The following first ran in October 2018. It appears here with tweaks and updates.
It was a late November night in the late 1990s and Alan and I were hiking a stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake. Though we’d been mountain biking at night for two or three years, the notion of hiking in the dark had only recently occurred to us. Making our way through the woods in the quiet of night made us a bit giddy; instead of two guys in their late 40s, we were like a couple of 10-year-olds who’d snuck out of our bedroom windows on a clandestine adventure.read more
The following is a version of a piece we run every year at this time, a time when our spirits are buoyed by day by cloudless skies and cooling temperatures, but bummed when those days of sun end earlier and earlier.
October is almost upon us, which for hikers is good in oh-so-many ways. With one possible exception.read more
My hikes can be more vicarious than real. It’s a nice two-for-one benefit of hanging with adventurous folks who like to get around.
Sunday, for instance, I caught up with Howard for the first time since he’d returned from hiking a section of the Camino de Santiago in June. I was especially interested because Howard’s plan was to average 15 miles a day for 7 days; Howard is in good shape and a strong hiker, but that’s the kind of mileage AT thru-hikers aspire to — after building up for a month on the trail.read more
My latest goal: Have a Pop-Tart instant coffee breakfast in the woods before work.
As goals go, it my not be the loftiest.
Or is it?
For a good 5 years this simple ambition has been on my to-do list. Yet it remains undone. Why?
Because until now I’ve simply viewed it as “a thing to do.” A thing I really want to do, but, in the pecking order of life, simply a thing to do; it never occurred to me to elevate it to “goal” status. Goals, after all, are things you work at: a million in sales through Q2, discovering a cure for the doldrums. Showing up for work on time. Goals usually take the form of resolutions you set on New Year’s Day, like fitting into your high school Speedo by Memorial Day. Having a processed pastry and Sanka while sitting on a tree stump isn’t exactly an achievement you’d include in the Christmas newsletter.read more