Yesterday (a week day), I bagged a peak for the first time with my friend Neil the ChickenMan. Immediately upon my return, I went to a street party where none of the attendees were Baggers. My non-bagging friends could not understand what could possibly motivate someone to play hooky and go for a 6-hour run on an obscure trail. All this for bragging rights on a claim to have reached the peak of an obscure mountain peak and making it home alive in time for dinner.
As the 2010 Bagger Challenge winds down, I figured this question was one that deserved a good answer. I figured it was one that had many answers, too, and that each Bagger would have many of their own answers. So as something to chat about at the upcoming Bagger's Banquet, I thought I'd kick off the conversation.
In no particular order, here are 23 reasons why I love the Bagger Challenge:
- the opportunity to go for a run with old friends
- the opportunity to meet new friends who share my interests
- the opportunity to get out on the trails for my run
- the opportunity to re-discover trails I have run in the past
- the opportunity to discover new trails
- running on trails that most people don't run on
- scrambling as much as running
- the idea that a baggage claim is worth the same to everyone (e.g. doesn't matter how fast you run, or even if you run at all)
- the challenge of route-finding on trails less traveled
- the challenge of guessing what to pack on a bagging expedition
- the challenge of finding the start of the trail
- the accomplishment of getting to the top of the mountain (the "bagging" of the peak)
- the spectacular views I am rewarded with at the top of a peak
- overcoming obstacles. This goes beyond climbing over blowdown on the trail to include obstacles such as getting lost, falling off a cliff, getting stung by wasps, deciding when it's best to turn back, dealing with the weather, etc.
- the ability to participate in a contest that allows me flexibility as to how I schedule my runs
- reading about the adventures of my fellow baggers
- the excitement of dealing with heights
- the unanticipated adventures along the way
- seeing wild critters in their element
- having to come up with creative ways to make my trip reports and musings interesting to others
- learning the tools and techniques of how to share my trip reports and musings on the Internet
- the friendly competition between baggers. This includes, but is not limited to: sandbagging, bagging strategy, trash talk, etc.
- learning about the history of the peaks I am hoping to bag and the areas around the peaks
I'll add to this list as other reasons come to mind and I hope you will, too.
PS Thank you, David Crerar, for all you have done to make the Bagger Challenge one of the highlights of my year! As an FYI, our "anniversary" is 23 September!