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.