I do live in a beautiful area and I have about a dozens parks within an hours drive from my home. I am in the process of finishing up a couple more new trip reports that I hope to put out by the end of the week. Wait till you see some of these photos – its pretty amazing that it costs no money to do these hikes. The southwest desert is awesome – I was born in Deming NM and raised in Tucson AZ. I have hiked numerous Arizona trails and found it to be just as stunning.
I have two planned trips: (1) I will be doing an extend Tahoe Rim Trail that includes the Desolation forest and Granite Chief and (2) the Colorado Trail. It is the Colorado trail that has been pushing me for some time now but I have not been able to get two week of free time to do it. In mid August, I believe that I have finally been able to secure the time off. At the moment, I am not so sure because of an NSF grant meeting that I might have to attend in DC. I believe that I can get around it though – my fingers are crossed.
As to your question about what drives me, I really don’t know. I never attempt to break personal records – I find that it defeats the purpose of being outdoors for me. However, the physical endurance and mental challenges associated with those distances keeps my life into perspective. Sometimes I find that life (work, family, money…) is too much for me and over the top. There are many hikes that I tell myself at the beginning that this is crazy and doubt whether I can complete it or not, but somehow I raise up to the occasion and succeed. I guess it is this struggle that is the key. Afterwards, of course, I feel proud because I accomplished my goal but it’s deeper - everything seems better; the air tastes a little sweeter, the colors are a little brighter, and work seems easy. Everything that was challenging before just seems to be trivial and ordinary. On the other hand, the outdoors is my lifestyle, a way of life for me. Although I call it training it is not training for me, it is who I am. I guess it is really a combination of things.
Your question is deep Eugene! I can go on and on but I hopefully you get the point.