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What If?
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
What If? on 09/17/2010 22:32:26 MDT Print View

What if you stopped waiting for the next season?

What if you took your top 5 weekend trip ideas and committed to making them happen in the next five to ten months?

What if the money you were about to spend on gear was set aside for gas or a plane ticket for a backpacking trip?

What if you stopped waiting until everything was perfect and went anyway?

What if you traded every dollar of gear spending for three miles of running or hiking?

What if you pulled out a calendar right now and planned the day you would set your personal record for the longest hiked in a day?

What if you stopped waiting on people and partners to make certain trips happen?

What if you made your career work around your travel plans?

What if you thought you only had three more years of backpacking?

What if time spent on the computer was spent studying a map to link trails, ridges, and canyons to create a completely original 50? 100? 500? mile loop?

What if you planned three separate 24 hour trips and did them all in the next three weeks?

______________________________________

After a summer of backpacking plans wasted by a broken wrist immediately followed by a nasty sinus infection, I'm lamenting the fact that the season slipped right by without any major backpacking trips to speak of.

Primarily car camping with a few shorter backpacks, I spent 24 nights in a sleeping bag between June 19th and August 28th this summer vacation...so I really can't complain. My friend Michael noticed the grease stain from my head on my Montbell pillow on an overnight a couple weeks ago. A badge of honor in my opinion, a sign of making it happen...or of poor hygiene?! Yet despite all those nights, I'm still a little bummed because I never managed to knock off a single trip on my backpacking tick list. I never had to climb many passes or really log the miles for any of the beautiful sunsets...and now I'm feeling restless.

But here we are, a new season upon us. Fall and winter are my favorite time to run and a sweet season for the So. Cal. deserts and the Southwest. Looking forward to backpack hunting, nights roasting quail on a spit in the woods...Crystal clear, crisp winter days of running and climbing in Joshua Tree...Snow camping...Long, pre-dawn runs in the Angeles National Forest...

As most people are winding down with the "peak" season coming to a close, I'm looking forward to a fresh start.

Happy trails folks.

Edited by xnomanx on 09/17/2010 23:39:35 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: What If? on 09/17/2010 22:45:02 MDT Print View

Craig,
I sort of know how you feel. I don't live in an area where the big trails and mountains are accessible. So every time I see a trip report from some amazing place that people live near (practically anywhere from the Rockies westward), or a BPL trip to Point Reyes, or whatever, I lament that I don't have those opportunities. However, that makes me more determined to explore the places I do have available to me, and I'm learning there is more to do with every passing season.

I think your point is that no matter the reason, we have a calling to be out there, in the wild. And the confines of normal life prevent that from time to time. We get caught up in the "what I don't have" mentality instead of focusing on the "what I do have" frame of thought.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: What If? on 09/17/2010 22:55:00 MDT Print View

I suppose we all have our own ways of "making things happen". For me -- I don't really ask myself any "what if" questions. If I want something to happen, then I simply put it on my calendar!

I have 8 bag nights this year to date. Not too bad. But truth be told, I am the type that's perfectly happy on the trail -- and perfectly happy "doodling around the house" all day! And when I don't calendar things, I can doodle away entire months and be perfectly happy and content.

I love to travel too -- and I usually calendar in one long trip each year -- be it a month long trip or a 5 or 7 months' duration. And when "D Day" comes -- I pierce through the web of inertia around me -- and take off.

Edited by ben2world on 09/17/2010 23:24:46 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Re: What If? on 09/17/2010 23:36:10 MDT Print View

What if?, I could find real gainful employment and have the funding resources like I had in the past that enabled me to get out at least twice a month... Here's to hoping.... I so love the shoulder seasons. I missed 2 summers of hiking due to injuries as well. Really need to make up for lost time. Not getting any younger either. Just wiser. And now wise enough to see the clock ticking at an alarming rate.

Edited by kthompson on 09/17/2010 23:36:51 MDT.

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: What If? on 09/18/2010 06:06:35 MDT Print View

Great thoughts, Craig!

Not sure where you live, but the Southeast season is just getting started! Find your way down here and hike!!

Best,
Todd

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
5 out of 7 on 09/18/2010 08:49:56 MDT Print View

Just like some people make gear lists, I make monthly trip lists. Typically, at the end of each month, I list out 7 day areas that I want to hike the next month. I don't specify the manner of trip, just the locations. I do this 12 months out of the year. I usually get 3 or 4 or may 5 of them in month.

For instance, this month I have already hit 4 of my seven locations. It's not too hard for me where I live, since I'm surrounded by options. Many of the areas I've visited dozens of times, but I just love being in the outdoors, camping out, hiking, and exploring different places.

Also, I have a more long-term list of places... Gila Wilderness, JMT, etc. That I plan to visit as soon as possible.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
What If? on 09/18/2010 11:46:10 MDT Print View

Great Thread Craig!!!

What If? I try to stick to my original PLAN and hike every month this year-so far so good... November and December will be tough with the Holidays and the lurking Pacific storms.

Jan- Pt.Reyes
Feb- Pt. Reyes
March- Henry Coe St Park
April- Arroyo Seco
May- Relief Reservoir, Emigrant Wilderness
May- South Fork Trinity River
June- Grand Canyon of the Toulmne River
June- Lake Winnemucca-Round Top Mt.
July- Hunt Lake, Idaho
Aug- Hoover Wilderness, Green Lake
Aug- Tehipite Trek to the JMT
Sept- Tehipite Trek to the JMT
Oct-?
Nov-?
Dec-?

25 nights out under the stars in a tent or a bag...I still need to focus on my PLAN

Edited by Creachen on 09/19/2010 20:29:59 MDT.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
whatif on 09/18/2010 16:35:42 MDT Print View

what if my employer actually gave me more than 10 days a year off? i would hike.

what if on those days off i actually had time to hike? i would go.

i have no time to hike now, or money. i have a family to support, a wife to put through college, and a job that gives me practically no time off. but im just fine, not depressed. the way i look at it, hiking happens when hiking happens, and i"ve accepted that fully. no problems at all. desires can cause alot of pain if you let them. just accepting things the way they are(brings peace) and a sense of the magic of just being alive now, instead of projecting into the future. so i dont do too much what-iffing.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 09/18/2010 16:43:10 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: What If... on 09/18/2010 17:43:13 MDT Print View

Ike,

I agree with your insights there! Without disagreeing at all with OP's questionings of what if we could do more with what we have -- one can also turn this a different angle entirely:

What if we can learn to be content with who we are, where we are, what we have, and what we do ( or don't do)?

As stated above, I seldom ask myself "what if" questions. I am pretty content with "what is" and whatever I really want to do, I just schedule it -- sometimes a few years in advance.

Edited by ben2world on 09/18/2010 17:55:15 MDT.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
What if? on 09/19/2010 01:36:14 MDT Print View

Craig - I feel your pain.

I caught a bug early in the summer and it foiled a couple of backpacking trips that I had planned (hung on forever!). I think the answer is to try to balance our obsessions.

I didn't dwell over the fact that I couldn't do the backpacking trips, I just planned a few more fishing trips (boat, shorter hikes etc.) and I had a great summer. I will continue to get out in Sept/Oct but I stop backpacking and camping when the rainy season starts. We rarely get snow or freezing temps in my area so I could plan backpacking trips year round if I didn't mind getting soaked every trip. When the rain starts, my obsession switches to day hikes and fishing trips and that keeps me pleasantly occupied until spring.

It's all good!

Edited by skopeo on 09/19/2010 01:37:49 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: What If? on 09/19/2010 18:39:24 MDT Print View

"What If" is financial forecasting in my life.

And we all prioritize our lives. I am on some sort of an outdoor adventure about 100 days per year. I have been remodeling my house since 2000, and it is no where near completion. I have been restoring a motorcycle for 5 years, and it is still in hundreds of pieces.

If I die tomorrow, I will have no regrets about how I spent my life.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: What If? on 09/20/2010 13:49:00 MDT Print View

> What if you stopped waiting on people and partners to make certain trips happen?

I did this one. I hiked the PCT two summers (and two halves) in a row. I hiked a remaining small portion this spring and summer, too. I'm not sure the partner really appreciated all the time spent away.

I hoped that maybe I could inspire my partner to live life more fully, to go on big adventures with me. Sometimes it works for dayhikes to just pack up my stuff and he'll see me and say hey, wait for me! It doesn't seem to work out that way for bigger trips.

So now I have to find a way to balance not waiting for the partner with not abandoning the partner entirely.

Michael Neal
(michaeltn) - F
sinus infection on 09/22/2010 08:33:13 MDT Print View

I too lost the entire summer to a sinus infection, not only that I am out of shape again and can't do much other than an easy overnight until I can get back in shape. When I get back in shape I will likely get sick again starting the whole cycle again. But will definitely get out there, it doesn't need to be a marathon.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: What If? on 09/22/2010 09:02:29 MDT Print View

Nick,
"If I die tomorrow, I will have no regrets about how I spent my life."

Thank you.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: What If? on 09/22/2010 09:42:44 MDT Print View

Piper,
I'm exactly in your boat. My wife wouldn't be caught dead joining me for my treks but she IS very supportive of me doing them. This has allowed me to tack on many weekend trips into the Sierras without fear of causing WW3.

So almost exactly a year ago I asked. WHAT IF I took a three month leave of absense from work and thru-hiked the PCT rather than wait till I retire and hope I'm still in good health. Fortunately, my wife is either OK with me being gone for 100 days or convinced that I wouldn't exactly do it. So Leave of Absense approval willing I will head off in late May knowing I have a resupply coordinator comfortably preparing to send my next resupply off to me.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Inspiring Others on 09/22/2010 11:01:47 MDT Print View

My wife enjoys day hikes, usually 10 to 16 miles in just about any kind of terrain. She never has and is completely unwilling to sleep on the ground. She especially enjoys camping in our tent trailer in remote sites and day hiking.

On the other hand, I prefer backpacking. So we do a lot of camping together in the popup, and do day hikes together. All my backpacking I do alone. This works out perfectly.

Would I like her to go backpacking with me? Absolutely. Would she enjoy it? Probably not. So I do not even try to inspire her to try it. As a matter of fact, if she changed her mind, she would need to present a compelling case for why she should go with me. Because I want her to provide her own inspiration in her life, not rely on me or anyone else to inspire her.

Does she live a full life? Yes indeed. Is she missing something? No, not in her opinion. And for her life, she is correct.

One thing I have learned in my life is that it is not good to try and change a partner. Now if you come up with an adventure that sounds appealing to your partner, that is great. If it does not sound appealing, do not try to force the issue.

Examples. A few years ago, I wanted to get a small inflatable boat with a small motor to explore some of the sections of the Colorado River (not whitewater rafting). The goal was to operate out of a base camp and then motor back at the end of the day. She was hesitant, but game. So we got an 8'6" boat with a 2.5 hp motor. Since the Colorado was flowing at around 5 mph, and our top speed was 4 mph upstream... well it was a difficult and long trip back. We needed to "serpentine" back because going straight did not work. We got back just as it was getting dark and we were exhausted. But she had a blast. And it was her suggestion to get a bigger boat and a larger motor. Actually she would have let me buy a huge boat and motor if I wanted. So we got a 10'6" boat with a 9.8 hp motor. Plenty big, lots of power. We enjoy day trips and paddle through still lagoons watching wildlife. To be honest, although backpacking is my passion, I would rather spend a weekend with my wife in the boat. And talk about inspiration... we were near Blythe, CA one week exploring on the water. Blythe is about 120 miles north of the southern border. Hot desert. On weekends the river is a speedboat/jet ski nightmare. But weekdays are pretty empty. So we are floating down the river, and in the reeds I see what looks to be a beaver lodge... in the desert! So we anchor and sit for a while. I don't tell her what I expect to see. She is looking around at the birds. It is late afternoon, and guess what? Yep, beavers. 3 of them. We watch them for maybe an hour. I am sure 1,000s of boaters go by this every year and never even know. But we had an amazing time.

A few years ago she wanted to go on a Caribbean cruise. Not my cup of tea. But I went and had a great time. I won't be doing a lot of cruises in the future, but once every couple of years with my wife will be okay by me. I would never do a cruise without her. It is more about being with her, than the cruise itself. And when the ship did the day stops, we skipped the shopping excursions and did hikes and other outdoors stuff. Great fun.

I guess the bottom line is that I do the solo things that inspire me, she does other things that inspire her, and we share the common things that inspire both of us. Most importantly, we do not let life get in the way of living. We both work hard and put in a lot of hours. But we go on some adventure nearly every weekend (separately or together), and we spend about an average of 30 vacation/holidays outdoors every year, both alone and together.

It is easy for partners to balance their lives, enjoy the common passions, and not lose your own inspiration.

Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
If ifs and buts were candy and nuts.................. on 09/22/2010 14:30:19 MDT Print View

What if you stopped waiting for the next season?
I don’t backpack in the winter.

What if you took your top 5 weekend trip ideas and committed to making them happen in the next five to ten months?
Divorce

What if the money you were about to spend on gear was set aside for gas or a plane ticket for a backpacking trip?
$0 doesn’t get me far.

What if you stopped waiting until everything was perfect and went anyway?
Divorce

What if you traded every dollar of gear spending for three miles of running or hiking?
I wouldn’t be so fat.

What if you pulled out a calendar right now and planned the day you would set your personal record for the longest hiked in a day?
Disappointment

What if you stopped waiting on people and partners to make certain trips happen?
Divorce and a lot of child support payments.

What if you made your career work around your travel plans?
Unemployment

What if you thought you only had three more years of backpacking?
Depression

What if time spent on the computer was spent studying a map to link trails, ridges, and canyons to create a completely original 50? 100? 500? mile loop?
Lots and lots of loops would be created.

What if you planned three separate 24 hour trips and did them all in the next three weeks?
Divorce

Did I pass the quiz?

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"What If?" on 09/22/2010 14:40:01 MDT Print View

Hilarity! I think you passed your wife's quiz if that's what you're asking. I give you an A+ for cracking me up, but you failed Craig's quiz for sure.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: If ifs and buts were candy and nuts.................. on 09/22/2010 14:55:08 MDT Print View

I find it interesting that many people assume that asking "What if?" means one is focusing on what one doesn't have, on the negative, on not living in the present, or is somehow expressing discontent with life.

I don't see it like that at all.
I suppose this is a case of some seeing the glass as half empty vs. half full.

Of the questions I asked, many are purely hypothetical and have nothing to do with me, many of them hit home.

But I ask them all with optimism, not with a sense of something lacking.

To ask oneself "What if?", in my book, is simply an act of visualization, of allowing oneself to dream, to wonder about what is possible in ones life. What if I could knock 1 minute off my fastest mile or go backpacking twice as much this year?

The questions are harmless. It'ss the answers, how we read into those answers, and how we believe those answers will change our lives...these are the things that carry weight.

To those that say they do not ask "What If?"...this is strange to me. I almost interpret this as saying one does not dream.

I think I'll be what iffing til' I die. Some of those what ifs will fade away. Others will be realized. Hopefully. Because if I ever stop, I might go and start thinking I've got it all figured out. Then I'd be dangerous :)

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: If ifs and buts were candy and nuts.................. on 09/22/2010 15:19:36 MDT Print View

"What if you made your career work around your travel plans?"

Yep, this one is the key to the outdoors. I have taken a part time job. I only have half the money, but I also have half of my time back! Long weekends every weekend!

And Gear Swap always turns up the goods. :-)