how close did you get?
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larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
how close did you get? on 11/19/2006 18:58:33 MST Print View

As I wax up my skis the reality that foot pounding season is drawing to close dawned on me.
It seemed like a good time to reflect on how close I got to any goals I set.
I definetly lightened up my climbing rack while, changed stoves a couple of times, struggled with balancing time away with family responsibilities,adjusted my mountain aspirations to the reality of my physical self and took a little girl out a couple of times.
New gear is cool but it actually was a bunch of little things that stick out, a bamboo curry spooon, rigging my old tarp just right, fighting my way through the bugs to get above them and ... the wilderness. Some of the places were like visiting old friends, places I can't imagine tiring of ...but there are a few new places that pop into my soul like strange jigsaw pieces.I can't ever get tired of that feeling when you crest a hill or pass and it all spreads out before you or realizing that on this one day it's all just bigger then you, you won't find a stream crossing or some real weather setting in and retreat is in order.
I won't give you a score of how it went, I'm like a jail bound prisoner peering out through the bars, clipping pictures, looking ahead to next season, just lacking any objectivity about how it all went.
So how did it all unfold for you?

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: how close did you get? on 11/19/2006 22:11:09 MST Print View

I did my longest unsupported hike with some very good friends this year. I learned that hiking 19 miles in a day can cause pretty antisocial feelings, but that having your husband standing at the trailhead, waiting for you to emerge at the end, and seeing the PCT junction sign for the pass-and knowing he was within yards of me, it causes a high unlike anything else.
I took my son on two cross country trips this year, he enjoys them more than "regular" backpacking trips.
But most of all, I know hiking season isn't over, it just becomes snowshoeing season ;-)

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: how close did you get? on 11/20/2006 09:26:44 MST Print View

For this novice backpacker, it's been a banner year. I shaved 6 pounds off my pack weight, but more importantly, I got out a lot this year. After one aborted trip due to my companion breaking her leg near Kirkwood in the Sierras, I got up to Desolation and Emigrant Wildnernesses a few times, capturing some gorgeous light and making some (IMHO) good shots. Losing 10 pounds this year has also been quite a feat.

After the broken leg incident, I've been hell-bent on first aid, reading a ton and taking some classes. This fills me with a sense of preparedness that I've never had before. Not enough to increase my risk tolerance, though. :-)

This will also be my first year snowshoeing - I've been x-country skiing for a few years but my companion's leg needs activity a bit more foot-up-foot-down style. At sea level here near San Francisco, the rains have come and are turning everything green...lots of fog creating a stellar atmosphere (for photography, anyway)!

As Sarah said, it's been a great year and it ain't over yet!

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Colorado Trail on 11/20/2006 15:53:31 MST Print View

I met my big backpacking goal for the year, which was to hike the Colorado Trail. I was very lucky that Colorado's late May/early June heat hit when it did, because it mostly wiped out the significant snowpack I expected with a June 7 start. Snow pack was actually minimal, with the most significant on Georgia Pass, the 10-Mile Range and Searle Pass. I finished on July 12.

The other big goal is almost complete, to finish my masters in special ed (I graduate Dec 15)so I can have my life back (at least sort of) to backpack and hike more during the regular school year.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Goals? Hmmm. on 11/20/2006 16:28:28 MST Print View

I did not think about Backpacking goals before this year...so in that regard, I have taken the biggest step.

1. Created an excel "gear list" and considered weight as the critical factor for deciding kit.

2. Slept under an ultra-light tarp for the first time.

3. Used beercan esbit stove for the first time.

4. Ditched boots in favor of trail-runners...with outstanding results.

5. Visited one of the most beautiful lakes I have seen in my life...and caught 14 trout in 2 hours (native) to conclude one of my best days in the outdoors!

6. Set some life-long goals with regard to the sport and expect to continue to learn (with regards to first aid, and cold weather treking, etc.).

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
back on the trail after injury on 12/04/2006 19:47:29 MST Print View

Big accomplishment was to be back out on the trail after a partial knee dislocation which happened while hiking with Cave Dog on his Duofold 50K in 50 states tour.

1. Being able to hike a flat 7 miles 3 months after wiping out.

2. Hiking a 15 mile section of AT a month after that

3. Then by July started going on steeper trails in NH White Mountain Nat. Forest every weekend from July thru November.

4. Traded in tent for a tarp and Tyvek ground sheet, switched from alcohol to Esbit stove
swapped Jam pack for MH Scrambler, getting closer to SUL.

5. Having hiking pals ask "where's the rest of your stuff?"

Edited by florigen on 12/04/2006 20:11:18 MST.

Kevin Pietriyk
(pietriyk) - F

Locale: Northeastern PA
better than I thought on 12/05/2006 14:02:29 MST Print View

I got to go out a couple times with my best friends, and a few times solo, which is always treasured time. I've cut my pack from super-heavy to lightweight, if not ultralight (yet!).

I think the biggest goal I met this year was getting my mind wrapped around how much (actually, how little) I really need to take with me to be safe and comfortable in most instances.

I made dehydrated meals for my friends and I for the whole summer, and got them all to start thinking "lighter" in that regard, instead of bringing cans of stew! I also got beercan stoves for my two best friends, and they use them.

I took my son out more this year, we've had a couple grand adventures, and looking forward to many more.

I missed taking a few trips this year because of being busy at work due to the flooding in June, and the ear infections I got from being in the flood water and basically soaking wet for well over a week straight (which just cleared up totally a couple weeks ago).

I think the most important goal I acheived this year in regard to backpacking is keeping my pack together and ready to go. I just need to toss a few vittles in and go.

BTW- Very nice pictures, Nathan! I absolutely love the jellyfish room at MB Aquarium, was a member for several years when I lived there.

Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: how close did you get? on 12/05/2006 14:26:46 MST Print View

I got to do a lot of firsts for me this year:

1. Transitioning from GoreTex boots to trail runners (a great decision)

2. Visiting the spots in Sierra National Forest that I was driven out of last year by the number of mosquitos.

3. Getting lost in the Sierras without a map and realizing I could handle the situation and get out safely (the accomplishment was getting out btw, not getting lost)

4. Thru hiking the Massanutten Trail in VA, and hearing some mountain bikers I passed say "he's just like that Survivorman!"

5. Biggest of all - made the decision to hike the PCT next year.