration by Grace Kerr)

You are feeling Whitmanesque, reclining beside your favorite lake after a long and arduous 20-mile trek and on the verge of a special communion with nature. You prop up your legs, close your eyes and suddenly, the hills are alive -- with the sound of music.

But not the good kind. The loud, obnoxious kind with screaming vocals and car-wreck harmonics, and it's coming from the far side of the lake. Your first thought is: Who's the creep with the boom box? And your second is: How did he carry it all the way up here?

For some, a trip into the wilderness serves as both a private refuge and a reminder of some simpler, primitive era, a chance to get away from it all. For others, backpacking is a way to both rough it and, at the same time, not. Some want to enjoy the great outdoors while not having to give up too many important things in life, like buttered scones, a morning espresso and the Sunday Times. And what they try to do is take civilization with them.

Some examples?


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