A New Year, Some Thoughts

It is places like the Grand Canyon that make me feel the most alive

It is places like the Grand Canyon that make me feel the most alive

2012 was an interesting year for me as an avid outdoor adventurer. It was another down year in some ways, I hardly rock climbed at all, I only climbed three big mountains, and yet I still managed to get in a wide diversity of adventures, from rafting the upper North Umpqua to backpacking in the Grand Canyon. For a lot of people, this would have been an epic year. I guess it just shows where my standards are these days, and that is both a good thing and a bad thing.

This year, however, I would like to have a lot more adventures. These are my resolutions/goals and manifestations for 2013:

*Rock climb at least 20 times this year. Considering the amount of cragging available within an hour of my house, there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to accomplish this goal.

*Climb (or at least make a serious attempt) 10 big mountains this year. My list includes Rainier, Baker, Middle Sister, Jefferson, Whitney, Hood, Adams, and several others, but the first five are the most important.

*Kayak at least 20 times this year. I live on the North Umpqua river for goodness sake! Also, this list does not include the times when I just go in my backyard and paddle, I mean that I want to make at least 20 runs down the river.

*I want to get my family more active in the outdoors. Since Julia was born in 2011, we have not taken her on a single hike. Not one! Ridiculous. We just got out of the habit. The sad thing is (as if the above statement wasn’t sad enough), we went on many waterfall hikes while Brook was pregnant with JuJu and yet haven’t taken her to see a single one of these falls after her birth. Going to change that this year.

*Visit at least four national parks this year. Crater Lake is a little over an hour away. Rainier is half a day’s drive. Same with Lassen. If I climb Whitney, I will be in Sequoia/King’s Canyon NP.

*Start climbing more serious mountains with my eldest daughter, Zoe. She will be twelve in February, and this is a pretty typical age for kids to start climbing mountains that are a step up from hikes. We are planning on starting with Diamond Peak, McLoughlin (when they are still snow covered and require the use of an ice-axe and possibly crampons), Hood, Middle Sister and Whitney. I am also going to get her a new harness for her birthday, so we can resume rock-climbing together.

I am a better person when I get myself and my family into the great outdoors. Maybe living in the woods and on the river has jaded us a little bit, making us feel like we just have it all right here, and while it is absolutely beautiful here, there are so many places that are truly awesome that we need to get to. I certainly do. There is a huge difference between what we have here and what we could experience at a place like Crater Lake or Rainier. A sense of awe. A sense of power, a sense of humility.

I watched this video the other day, and it really reminded me of what I am missing when I don’t get to the really big places in the world, and it woke me up, made me realize what I long for. I need to go to places like Glacier, Zion and the Grand Canyon to tap into what has always been the most amazing feeling for me. It started when I first went to Yosemite as a child, and felt so small and yet so alive, and it will continue as long as I am able to get to these places.

So here’s hoping that this will be a fantastic year for me and for my family. I pray to the powers that be that I can get there often.



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