Backcountry, wilderness, the bush. Wherever it is you may venture, if you’re heading away from the masses, chances are you are heading there.
If you step beyond the boundaries of a state park, spent an overnight in a non-developed campground of a national park, or duck underneath the ropes at a ski resort you may have entered the backcountry.
Generally speaking, backcountry refers to areas not easily accessible by car or an easy stroll. Though, given the nature of the english language the term backcountry has evolved to mean many things.
For winter and avalanche purposes if you are out of bounds of a ski resort, you are in the backcountry and need to be aware of avalanche safety protocols. Outside of ski resort boundaries snow packs are not mainteined or managed to reduce the chance of avalanche danger. Outside of ski resort boundaries the ski patrol isn’t responsible for getting you to safety (though if they do rescue you, you may receive a hefty bill for the ordeal).
In National Parks, such as Yosemite, spending a night camping outside of an established campsite is considered spending time in the backcountry. You can hike all day, and spend time on many of the established hiking trails, but to spend the night there you’ll need a backcountry wilderness permit.
Much like Alexander Supertramp, many of us seek the ubiquitous backcountry experience. Walk a little farther, venture a little deeper, and you’ll find it.