I’m not prone to engaging in trendy things like listing something I’m thankful for every day in the month of November. That doesn’t mean I’m not thankful. Far from it. I’m just too busy writing to engage in random time fillers.
But this year, my first of adding hiking/backpacking to my diminished-by-design running regimen, has given me lots to be thankful for:
I’m thankful for the good health to be able to attack my newfound passion for slowing down to enjoy the view. Good health cannot be overrated. And neither can the ability to take advantage of it.
I’m thankful for all those who have come before, from Emma Gatewood to John Muir, who understood that a good vigorous hike in the woods does wonders for the soul and spread that good news through word and deed.
I’m thankful for the legions of hikers who selflessly devote their time to keeping exhaustive journals and publishing them in places that newbies like me can access as both to-do (or not-to-do) guides and inspiration.
Along the same lines, I’m thankful for people like Philip Werner over at SectionHiker.com who review hundreds of items of gear with a high level of detail so that ignorant slobs like me can make informed choices, and who reply to email queries with great advice.
I’m thankful for the jaw-dropping deals I’ve gotten on gear this year. As a temporarily income-free writer and marketing guy, cheap deals on great gear are not only important, but mandatory.
And finally, I’m thankful for those of you who follow this blog and read my ridiculous scribblings every Thursday. I appreciate the follows, likes and comments more than you know.
I hope the holiday finds you happy, healthy and, if you’re able, hiking.
It’s National Take A Hike Day. I’m not sure who decided to slap this important event smack in the middle of pre-winter November, but there it is. Being transportation-free and all, I’m afraid I won’t get to partake of the festivities today unless I want to try another weighted practice hike from home. Given that I was treated like a homeless person on the last one, I’m thinking I’ll pass. In lieu of a hike, I’m posting a photo from an earlier day trip so that I can at least feel all hikerish. Hikerly. Hikerhood. You know.
Still, it’s a “holiday” worth celebrating, even if it means slapping on three layers of clothing and a fuzzy hat to get it done.
If you’re here expecting an audio file of me singing a read-through of “Walden Pond” to a banjo accompaniment, I apologize…not that kind of hits.
Instead, it’s short jabs, random thoughts regarding things that will occupy my mind and time until I kick my AT section hiking aspirations back into gear next spring:
I’m looking to take both a wilderness first aid and map reading course over the winter. Philip Werner over at SectionHiker.com gave me valuable input on some places to take them. Thanks, Philip.
I continue to look for the perfect pack, and lots of stuff will hit the market after the first of the year. Early on I gushed about the Kestrel 48 which, in retrospect, might be a bit small for my needs (though it’s no doubt a great pack…still love my Kestrel 28). I’m not going all-in until I see the new stuff, but I definitely need to come up with a multi-day pack by April ’17. Waiting to see the new Granite Gear…gear, and still interested in a ULA Circuit.
The thought of screwing the snow baskets onto my Black Diamond trekking poles makes me want to sob.
Considering going with low-cut hiking boots next year. The biggest negative I hear is that by offering lower leg support, they can lead to weak ankles. Given that I’m a trail and field runner during my non-hiking hours, that isn’t an issue for me. My ankles take some pretty nasty rollovers and keep running. But my experience with rocks and roots on the AT this year lead me to believe that a low-cut, lightweight boot would be beneficial to me. As long as I keep running those fields and trails, of course.
In spite of my previously spoken aversion to doing so, I might try some winter hiking in more serene (translation: easy) environments like the carriage trails at Acadia National Park. Then again, I might not. Stay tuned.
There will be hot chocolate. Lots of hot chocolate. Current favorite: Salted Caramel.
That’s all the hits for now. Thanks for tuning in…