New Years Resolutions – 2017

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, 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.

What are your hiking resolutions for 2017?


  1. Best of luck in fulfilling your New Year’s resolutions.

    • Oh yeah, I forgot to mention what my own hiking related resolutions are for the coming year –
      I want to get out on day hikes more often then I have during this past year and I also want to complete my exercise program on regular basis.

  2. I’m look forward to hearing more about your #3 goal.

    My goals for 2017 include…

    1. Section hike the entire Benton Mackaye trail before 2018.
    2. Get a small rod and learn to fish in North GA streams
    3. Join a couple trail work days (both for hiking and biking).
    4. Become a better mountain biker.
    5. Build a small MTB trail on my property.
    6. Take a couple kayak trips.

    These should help towards my long term goal of getting fitter.

    Good luck.

    • I’ve been thinking about getting into mountain biking myself. Mainly for forest road riding and to get to some nice fishing spots. The fat tire stuff sounds like fun too in winter.

      • I mainly ride local singletrack but I’ve started researching more on bikepacking. Seems like a good way to go farther on my weekend trips. I do wish there were more long trails in my area.

        On another note, I just checked my reply to your resolution post for 2016 and it was very refreshing to reflect on what I was thinking 12 months ago. Thank you for always being informative and entertaining. Although we live in opposites corners of the country, your posts continually inspire me to get out more.

      • A link to that post (before I take it down)

        Michael Blair – I really do plan to post some “random” trips this winter. Just writing up the descriptions now!

  3. I always have some vague plans in the background, a few years down the line, and here are a few goals for 2017:
    – hike the Wonderland trail
    – hike to Camp Muir on Rainier
    – re-learn to ski
    – go on a few more snowshoe hikes
    – climb a few more peaks in the Cascades (not sure which ones)

  4. 1) Figure out how to get a job like Phillip
    2) Retire from the actual work part of Phillip’s job
    3) Camp, hike and sail more

  5. Happy New Year Phillip. I just discovered your site in the past couple of months and the knowledge and perspective I have gained from it are a huge help as I begin this hobby which looks to become a lifestyle. Thanks for all you do!

  6. 1. Finish hiking the Virginia and Connecticut AT. I live in PA and have been section hiking in both directions from there but it’s getting harder to have my wife pick me up at the end as I get further from home. I have 16 miles left in CT and hundreds left in VA.

    2. Finish hiking my Catskill 3500 peaks. I have 11 left and hoping to do them all over the winter.

    3. Hike 3-5 longish trails in PA.

    4. Get five more 4000 footers in the Whites and the Adirondacks.

    5. Get my wife and children to join me for all of this!

    • Fabulous! Sounds like we like the same things. One of these days I have to get back down to the Catskills and finish the 3500 bushwhacks. The hiking down there is great, but it’s so far far eastern MA.

  7. My 2017 New Years goal is to complete the NE67. I have 62 completed with camels hump, Mansfield, Ellen, and Abraham left to do in Vermont and North brother in Baxter state park. Another goal is to find ways to hike with my mortons neuroma I have in my right foot. At times it can really burn and I have to slow down. I use metatarsal pads which help but it can flare up at any time. 2 challenges & goals to complete & overcome.

  8. 1. Complete the North Country Trail 100 again this year
    2. Complete the summer Tupper Lake Triad
    3. Complete the Saranac 6
    4. Hike one section of the Northville-Placid Trail
    5. Ride in 5 mtb races
    6. Kayak at least once a week

  9. In 2017 I’ll hike 100-200 miles of the Colorado Trail, breaking that into several sections of a few days to a week. I started the project in 2016 and covered 107 miles in 5 trips. I spent more days hiking but covered more miles by bicycle. From now on I’ll only walk (or run). Mountain biking requires focus on the trail and I miss the scenery around me. Ancillary to the project is the fun of updating equipment and technique. SectionHiker has been a good resource to this end! Thank you.

  10. Well my modest goals for 2017 are:
    1. Go on 2 multi-day trips 2-4 nights (preferably on the LT)
    2. Get out for at least 1 overnight each month of the May-Oct season
    3. Do at least 1 solo overnight
    4. Winter hike at lest one Mt.

    If I get ambitious:
    1a. Do a winter overnight
    2a. Spend a week on trail

  11. My resolution is to get enough time off work to get 100 miles further through the VA AT. Over halfway there!

  12. I’m starting a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in late March. I have a bunch of mini goals (make it to the Smokies, make it to Damascus, etc.) but my overarching goal, my true one and only 2017 goal, is to summit Katahdin!

  13. I haven’t thought about my hiking resolutions yet, though I do plan to hike more. Might do the Black Mountain Crest Trail (in N.C.) in reverse…

    As far as cooking the trout….. Gut the trout, rinse it off, place a pat or two of butter in the cavity, add salt, pepper or spice of choice. Wrap it in foil, lay it in the coals of a nice, smallish campfire. Remove occasionally to check on it. Delicious……

  14. My main goal (I don’t like calling them resolutions lol) is to hike 2200 miles to raise awareness for combat-related PTSD & suicide among our active duty military and the lack of services that the military offers for treatment.

    My other ones aren’t hiking related as the one above will take a lot of my time. Although, I do want to find and travel to new places to hike =) I have about 20 miles of hiking trails less than 5 minutes from my house, but I have been hiking it for three years and the scenery is getting boring lol.

    Actually, I just thought of another goal I want to complete that can be completed the same time as my main goal and that is to map out the trail system by my house. The map that is used now, is massively outdated and inaccurate!

    =) Bridget

  15. Hi Phil
    I usually hike (and fish) in the Rockies, but see no reason it would make any dif. I bring a small bag of flower some oil and foil. Roll fish in flower, make foil pouch with oil in bottom wrap and double wrap and toss into a fire (coals). Even better with re-hydrated potatoes and onions arranged around the trout. Easy and Admittedly I’m not wigged out with having fires or killing trout (and they consider Brookies invasive there anyway!). Steaming fish in lemon with onions and taters in foil pouch is good too..
    Love your site!

  16. 1. better and earlier physical training with more weight. Spring and fall are the only civilized seasons locally.
    2. Get better at kayaking – there are a ton of small rivers locally – and consider logistics of actually owning one (Can I hoist it and tie it down to the car single-handed? Where to store?)
    3. Trail maintenance weekend (Ozark Trail) or week (through American Hiking Society)
    4. Keep working through the “60 hikes within (approximately) 60 miles of St. Louis” book

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