Reflecting on 2018 and Ahead to 2019

I like to close out each year by looking back on the year’s goals and accomplishments and setting some for the upcoming year. It’s a great way to see how my perspective changes throughout the year. For example, 2017 was the year that my outdoor activities switched from primarily hiking-based adventures to trail running.

2018 GOALS

two men running on hilly dirt road

Vermont Endurance 100 Race

2018 was certainly another year of change. Though I kept most of my running goals, personal life changes made during the year have affected them and any I may set for 2019. Here’s a rundown of what I did or did not accomplish in 2018.

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A Look Back on 2017 and Ahead to 2018

Looking back on 2017 and ahead to 2018

A Look Back on 2017

2017 has come and gone and now is the time to reflect on all that was accomplished or not. This year was definitely one of the more exciting years for me adventure-wise. But, looking back on my goals from the end of last year I’ve noticed that this year also appeared to be a transition year for me. More on that in a bit. First, here’s a rundown of my goals for the year and whether or not I attained them:

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2017 National Parks Tour

One of the best perks of my job is what we call PGL: Personal Growth Leave. Starting during our 10th year and every following 5 years we must take a mandatory month off with pay (4 consecutive weeks). This is something I’ve been looking forward to since I started at my job. My first PGL starts now.

My wife was also able to get the month off and in another 5 years my older son may be off to college and starting his own life. So, my family decided that this was our opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime to see some of the most beautiful locations in our country. We are taking the whole month of July and driving around the country to visit national parks, cities and other choice locations.

map

  1. Wanderlust Headquarters
  2. Niagara Falls
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Moab, UT & mountain biking, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park
  5. Bryce Canyon National Park
  6. Zion National Park
  7. Grand Canyon National Park (north rim)
  8. Death Valley National Park
  9. Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park
  10. Yosemite National Park
  11. Lassen Volcanic National Park
  12. Crater National Park
  13. Portland, OR
  14. Seattle, WA
  15. Glacier National Park
  16. Yellowstone National Park & white water rafting, Grand Tetons National Park & horseback riding
  17. Mount Rushmore
  18. Badlands National Park
  19. Madison, WI
  20. Chicago, IL
  21. Cuyahoga National Park

It’ll be a mad dash and by the end I suspect we’ll be more tired than we started. But hopefully we’ll be making memories that will last our lifetimes. Stories that we’ll tell when we gather for the holidays. Adventures that our kids can recreate with their kids.

Eventually there will be a slew of blog posts from the trip, but until then stay tuned to my social media locations for photos, updates and more.

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A Look Back on 2016 and Ahead to 2017

2016-featureA Look Back on 2016

2016 has come and gone and now is the time to reflect on all that was accomplished or not. I think that many would agree that it was a rough year with all of the musician and celebrity deaths, Brexit, the US election, the war in Syria, the Keystone XL pipeline standoff, and the proposed motel near the summit of Mount Washington. But for me (outside of celebrities, politics and global disaster) it was a pretty good year. Here’s a rundown of my goals for the year and whether or not I attained them:

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Hike: Mount Moosilauke

TRIP REPORT

In 2011, when I rediscovered my love of hiking, I knew nothing of this New England 4000 Footer list. My older brother and I hiked Franconia Ridge in clouds, gale-force winds and horizontal rain. Since Mount Lincoln wasn’t marked aside from a large cairn (which were plentiful on the ridge), I wasn’t even sure when we’d hit it. It wasn’t until the following year that I discovered the list and decided it would be the fuel to burn my hiking desire.

I was thrilled when my brother said he’d be there to hike Mount Moosilauke, the final 4000, with me as well. He had had a couple of kids in the last few years, so it had been hard for him to keep up with his crazy younger brother who’d seemingly hit the mountains every weekend. My kids were older and either went with me or were able to fend for themselves for eight hours while I trekked to New Hampshire and the more distant reaches of Maine. We made plans to hike and camp out the night before the big hike.

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A Look Back on 2015 and Ahead to 2016

A Look Back on 2015

2015 has come and gone and now is the time to reflect on all that was accomplished or not. I mentioned in my very first post nearly two years ago that I had come to a turning point in my life and that my focus was turning from my career and security toward those things in life that make me happy.

On the responsibility-side of the coin my family has made a lot of progress fulfilling the American Dream:

  • Melissa spent 2 weeks in Costa Rica fulfilling a Science credit toward her Bachelor’s Degree (which she will complete in 2016) and guest wrote the most popular posts on Maine Wanderlust
  • Melissa also closed her from-home Daycare business (after 12 years) and started working at a Daycare in Freeport
  • We moved off Long Island and into our first house in Gorham
  • Our boys successfully integrated into their new schools and love them
Ranch house with huge lawn

Our first house!

On the flip side of the coin (the gypsy-wanderlust side) I’ve had a year of amazing adventures with family and friends. I didn’t accomplish everything I set out for at the beginning of the year. But the purpose of lofty goals is progress toward a better and happier being and to enjoy the trip along the way, not to blatantly check things off a list. Those which are not accomplished are as valuable as those which are.

  • I completed my first winter hike of a New England 4000 Footer on January 2nd when I climbed Cannon Mountain with my brother and friend John
  • I didn’t snowshoe to the top of Mount Washington, but I did hike it with John on a snowy and icy November day with hurricane-force winds. And it was clear on top!
  • I didn’t complete my New Hampshire and Vermont 4000 Footers, but I only have two left in New Hampshire, one left in Vermont and four left in Maine.
  • I did not attempt the Hut-to-Hut hike in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. I am still not in the shape for it nor have the endurance to hike for 24 hours straight. Maybe this year?
  • I did not attempt a solo, 1-day hike of the Presidential Traverse, but I did do a Super-Moonlit hike of Mount Adams with John in August.
  • My hiking buddies and I didn’t get around to a multi-day hike in the Adirondacks this summer. But, Michael, Jeff and I spent three days camping on Flagstaff Lake in the end of August and climbed four Maine 4000 Footers.
  • I did not get to Mount Greylock, so the high point of Massachusetts is still on my to-do list.
  • Michael, John and I spent an amazing four days hiking in the Sierra Nevadas in the Emigrant Wilderness.
Valley of trees with bright blue sky

One of the amazing vista from the Emigrant Wilderness

On top of those goals from the beginning of 2015, I also:

  • Started cycling to work rather than commuting by car and have completed more than 3,000 miles on my Surly Long Haul Trucker
  • Hiked Knife Edge and two 4000 Footers in Baxter State Park with my older son
  • Went on my first bike & hike trip where I biked from Maine to the White Mountains and back, hiked and back-country camped solo and completed the four 4000 Footers in the Sandwich Range
  • Got up hours before dawn in order to hike Mount Jackson for sunrise because I can (now that we’ve moved off the island)
Bike next to national park sign

Entering White Mountain National Forest, on bike

A Look Ahead to 2016

Keeping with the themes from last year and in an attempt to complete some of those goals I missed, here are my goals for 2016:

  • Winter hike more of the New Hampshire 4000 Footers, including Mount Washington
  • Complete the New England 4000 Footer list and make good progress on the New England Hundred Highest
  • Again I want to attempt a solo, single-day hike of the Presidential Traverse, and if I’m able to do it, maybe I’ll add the Hut-to-Hut in 2017
  • Do that multi-day, late summer hike of the Adirondacks with friends
  • Do a couple state high points, Mount Greylock in Massachusetts and Mount Marcy in New York are likely candidates
  • With it being the National Parks Service’s Centennial, I’d really like to get out to Utah with the family and do the five 38° North National Parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion (A California CondoR Beds in Zion)
  • I’d really like to get out to British Columbia with some of my hiking buddies to see the Canadian Rockies, hopefully Banff or Jasper
Arch-shaped rock formation

Delicate Arch (photo credit: http://miscosaspepiss.blogspot.com/)

Luckily for me, my family supports my wandering feet and I’ve been able to find a healthy balance between responsibility and the quest for inner peace. I think I’ve become a happier person as a result.

Thanks to all of you who have checked in on my little adventures, liked and commented on my posts, or followed me anywhere in the social-media-websphere. They might seem like small acts, clicking a like or follow button, but they give me a burst of confidence to continue writing which in turn encourages me to get out there and experience more. I hope your 2015 was as great as mine. Where will your wanderlust take you in 2016?

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
-Ernest Hemingway

References:
Banff National Park.” pc.gc.ca. Parks Canada. Web. 01 January 2016.
Jasper National Park.” pc.gc.ca. Parks Canada. Web. 01 January 2016.
National Park Service Centennial.” nationalparks.org. National Park Foundation. Web. 01 January 2016.
Utah National Parks.” utah.com. Utah Travel Industry. Web. 01 January 2016

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Hike: Emigrant Wilderness

Trail Report

Much like in 2014 when we hiked Guadalupe Peak and El Capitan, my coworkers and good friends John and Michael made plans to explore the wilderness away from our normal haunts by tacking a vacation onto a work-related trip. This time we chose a lesser known wilderness area within the Stanislaus National Forest called the Emigrant Wilderness. The Emigrant Wilderness is noted for its granite and volcanic terrain and beautiful alpine lakes. It became our target because it was only a 3 hour drive from San Francisco, relatively low in the Sierra Nevadas (it was April after all), it was easy to obtain a backcountry camping permit, it was below the 9000′ restriction on campfires and bear cans were not required.

As the date of our trip approached the forecast made it clear that we would not be experiencing the typical Californian climate. Though the weeks before and after our trip were sunny and in the 70s, the forecast for our week was in the 40s with threatening thunderstorms. On the day that our conferences ended the forecast still wasn’t great but it looked like the precipitation was going to be low even if the thunderstorms did manage to roll in. At the worst, the highest elevation forecast that was available predicted less than an inch of snow with temperatures in the mid to high 30s.

As we drove to REI and Whole Foods in Berkeley to get supplies we were still discussing whether to ditch the mountain plans and spend four days exploring Point Reyes, on the Pacific coast where the forecast was favorable. In the end it came down to the fact that we had planned our trip for months and flown from Maine to California in order to experience the Sierra Nevadas. The worst possible forecast would be a mild New England spring storm. So we headed to the mountains.

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