I was sad to hear about this. D and D helped me survive middle school — even though my brother was much, much better at it than I was, and my hapless, wimpy dwarves and henchmen always ended up broke, defenseless and slaughtered early on in the game. This might sound like a stretch, but I would even argue that there are certain connections between D and D and long-distance backpacking culture. The trail can turn into a role playing game. You can lose your identity and get a ‘trail name.” Sometimes, a backpacker will identify so strongly with his/her trail name that the name becomes a kind of character. Out on the trail, you find yourself in the middle of a quest narrative that goes on for thousands of miles. And, if that’s not enough, there is a slightly geeky aspect to certain long-distance walkers— and I’m not exempting myself from this admittedly broad characterization.