Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with a friend about what we respectively did during long periods of unemployment. We both realized that neither of us had really done much because there were no real goals (aside perhaps from getting a job), and therefore there was no impetus to push hard to accomplish something. While conversing, I expressed astonishment that I had somehow managed to complete graduate school, get married, and hike over 900 miles this year. It seemed to defy logic that a person could accomplish so much with so little time and accomplish nothing when there is nothing but time. I concluded it was because, when swamped with demands on time, goals become essential guidelines for maintaining an active balance.
In 2014, it is unlikely that life will get any less busy. I will look for new work, maintain a happy married life, and see about bringing a new person into the world. A reasonable person might suggest putting hiking on the shelf, and yet here I am conceiving a whole new list of different things to accomplish on the year. In some ways, this year will be the most ambitious of the three years I’ve set goals. This is mainly because I’m front-loading the year with the intention of backing off in Summer and Fall. Anyhow, this is what I wish to accomplish this year:
1. Proofread my blogs
Seriously. As an English major, I ought to be ashamed of myself for all the silly grammar and spelling mistakes I leave in this blog. I shuld now better
2. Hike the San Diego Segment of the PCT
San Diego County contains about 150 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, the completion of which is one of my life’s ambitions. It’s unfeasible to hike the entire thing from beginning to end, as I’m a married man with a demanding job. This doesn’t mean that I can’t spend the next 30 years of my life piecing the entire trail together one summer at a time. San Diego is the most logical place to start, since I’ve already covered a good 35 miles of the trail here. Some of this will be done on extremely long day hikes, while other portions will be thru-hiked.
3. Hike the Combined High Sierra and John Muir Trails
This is where the list really starts getting ambitious. My idea is to take the High Sierra Trail from Crescent Meadow in Sequoia National Park, cross the Sierra Nevadas until intersecting with the PCT/John Muir Trail, and then following the trail north over 200 miles to Yosemite Valley. I estimate this will take about 16 days at about 15 miles today. Provided I can manage to condition myself well, this should not prove to be overwhelming. This is also a way to bite off a sizable chunk of the PCT, which will include the most celebrated section of the trail.
4. Complete 50 new hikes
This year, I set the goal to reach 75 brand new hikes, and I ended up taking 80. Next year, I’m scaling it down since I’ve chewed up a lot of the “low hanging fruit” hikes in San Diego. I’ll include the big hikes, such as the JMT or HST, but I am uncertain for now whether I include them as one complete hike or include the individual portions. For now, these are the hikes I’d like to take:
5. Become proficient in ultralight backpacking.
I’ve done a fair amount of backpacking over the last three years. Some of the trips have been pretty epic, such as this year’s jaunt across the Grand Canyon. However, I am wary of wear and tear injuries from carrying such heavy loads. Therefore, I’m slowly amassing a set of ultralight backpacking items that will effectively cut my weight in half. However, this is minimalism at its finest, and so I feel like it’s a skill that will need to be honed and perfected. To that end, I’ll be doing a lot of backpacking to get proficient, as well as to train for JMT/HST.