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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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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Looking Ahead to 2015

Mount Washington Observatory in Winter, credit silentlandscapes.com

Mount Washington Observatory in Winter, credit silentlandscapes.com

The new year typically means a time of reflection and a time of resolutions. I’ve made my share of resolutions, but they always seem so history-focused. I try focus more on the now, or at the very most the near-future. I’d much rather consider some goals for the upcoming year than try to set empty promises to correct my societal-based, self-perceived, personal issues. As I hinted in my look back on 2014, I like to set my sights on extreme adventures which push me to stay on target on a daily basis.

For example, if I tell myself I’m going to run four times a week and cross train once a week, I will get bored with the regiment in a month and stop doing it. On the other hand, if I focus on running a marathon in May, I’ll start training for it 8 months prior and religiously stick to the aforementioned training schedule. Big goals work for me, not pointless behaviors.

With that in mind, here are some of my goals for 2015:

  • Complete my first winter hike of a New England 4000 Footer
  • Possibly related to the above, I’d like to snowshoe to the top of Mount Washington on a clear day
  • Complete the New Hampshire (13 remaining) and Vermont (1 remaining) 4000 Footers
  • Attempt the White Mountains Hut-to-Hut Hike in 24 hours
  • Attempt a solo, 1-day Presidential Traverse or a moonlight Presidential Traverse with friends
  • Do a multi-day summer hike with friends in the Adirondacks
  • Hike Massachusetts’s Highest Point, Mount Greylock
  • Hike some of the Sierra Nevadas while on the west coast for work training

Some of these goals are unlikely (Mount Washington being clear on a day I have off in the winter) or just crazy (Hut-to-Hut). But, I like to go big because if I fail I still achieve something great and learn a lot. I also realize that I have to be in great shape if I hope to accomplish these goals. That’s why I’ve started Hal Higdon’s Novice Supreme marathon training even though a marathon is not on my list of goals for 2015. My training end date is the Summer Solstice with the goal of being in marathon-shape for some of my crazier goals.

Finally, I would also like to continue to write blog posts for the duration of 2015. My goal has been to write a post a week to make sure I continually produced content for you, my readers. Hiking logs are easy for me to write. With nearly 60 mountains hiked last year I have plenty of content in that regard. I’m curious what people are interested in seeing in my posts that are not specific to hiking a particular mountain. Gear, trail food, instructional posts, balancing work/family/adventure?

Hit up the comments below if you have some ideas and thanks for reading in 2014 and I hope you continue to visit in 2015.

References:
Adirondack Hiking Information.” adk.org. Adirondack Mountain Club. Web. 21 December 2014.
Hal Higdon Training Program.” halhigdon.com. Hal Higdon. Web. 21 December 2014.
Hiking the White Mountains Hut Traverse.” wsj.com. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Web. 21 December 2014.
Life List: Moonlit Presidential Traverse.” backpacker.com. Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc. Web. 21 December 2014.
Mount Greylock State Reservation.” mass.gov. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Web. 21 December 2014.
Round Top.” summitpost.org. SummitPost.org. Web. 21 December 2014.

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