echo mountain hiking

New Year’s (Hiking) Resolutions

By Heather

I can’t believe that this is the year I started hiking.

It began in February with a trek to the Hollywood Sign that I enjoyed so much, the fever struck hard. Challenging! Rewarding! Fun! More or less free!

Fast forward to now, where I’ve been transformed into a nut who stares at the mountains off in the distance and dreams of when I can go back. We talk about the mountains almost every day while driving to work. I point out peaks I want to go to, peaks I’ve been to, peaks Darren should really see, wonder what it looks like up there right this second.

“Look at Baldy! It’s beautiful!” Or sometimes just, “We were up there, right at the top. ‘Member?”

Suddenly, everything John Muir said about nature and solitude feels so deeply true. The mountains are calling… one finds more than he seeks in nature…

I have hiking to thank, too, for this being the first year where a resolution to lose weight appears nowhere on my list. Nope. Hiking majorly whipped me into shape this year! It was a nice side effect, I’m not going to lie.

Resolutions

Next year, I want more of it. More hiking, more camping, more beauty, more surprises like inversion clouds and Bighorn Sheep.

1. Climb Half Dome. We’ve secured our wilderness permits to backpack in Little Yosemite Valley, and we’ve got our Half Dome tickets to climb the cables! This was the only thing that could have potentially screwed up the trip, so it’s now officially on. We’ve also booked a celebratory lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel when we return from the trek!

2. Climb Mount Whitney. Permits still need to be secured, but I’m crazy excited about this one. Oh, and I recently learned that Norman Rockwell climbed it on a whim! I’ll be walking in big footsteps on this hike.

3. Have a three-peak day. My peak-bagging adventures have so far been one at a time. This year, inspired by an Instagrammer who had an insane seven-peak day, I’m going to try a three-peak one, probably in the Cucamonga Peak area, since there are several clustered over there. Gotta work my way up to seven! I love a challenge.

There are a few other things on my list that don’t quite rise to the level of resolution but “If it happens, that would be awesome”: Climb Mt. San Gorgonio (11,500 feet), San Jacinto (10,800 feet), Mt. Baden-Powell (9,400 feet) and the Bridge to Nowhere hike.

It’s pretty likely that at least one of these will happen – Jacinto or Gorgonio are great Mt. Whitney training hikes. I did fine above 10,000 feet on Mt. Baldy and had no altitude sickness, but I’d like to get up even higher and see how it goes.

Yes, we are still camping

Fret not, we’re still camping. This year wasn’t a great one, honestly, and I think we’re enjoying our break right now.

Things just never really gelled this year, and nearly every trip had something crappy happen. By the time our last trip rolled around in September, we were ready to rest for a while.

The biggest area we could improve with our camping is dealing with setbacks. As I described our current attitude to Darren recently:

“Camping is going to be so much fun this weekend! We’ll get there, get all our stuff set up and then kick back with some drinks, have dinner and it’ll be a great time and what?! The shock chord is broken?! Forget this!

Um. Maybe camping is meant to test our resourcefulness. Maybe it’s not meant to go perfectly all the time. Yep. Camping almost four years now and just having this epiphany.

Happy New Year and Happy Hiking and Camping in 2015!

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