Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 outdoor goals

Let me emerge from remodeling to write a post about 2012 outdoor goals. (Actually, if I am honest, my husband has done most all of the remodeling. I just make decisions and write checks to pay for it. I did sand some tile, though.) We are fixing up my little cabin because the former owners did not like lighting or kitchens. (If you are reading this, former owners, I appreciate your small footprint, but my husband does not like cooking with a headlamp and I would like some counter space. Love the cabin though.)

But I digress. It's that time of year, right? I have already seen the Resolution People march resolutely into the gym. Unfortunately, they won't last, because it's better to exercise because you want to. That's why I like to say I am training for life, not for an event. It is great to know that you can kick it on a 16 mile hike without having to specifically train for it. So here goes, some outdoor (and one indoor) goal for 2012:

1. Hike the JMT. This is assuming that a) I get a permit; b) that everyone does not bail; c) I can figure out the complicated transportation logistics; and d) I can bear to drag myself away from my mountains during our short summer. But no worries! I have another plan in place. Plan B includes tracing out and doing some similar (but perhaps harder) long hike here, of at least 100 miles.

2. Finally make it to Deadman Lake, one of the few on the north side of the mountains that I haven't figured out how to get to. I won't be denied in 2012.

3. Run. I don't set goals for this because for so many years I defined my life by how fast and how far I ran. No more. But if all the stars align, do more long backcountry runs with my wonderful Nathan hydration pack.

4. Winter camp. I was all set to do this over the holidays but it...rained. I have spent many, many nights camping in that kind of weather. I want fluffy snow and a beautiful frozen lake, not slush and ice. Ugh!

5. DO MORE YOGA. Yoga on a sunny rock by a lake is the best.

6.  Speaking of lakes, jump into ten wilderness lakes. THAT is the best.

7. On a full moon, do one or all of the following: paddle Wallowa Lake. Sleep on top of Eagle Cap Peak. Ski. (obviously these are not on the same day)

8. Bike singletrack. Even if I have to walk down some of all of the hills. (The trails here are not for beginners)

9. Swim in tropical water. I know, I'm dreaming, but I can still include it.

10. And my indoor goal: Get the darn novel published. And, finish the firefighting memoir.

That's it! No marathons, no ultras, no freezing/scary/challenging races. I admire those who do those things and I love reading about them, but I have no trace of envy. For me, being outside is different. It's not that it doesn't include moments of exertion, fear, and the occasional desperate slog, because it does. But what I like is the spectrum, the long haul of it, each day its own mini-adventure, strung together without the worries of tapers and having to do a certain mileage. I like choosing to go hard or easy and making up my own challenges and doing them, all in obscurity and often alone.

The goals I list above are really attainable, even easy. It's kind of silly to even list them as goals, because anybody could do them. They're not hard. But the older I get, the more I see that life is made up of these small things, not the big ones. Sure, the big ones are great and all. I remember being close to tears as I finished my first marathon. But what I remember more clearly are the long, slow runs through the gloomy Alaska darkness that I took with Julie, Brian and Ken, all of us chatting away about something or another. I remember crossing a snowfield with other friends, bound for a wild and lonely campsite. I remember when, as an adult, I was finally able to swim across a pool. Those were all parts of a whole that add up to a life that isn't remarkable or special, but it is one that is mine and I love it.

Happy new year everyone.


  1. Love your 2012 goals (vs resolutions!)
    I was hoping you could get a JMT permit just like that. Not fair.
    Bike singletrack? OK, now I am truly impressed. My biking skills end on going up.
    And since the world is supposed to end in 2012 you better make sure you reach all your goals, tropical water swimming included. :-)

  2. I just wrote a post like that (to be published on 1/1/12). Your approach to the new year is much like mine.

    Especially love the 10 alpine lake swims part :)

  3. Especially like the "it's my life and I love it" part


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