On Tuesday’s GetHiking! New Year’s Day hike, I was struck by how many of the hikers had hiking goals—ambitious ones—for 2019. Vaughn committed to five backpack trips in the first half of the year, and Linda was good for at least three. Deb was booked for an adventure in South Africa, and was planning to visit New Zealand. One hiker planned to complete a section hike of the 1,175-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
New Year’s Day is filled with hope, and these folks had already taken a first step toward seeing that hope become reality. Their secret? They’ve made it a habit over the past several years to make plans early, so they didn’t wind up on December 31 thinking, “Where did the year go?”
For a variety of reasons, not all of us excel at planning ahead. Sometimes, we simply don’t know where to start to plan an adventure. Sometimes, we hesitate because we aren’t sure we’re up for the challenge, and sometimes we pick a challenge that may not be realistic, at least in the way we envision tackling it. Sometimes, we aren’t even sure what it is we want to do. Here are four thoughts on how to make 2019 a year to remember:
- What’s realistic? You say you want to spend 50 nights in a tent, but is that feasible? What about your other obligations, your family, for instance? Do you have enough time off from work to get 50 nights in? You can quickly derail a goal by setting it, realizing it’s not possible, then abandoning it altogether. Better to set realistic, but still ambitious, expectations. Start with, say, one night a month in a tent.
- Where do I want to go? Let’s say one of your goals is to take a weeklong backpack trip. Here are some questions to ask: Where do you want to go? Do you want to go alone? Would you like to go with locals familiar with the area? What season is best? And what specific gear will you need for where you’re going?
- I want to experience “the best.” Maybe you want to hike the best trails in the state. So, er, what are the best trails? And by “best” do you mean trails with the best views? The best waterfalls? The best old growth forest? Try to define what’s most appealing to you to find your personal best.
- How do I prepare? Here’s a popular goal: Climbing a fourteener—that is, a peak that tops out at 14,000 feet or above (there are 54 in Colorado, prime country for achieving this goal). So ask: Where can I find trails around here that will prepare me for the elevation gains I’ll face? What about the altitude issue — how do I prepare for that? And what’s a good fourteener to start with?
For some, the thrill of the adventure includes wrestling with these questions and issues on their own. But if you continually find yourself at year’s end lamenting the trails not traveled, the adventures not taken, you are not one of these people. Odds are you could use a little help. Here are two options we offer:
Backpack Trip Planning Series. You love to backpack, but you always go with other people, and you go where they want to go because they plan the trip. In February, our GetBackpacking! component is offering a three-step Backpack Planning series, which will work like this:
- First session. Participants come with an idea for a two-night backpack trip they’d like to take. The instructor will go over the basics of trip planning, things to consider (finding camp spots, water sources, clothing, gear), as well as resources to help plan the trip and a strategy for how to come up with a trip plan. Then, at home, you will devise a trip plan based on the template provided by the instructor.
- Second session. A week later, participants return with a trip plan. The instructor facilitates a group discussion about each plan, offering comments and suggestions.
Adventure Coaching. We offer an Adventure Coaching program that helps people achieve their adventure goals. The goals may range from, say, a through-hike of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail or the John Muir Trail to climbing Kilimanjaro. The focus of the coaching will be to help you train with the resources available locally. With GetGoingNC Adventure Coaching, you get:
- Initial consultation. After filling out a questionnaire identifying your goals (general or specific), we’ll meet virtually or in person to discuss them in detail. We will create an initial plan of action, which outlines various options and what will be required of you to fulfill each option. Then we’ll devise a plan that’s realistic and meets your goals.
- Follow up. Once a month, we’ll touch base by phone to see how your goal is coming along, making adjustments, if necessary. You can check in with questions via email as needed, with a follow-up phone call if necessary.
We’re three days into 2019; you’ve got 362 days left to make 2019 your best year yet. Let’s get started.
To get started
For additional information on our Backpack Trip Planning program, email Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional information on our Adventure Coaching program, go here.