Friday, January 9, 2015

Restart of the blog for 2015

Well, obviously I did not keep up this blog like I had hoped to.   I didn't stop adventuring - in fact, if anything, I've stepped it up huge in the past few years - but I did not keep up with the blog.  However, it seems like the perfect time to restart.  I'm planning something HUGE for 2015, and this blog would be a good way to capture both the lead up and preparation for that trip, as well as document the trip itself, so I'm restarting things.

While I did not keep up with writing blog posts, I did start documenting my trips in another way, by making and posting videos of my bigger adventures to youtube.  So in the interim, while I get the blog back up to speed, I will be reposting these videos and talking about the trips where they were created.  These videos represent my biggest adventures over the past 3 years, so they're a great starting place to get some discussion going.

Here's an overview of what I have been up to the past few years:


I did a number of trips in 2012, but none bigger than a trip to Canada to section hike the Great Divide Trail through Mt Assiniboine, Banff and Kootenay.  I also travelled to Crater Lake, Zion, and finally did a wonderful hike down Aravaipa Canyon that I've wanted to do for years.  This was also the first year I had an "America the Beautiful" pass, which I leveraged to go and visit most of the national monuments and parks in Arizona.


2013 was the year of the national park bucket list.  In total, I visited 22 national parks and monuments in a 12 month stretch, including:
  • Joshua Tree
  • Canyon de Chelly
  • Muir Woods
  • Montezuma Castle
  • Tuzigoot
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Capitol Reef
  • Vermillion Cliffs
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante
  • Zion
  • Grand Canyon
  • Great Basin
  • Navajo
  • Natural Bridges
  • Canyonlands
  • Arches
  • Colorado
  • Flourissant Fossil Beds
  • Great Sand Dunes
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison
  • Mesa Verde
  • Petrified Forest
Astute observers will notice this is most of the major Colorado Plateau parks, including all five Utah national parks.  This was a year of multiple bucket list trips, including finally doing an overnight in the Grand Canyon (3 of them, in fact, 2 of them in epic weather conditions), finally doing the Zion Narrows, finally getting out into some of the slot canyons around Vegas, and an epic fall hike in Colorado's Maroon Bells.


The big news this year was my wedding in April.  I was no slouch on getting out into the outdoors either however.  This was the year I finally, finally started learning how to do technical slot canyons, after many years of enjoying non-technical canyons in Arizona and Utah.  I took several training classes, including an epic one in Escalante, and completed a number of technical canyons with some new friends.  My wife and I also had a spectacular, outdoor-oriented honeymoon in Costa Rica, including all sorts of fun stuff like ziplining, ocean kayaking, and whitewater rafting.  Later in the year, I also completed an extended backpacking trip in Idaho's Sawtooth mountains, including the longest sustained stretch of cross-country backpacking I've done, through some truly epic mountain scenery.  Of course, I drove for this trip and stuffed in visits to multiple national parks and monuments, most notably Cedar Breaks, Timpanagos Cave and Yellowstone.  In the fall, I purchased a basic (non-Alpacka) packrafting setup in order to start doing some of the trips in Grand Canyoneering.  We successfully completed one trip down Shinumo Wash, but failed on another trip down Big Canyon.  Overall, a great year, really stretching my comfort zone on different types of outdoor activities and learning new skills.


My goal for 2015 is to keep building on the momentum I've got going already.  I want to continue doing more canyoneering, especially expedition style trips in remote wilderness that incorporate canyoneering sections, like those in the Grand Canyon.  I want to do more whitewater rafting trips and really start to build skills in this area - I intend later this year to put together an alpacka setup to complement the lightweight packrafting setup I've got.

Most importantly however, I want to keep my sights on the most enduring love I have in the outdoors, hiking.  2015 is the 15 year anniversary of my Pacific Crest Trail hike, and I think the time has come to try to do another thruhike.  The wife is really pushing the kids thing - we're both in our mid-thirties, so if we're going to do it, its pretty much now or never.  So I'm hoping to squeeze in a BIG hike before I have to buckle down and focus on raising kids.  The goal is the Colorado Trail.  It looks like a spectacular hike, and its long enough to really make an impact, while also being short enough that I think I can go and do it without disrupting the rest of my life too much.  I've already got the wife's go-ahead, and the financial situation is coming into focus, so all I need to do now is secure the time off, which I don't think will be too big of an obstacle.  While I intend to use this blog to document my hiking trips, I'll also be writing here about the process of planning and preparing for my CT thruhike.

Anyway, that's it.  Cheers to anyone who makes it through this wall of text.

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