Each new year, we find ourselves full of hope and optimism. When the clock strikes midnight, we look ahead to wonderful times with friends and family, as well as ourselves. In those few few hours, days and weeks of the new year, we have a pep in our step and feel motivated to make the next 365 days the best of our lives. We make promises and resolutions, set goals and make plans. For many of us, the start of a new calendar also signals the time to daydream toward adventures in the outdoors.
Each year, I find myself struggling to make realistic goals for the coming new year. Three hundred and sixty five days means 365 trips to public lands, right? Twelve months means a dozen road trips that lead to far off destinations. Fifty-two weekends? That means I can run 52 races AND climb 52 summits. I look at the open calendar like a kid’s letter to Santa. In my head, nothing is impossible.
The older I get, the more audacious my hopes for the coming year become. Maybe it is understanding that my time on this planet is slowly slipping away, or maybe it is because I am ridiculously addicted to Public Lands. All I know is that I will make the most of it, no matter what obstacles get in my way. In 2019, I somehow want to run from Canada to the Grand Canyon, along a scenic highway. Reality kicks in harshly though, as I do not have the time, the funds or the infrastructure to do so this year. I then have to make these goals more realistic and hope I can repeat the amazingness of 2018.
In 2018, I ran 1500+ miles, visited 10 states, seven National Parks, climb 15 mountains and competed in three trail races.
To expect to have a better year than that is insane.
For me, the trick is to realize that there is no better. I already started 2019 out with an amazing trip to the Olympic National Park coast, followed by a trip out to Montana to run Paradise Valley, and explore the winter in Yellowstone. I have plans for snowshoe adventures and hot springs trips, mountains to summit and more parks to visit. I have races to run and new places to explore, all in the next few months. Looking inward, I have a lot to look forward to in the new year and am excited for the possibilities.
But it isn’t all about me.
I hope that everyone I know gets out to amazing areas, hiking and backpacking, trail running and kayaking. I hope that you all can explore to your heart’s content and that the sky isn’t filled with wildfire smoke. I hope you all find the outdoors as inspiring and life-changing as I do and that it brings you true happiness. I hope that this is the year that my passion and excitement for Public Lands helps others go out and explore. I want others to celebrate these lands and fight for them. I want our little #NatureWritingChallenge group to grow and expand, surging up into the mainstream until OUR land is fully funded, 100% protected and the infrastructure of the areas brought into the current century. I hope that parents take their kids camping, to a National Forest, Refuge or Park, instilling a lifelong connection between the entire family and the delicate ecosystems that we have protected for the future.
I sincerely hope you have the best year ever on Public Lands and will gladly do my best to help you out.
In 2019, I hope…
To inspire more people to discover Public Lands and to practice Leave No Trace.
To walk along driftwood and sand, and finally finish a 50k race.
I hope for mountain summits, animals sightings, and days wandering ridge lines with panoramic views.
For sunny days, crazy storms with lightning, and a meteor shower or two.
I hope for hundreds of stunning sunsets and sunrises, controlled campfires and needed snowfalls.
For clear night for stargazing in parks with funded budgets, and a country with no walls.
I use hope, but that word is too passive. It is lacking, like my attempt at poetry. Instead, I need to use a different word. In the new year, I will work for all of the dreams listed above and hopefully spread inspiration, passion and wonder through my writing and podcast. I will work to be a better steward of the land, in my actions and my words. I will make sure to appreciate each moment I have on Public Lands, no matter how big or small. In 2019, I will be much more appreciative of hat I have and how lucky I am.
I will continue to share my experiences and work to make The Outdoor Society a trustworthy, dependable, inspiring friend to all Public Land lovers. Thank you for an amazing year last year and I look forward to our adventures together in the coming year. Keep your head up.
This Post Was Written and Posted in One Hour as Part of the #NatureWritingChallenge.
For more of my writing, pick up our Summit Book 2019, a one of a kind celebration of public lands around the PNW. In the Summit Book 2019, we dive deep into Washington State’s Mount Ellinor and Mount Rainier, with sections that detail the history, routes and wildlife of these iconic Public Lands destinations.