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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Looking Ahead to 2015

Mount Washington Observatory in Winter, credit

Mount Washington Observatory in Winter, credit

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.

Adirondack Hiking Information.” Adirondack Mountain Club. Web. 21 December 2014.
Hal Higdon Training Program.” Hal Higdon. Web. 21 December 2014.
Hiking the White Mountains Hut Traverse.” Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Web. 21 December 2014.
Life List: Moonlit Presidential Traverse.” Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc. Web. 21 December 2014.
Mount Greylock State Reservation.” Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Web. 21 December 2014.
Round Top.” Web. 21 December 2014.

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A Look Back on 2014

I think it was in 2010 when I hit my highest body weight to date that I decided I had to stop fooling around with my life and focus on my health, both physically and mentally. I started training for a half marathon and dabbled in Buddhism. That year I teamed up with my wife to run the Vermont City Marathon relay (we both ran 13.1 miles of it). That started the ball rolling for more and more extreme activities in which I could partake to motivate my daily exercise.

In 2012 I ran my first full marathon (the Sugarloaf Marathon), completed a Tough Mudder mud run and (due to my increased appetite in hiking) attempted my first Presidential Traverse.

2012 Tough Mudder, Mt. Snow, Vermont

2012 Tough Mudder, Mt. Snow, Vermont

In 2013 things shifted more towards hiking as I completed the Pemigewasset Loop and the Presidential Traverse and started to seriously take on the New England 4000 Footers.

2013 Pemi Loop, Bondcliff

2013 Pemi Loop, Bondcliff

As this year winds down, I wanted to take a minute to reminisce on all that I have accomplished in 2014. One thing that I’ve taken away from starting this blog is that I appreciate all of the adventures that I’ve taken this year. I think by writing them down I’ve ingrained the activity in my memory and it affords me the opportunity of reliving the experience whenever I like. I highly suggest that everyone does the same, whether it is done publicly or privately.

Snack Break in Baxter Park, 2014

Snack Break in Baxter Park, 2014

I hiked 59 different peaks in four different states in 2014. I climbed 25 different peaks of the New England 4000 Footers, 15 of which were for the first time. Below is a list of the hikes and activities that stand out the most to me:

2014 has been an incredible year for me in many regards. I’ve had no shortage of adventures and as a result I’ve been a happier person on a day-to-day basis. I look forward to repeating the same in 2015 and possibly adding a few over-the-top adventures to test myself and share with you.

Nostalgia is a necessary thing, I believe, and a way for all of us to find peace in that which we have accomplished, or even failed to accomplish.
—R.A. Salvatore

Pemigewasset Loop FAQ.” David Albeck. Web. 18 December 2014.
Presidential Traverse.” EarthLink. Web. 18 December 2014.
Sugarloaf Marathon.” sugarloaf,com. Sugarloaf Mountain Resort. Web. 18 December 2014.
Tough Mudder.” Tough Mudder, Inc. Web. 18 December 2014.
Vermont City Marathon.” RunVermont. Web. 18 December 2014.

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From an early age we’re told how important it is to be a functional part of society. That what we make of our lives is what’s important. That hard work equals big rewards.

It’s the American way: do well in school, get a scholarship, land a career job, climb that corporate ladder, start and support a family, move into the suburbs. This is what life is about. Hold your head up high, you’re making a difference!

Unfortunately, I was never a great student. I was never able correlate the repetitious worksheets and textbook chapters to peace of mind and future financial security. For that reason (and many others that would cause far too much of a degradation to go into), I found myself trying to figure out how to not only take care of myself financially, but a family as well.

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine

The solution was, of course, to follow that American dream. I went back to college and got serious about a career. After four years of working full time, going to school online at night and raising a family I found myself at the foundation of a quality career.

But, in the years since I’ve found myself going to Google Images and searching for marvels such as Torres del Paine, Denali, Antelope CanyonAuyantepui. I had a creeping feeling that Google would be the closest I’d get to these marvels living the Career Life.

Baxter Peak

My Brother and Me on Baxter Peak

Then a few years ago my older brother and I started hiking together. We did Franconia Ridge in New Hampshire and Baxter Peak in Maine. As we continued to explore the wild and discussed the burdens of life, I came to a realization: you can plan your life to the smallest details and try to build a career, but in the end you control very little. Life is not about financial success and security, but about enjoying opportunities as they arise.

I found that there is a part of me that only feels fulfilled when I hit the trail. A stirring in the chest that only presents itself when a craggy summit is in view. A release from the weight of the daily grind and expected responsibility. As this new found part of me developed I began to question the logic of waking up each day just to spend it sitting in a big metal building staring at a screen of code.

So begin the the tales of my restless feet and the inner battle to apease my desire to explore the world while still supporting a family and not disappointing those who may rely on me.

“There’s a race of men that don’t fit in, A race that can’t sit still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and rove the flood, And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Their’s is the curse of the gypsy blood, And they don’t know how to rest.”
– Robert W. Service