My year on-trail didn't pan out quite as I had envisioned. For the second time in a row, I signed on for the 52 Hike Challenge. For the second time in a row, I came up short. I wound up stuck at home in the valley over the summer much more than I had anticipated, cutting deep into my outdoor time and triggering an episode of cabin fever like I have never experienced. I know, I know, there's still 14 days left. Plenty of time. For me, if I'm obsessing about the number, I'm missing the point. What matters to me is that I hiked more this year than last. In 2018, I resolve to hike more than I did in 2017.
I had hoped to dust off the backpack and take some multi-day treks in the Supes and Mazzies. Never happened. As someone who lives alone and is quite content with keeping my own company, for some reason I can't get motivated to go backpacking by myself. I've done it before and, for the most part, have had positive experiences. Maybe it's because I already get all the solitude I need? I get an immense sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from the self-reliance that is inherent in this activity. I want to make it a higher priority. In 2018, I resolve to take at least one backpacking trip of at least two nights, solo or accompanied. If this sounds like your resolution, too, let's make it happen.
I'm an enthusiastic supporter of the Arizona Trail Association. This year, I began participating in their Trail Skills Institute courses on all the different aspects of maintenance, construction, design, etc. This experience has enriched me tremendously. My appreciation for trails has grown stronger. Next year, I'll take my final course. Upon completion, I will qualify to act as a section trail steward. In 2018, I resolve to be an even stronger advocate for the AZT; to assume responsibility as a trail steward for a section of trail in need, and to work even more at preserving this state treasure.
As someone whose appreciation for the outdoors has come relatively late in life (though it is never too late), I haven't the roots in the community of hikers that I would like to have. I value community. I know that building one takes work. This year, I hiked with three other HAZ community members. In 2018, I resolve, when invited, to join at least four HAZ community members on the trail. Again, if this sounds similar to your own resolution, come join me as I knock out my Wish List.
2018 will mark my 50th year on the planet. In 2018, I resolve to make it my best year ever.
Steward, Arizona Trail Passage 23c (Mazatzal Divide Tr, Barnhardt to Red Hills)
...he's got the Mazzic hands...