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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Top 10 Photographs of 2016

2016-feature

Here is a list of my favorite photos from 2016. Last year I posted about my 10 favorite Instagram photos of 2015 because I had photo storage issues. This year I made a return to carrying my DSLR on hikes and captured some shots that do a good job of summing up my year of wandering. A bunch of these are from hikes I haven’t blogged about yet, so look forward to reading those posts in early 2017.

#10 – Great Range Traverse, Adirondacks
A couple of friends and I spent three days traversing the High Range in the Adirondacks in mid-September. This photo was taken of me on the northern edge of The Gothics just before the cable climb down to the col between it and Saddleback Mountain. The large slide in the background is Basin Mountain. These three mountains, despite their intense ups and downs, were my favorite part of the trip.

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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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