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, 2016 was a mixed year, but I did accomplish many of the goals I set for myself. Family obligations and travel took a big bite out of my trip time, I suffered from a foot injury most of the year, and the New England drought made it impossible to do much fly fishing. I still managed to finish big with a lot of remote backpacking trips and hikes, finishing 24% of the White Mountain Guide trail system before winter put an end to my efforts. It was still a good year, but not as laid back as I wanted.
In 2017, I plan to keep working on my long-term hiking goals and lead more hiking and backpacking trips, while becoming a better fisherman and backcountry skier. But I’m going to go easy on big new goals, finish up a few outstanding “projects”, and leave more time for myself to enjoy some spontaneous adventures.
1. Finish Redlining the White Mountain Guide
Finish the remaining 6% of the 1440 trails in the White Mountain Guide that I’ve never hiked. This is harder than it sounds since the trails are not continuous and some require long hike-ins to access. A lot of my remaining trails are challenging above-treeline hikes and climbs in the Northern Presidentials, but they should be a grand way to finish off the list.
2. Finish hiking the Maine Appalachian Trail
I have a 50 mile section of the Maine AT left from Grafton Notch to Rangely and it’s time to wrap it up. I want to do some more hiking and fishing in the Maine backcountry, so I might drag out this goal and make a few longer trips from it instead of finishing it off in one hike.
3. Learn how to cook a trout
Yep. The time has come to learn how to clean and cook some of the trout I catch. This requires catching some that are large enough to eat, of course, grills, campfires, and maybe even a titanium frying pan!
4. Lead three off-trail practice hikes
Get back to leading off-trail practice hikes for hikers who want to practice their compass navigation skills. I have about 60 peaks left on my NH200 list and most are up in northern New Hampshire, so these should be fun trips.
5. Stretch goal: map the Sawyer Pond Trail System
Ski and hike all of the ski trails, snowmobile trails, bike trails, hiking trails, and logging roads in the area bounded by the Sawyer Pond Trail, Bear Notch Road, Rt 302 and Rt 122 and publish a combined map of the trail system.