Methinks Christopher Ketcham is a bit premature with his eulogy, "The death of backpacking?" (HCN, 7/21/14). Backpacking is not so much a sport as an activity whose ebb and flow in popularity reflects that of the natural world he enters on his sojourns. Nothing in that world stays the same. It gets hot, it gets cold, rocks roll down the hills, trees topple over, streams change course.
Backpacking will rekindle in popularity, I am sure. I could speculate on why: The economy will collapse – again and worse – and it'll be the only affordable outdoor recreation; some new gadget will come along that stimulates interest. I have no idea what will transpire, just as I can't predict when that rock will roll or if the creek crossing will be same as it was a few years ago. I say: Embrace the current ebb. There ain't nobody out there, times are good.