It wasn't until several years later, that myself and a few of my buddies decided to take my first true backpacking trip. I had accumalated a fair amount of gear betweeen my boundary waters adventures and car camping, so I felt pretty prepared. I took a lot of time to organize and try to get all six of us guys on the same page as far as our gear. As much as I tried to communicate to them that I had all the essentials covered, they all ended up bringing their own. I guess that meant that I was going to have to carry "more than my share".
We all have a desire to be "real men", so we loaded up our packs with everything we had and away we went, stupidly thinking that this makes us men. I don't know for sure, but I think our packs were probably at 50+ pounds each... About half way throught the second day, my knee started to have some throbbing pain. Being the "man" that I am, I kept pushing right through the pain. By the end of the third day, I was moving very slowly and every down hill slope was pure torture.
Upon returning home, I went to visit a sports doc and he said that I have Patellofemoral Syndrome. Basically, my knee cap doesn't ride right over the end of my Femor. Why does this happen? Doctor said I'm getting old and too out of shape to "overdo" it on the trail. He recommended shoe inserts and basically to get in shape before I try to "prove" that I am a man.
FamilyDoctor.org has a great description of patellofemoral syndrome and some exercises I should be doing to relieve the knee pain and make it stronger.
This experience motiviated me to quickly get some inserts and then put me down the road of transitioning to lightweight backpacking. And the journey begins....