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New Years Resolutions – 2016

Happy New Year from SectionHiker
Happy New Year from SectionHiker

I find it helpful to write a set of New Year’s resolutions each year about the things I want to learn and accomplish during the next 12 months. Since my life and work revolve around hiking, backpacking, camping, and writing, I get to set goals that are both fun and which I think will be fun to write about.

Looking back, 2015 was an exceptional year, probably the best year of my life. I had a lot of more free time, did a ton of hiking and backpacking, and achieved every goal I’d set for myself. I learned how to fly fish, cross-country ski, and spent a record number of nights sleeping outdoors.

I hope 2016 will be much the same. I plan to keep working on my long-term hiking goals and lead more hiking and backpacking trips, while becoming a better fisherman and skier.

1. Section Hiking the Appalachian Trail

I want to return to the Appalachian Trail next spring and hike another big section down south. Probably three weeks long from the New Jersey/Pennsylvania state line down to Front Royal. I’ve hiked 1250 miles of the Appalachian Trail so far, and this should bring my total to over 1500 miles. Slowly but surely.

2. Hike another 200 miles of new trails in the White Mountain Guide

Similar to section hiking, I’m hiking all 608 trails/1440 miles in the White Mountain Guide (New Hampshire), an activity known a Redlining. It’s actually harder than section hiking the Appalachian Trail because the trails aren’t contiguous, they’re more rugged, and you need to hike close to 2500 miles to finish them all. I’ve hiked over 1000 miles of trails so far, but the remaining 400 miles will take a lot of backpacking trips in Maine and northern New Hampshire to complete. Finishing another 200 miles of new trails next year will be a stretch, but it will take me into some really nice backcountry,

3.  Lead more hiking and backpacking trips

I did quite a lot of solo hiking this year and would like to do more with other people next year. That includes leading more trips with the different organizations I work with, including the Appalachian Mountain Club and Random Hikers/Meetup.com. I’ve been an elected officer within the AMC for the past two years and my term has just ended so I’m looking forward to the end of committee work and meetings. Teaching navigation and leading hikes is a lot more fun and I have a little catching up to do.

What New Years Resolutions do you have?


  1. Complete section hikes of the entire Northville-Placid trail.

    Complete the AT through NY

    Complete the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

    Who wants to tag along?

  2. considering I still kind of consider my self a beginner hiker my resolutions are to get in to better hiking shape/ go on my first overnight backpacking trip and day hike to the pinnacle and dans pulpit here on the A.T. In P.A.. Leaving in a few hours to do a short 40th anniversary A.T. New Year’s Eve day hike w/ the Allentown hiking club to our shelter..Happy New Years Philip to you and all the other section hiker readers, I’ve been really enjoying your site over the past 2 years, A Great wealth of information!


  3. Continue section hiking the Pinhoti Trail. Hike the entire length of the Silver Comet Trail and Chief Ladogda (sp?) Trail. Continue my over night cross country photography ventures every week into the National Forest up the road. Three day Boat Fishing Trips twice a month to lakes 30 miles or farther away. Sell off all my excess gear that I have accumulated over the last 45 years that I no longer use…I wonder if they have a Backpacking Museum somewhere where I could donate a lot of gear.. Finish up Landscaping my Backyard and rebuilding my 4 Raised beds Gardens from four 10×8’s to Eight 2×8’s. Build a 6×6 Garden tool Storage Shed. And finally take down ten 30 ft. tall Pine trees in my Backayrd… I think that is enough for the coming year…

  4. First, I ran across your blog a week or so ago and have been really enjoying it. Thank you, and please keep the excellent articles coming!

    Second, I’m going to start section hiking the AT in the spring, starting at the southern end. Thanks to your blog and many others, I’ve been slowly but surely assembling gear and getting physically & mentally prepared. That’s my big goal! Smaller goals include smaller weekend hikes here and there.

    Happy New year!

  5. Good goals Philip. Happy New Year and go enjoy 2016.

  6. I will exercise 6 out of 7 days a week to keep myself fit for backpacking.

    I will summit 10 of the Northeast 4000 footers, either in the Adirondacks or in Maine.

    I will complete the New England National Scenic Trail’s Connecticut section and more.

    I will take my three sons (14, 12, 11) off grid for 5 nights in the back country while we are still a cohesive unit.

    And at 48 years old, I will remember that this offer expires in but a few short years and I will enjoy every rainstorm, lumpy tent site and broken boot lace. Not the black flies though. To hell with them.

    Happy New Year.

  7. Yes, I like #3 – all meetings and no hiking isn’t much fun. AMC and Random will greatly benefit from this one.

  8. Thru hike the CT and complete half of the Steve Ropers HSR.

  9. I’m very appreciative of your blog… I’ve learned a ton and it has been instrumental in my transition into winter backpacking. Keep it up!

  10. hike the cliffs of western ireland sometime this year is my goal 1.

  11. Factor in more zero, or nero, days into my section hikes to fish for trout in the many streams I encounter. I KNOW there are fish in there!

  12. Noticed some NPT talk. I hike it this year and had the best time. I would highly recommend the west Canada’s wilderness to anyone looking to do a section. Or if you have a little more time 3-4 days hike from long lake to lame placid.

  13. Last year when I responded to a similar post my goals were almost like a bucket list and were probably way too lofty, although I did accomplish a couple of them. This year my goals are much more simpler and much more achievable…
    1. I will turn 38 in a week and I promise to myself that I will be in the best shape of my life by the time I turn 40. This may seem more long term (40lbs) but I need to start somewhere.
    2. I will take less solo trips… Recently, I have turned a close friend (and more importantly a athletically equal hiking partner) to the “power of the force” and I find that after years of solo hiking I really enjoy a good meal and a drink with a buddy after really challenging myself all day. (PLUS!! that way somebody can drag my lifeless body out of the wilderness)
    3. I will slow down and smell the flowers. This definitely has it’s benefits… especially if those flowers aren’t poison ivy, oak or sumac.

  14. What? No fly fishing goals?

    • I have fishing goals. but not ones that warrant a “measurable” resolution. Fly fishing is now part of my standard operating procedure. I’l be doing lots of it, not to worry! Same goes with cross-country skiing.

  15. I would like to try cross country skiing this year, to find a hiking club or good hiking backpacking companions close to my new home (Bethlehem PA) and to go on at least one backpacking trip with my son :)

  16. I would like to combine fly fishing, dirt bike riding and camping all in one multi-day trip. Don’t know if there are groups that do this already. If not I will need to start my own. I see myself riding my dirt bike to some awesome remote lakes and take my camping gear and my fishing poles on my back.

  17. My goal is to finish my first round of the 48 4K’s. 12 more to go! And just to do more hiking. I want to adopt a section of trail in the White somewhere this year too as I do at home in the Finger Lakes.

  18. I have two hiking-related goals for the year:

    1. I will walk a minimum of one mile, every day.
    2. I will never pass by a piece of easily-collected litter without taking personal responsibility for removing it, and I will be both an example of Leave No Trace ethics and a gentle but firm teacher to others when I see them violated.

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