Thursday, December 31, 2015

Great Outdoor Resolutions

Matt recently read an idea in Backpacker magazine which we were pretty taken with.  The idea is a twist on regular New Year's resolutions in which the theme of the resolutions are actually goals for outdoor adventures or skills.
I firmly believe that setting goals and writing things down makes them come to pass much more readily.

So, with that, here is our list of outdoor resolutions for 2016.  Its a short, attainable, little list that will encourage us to take on new experiences and revisit old favorites we've neglected in recent years.

  • Go backpacking
  • Climb to a new mountain top
  • Visit a new national park 
  • Plan a camping trip with friends/family
  • Rent/Camp in a fire lookout tour
  • Learn to tie four useful knots
  • Learn to identify the major features of the moon
  • Go backpacking
I had never gone backpacking before I met Matt.  In our first years together we did it quite regularly.  There is something fantastic about really getting away--away from campgrounds and other campers, away from roads and main trails--and being self-reliant in the process...knowing you carry every thing you need.  Its an empowering, transformative activity.  After years of hiking together and slowly amassing lighter, better gear we suddenly "discovered" the awesomeness that is Yellowstone National Park back in 2011...and we pretty much became Yellowstone dayhiking addicts who car camp.  It wasn't a conscious choice to stop backpacking.  All of the sudden it had just been years since we went.  When I backpacked with my friend, Kris, this summer I don't think I'd done so in three years.  It was like riding a bike though, flooding right back into me as if there'd been no lapse--and it got me charged to pick up the pastime again.  We're not sure if we'll do our backpacking in Yellowstone or maybe--just maybe--try to get over our single-minded focus on this area for a couple weekends at least.  There are countless beautiful places to visit.


  • Climb to a new mountain top
I've only ever been to the top of three mountains--Washburn, Elephant Back, and Bunsen Peak--all in Yellowstone National Park.  I've certainly hiked around on a lot of mountains....but almost never to the top.  Hiking on the slopes and saddles is plenty fun enough...or so I always thought...but getting to the top of a couple peaks this summer made me clamor for more.  The majesty and grandeur is quite humbling and impressive.  I feel I can breathe it all in from that height.
  • Visit a new national park 
We're national park junkies.  I don't know that we'll see them all, but its something to shoot for.  They all have such unique wonders to behold.  We didn't get to a new park during 2015, partly because of Matt changing jobs and a lack of vacation time.  We're hoping that the new park for 2016 will be one of those out in Washington so we can have a camping trip with my sister, Lisa, and her family who love in the Seattle area.  We're thinking a train trip to the coast would be a lovely way to start a new national park adventure.  Matt's never ridden a train before.
  • Plan a camping trip with friends/family
Every time that I've planned a camping trip with friends it has been an amazing good time, from Glacier with Kjell to Big Timber with my high school buddies.  I love sharing experiences like that with people I love.  Aside from my previously mentioned backpacking trip with Kris this summer, Matt and I have been slacking in making this happen in recent years.  Its getting more complicated as people move, get married, have babies, and so on.  Its special enough to me though that I want to make an effort to bring my beloved people together in the woods--or maybe the badlands out in eastern Montana--once again this year.  We can find a weekend and make it work.

  • Rent/Camp in a fire lookout tour

Matt and I have talked about renting a forest serv
ice fire lookout for years.  It would be pretty epic to wake up in a glass box on the top of a mountain.  Since they were designed to offer sweeping views for fire lookout reasons they inherently offer an epic view in all directions.  There are a bunch that are available to rent with varying degrees of comfort/amenities.  It sounds like a really neat camping experience.



  • Learn to tie four useful knots
There isn't a specific reason why I want to learn to tie some knots.  I just think it could be a handy skill to have both in the woods and around the house.  It would be useful for stringing up hammocks or securing the guyline on our rainfly.  When I took a wilderness first aid course there were several times where knowing more about knots seemed like it could have been handy.  So, there is also the "in case of emergency" application of knots, too--though I hope it always remains a "just in case" skill and not one I actually put into practice.  At one point Matt's dad taught me a good knot--I'll have to get him to show me again--and then figure out a couple other useful ones.
  • Learn to identify the major features of the moon
There is something particularly amazing about a full moon.  Even people who aren't all that interested or in touch with nature will note the beauty of a full moon.  When we went to Glacier we brought our simple little telescope and the full moon was amazing.  We had a map naming the craters and marias, the seas of the moon.  I'd like to memorize that map--or at least most of it.  I'd like to know more about the lunar face.  The moon has had such significance throughout our human history.  I'd like to know more about it.
All photos from a backpacking trip on the Lake Fork trail August 5-6, 2015.
I look forward to fulfilling these resolutions already.  Happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. These are so great - the fire lookout sounds amazing! Happy New Year!
    -Jaime

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!