Great OutdoorsNever realized when I titled my blog the Great Outdoors that literally I'd be spending so much time in the outdoors. And 2012 has proven to be just a bunch of experiences enjoying life outside. I'm so glad I have the ability and opportunities to experience what I do and look forward to doing more of it in 2013 and bringing more people along for the hike.
January and February, I trained, trained and trained some more as I got ready to tackle one of the seven summits - Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. It was quite an experience. To not only climb 19,340 ft (5895 m), but to meet some great people, experience a different culture and throw in a safari to boot.
|Uhuru Peak - Mt Kilimanjaro|
42 Nights of Camping
Yes, 42 nights - that's a lot (12% of nights in 2012). I beat 2011 by 2 nights. I don't intend to beat 42 in 2013. Some experiences were great, some ok and some stressful (when you lose your phone). The majority of the best nights in a tent came with a backpacking experience. But also - a few camping experiences allowed me to get people out camping with me and help them (or most of them) gain an appreciation of the outdoors. And finally I got to explore a lot more of the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. Hiking and camping in state parks I'd never been to. I think I now have the entire driftless area covered for state parks.
The first night in a tent came back in February 2012 with a snowshoe trip up in the Kettle Crest Range in northern Washington. Hanging out up in the mountains overnight in the winter was incredible. Not only was I the first one to sign in to the log book on Wapaloosie Mountain for 2012, but from the top we could also see into Canada.
|View from camp in the Kettle Range Mountains of Washington|
Other memorable backpacking experiences of 2012:
- Yellow River State Forest in Iowa - the hilly area of Iowa. Very pretty, quiet. May 2012
- Superior Trail in northern Minnesota - what a beautiful area. Need to get back here again. Labor Day weekend.
- Kokanee Glacier National Park in British Columbia, Canada. Beautiful and quiet in mid-September. But sad to see the glacier is receding. Hopefully they get a lot of snow pack this year to help build it back up.
Other Great Experiences
|View from Mt Kit Carson, Spokane, WA|
- Timms Hill - Wisconsin's highest point. Not quite the same as Kilimanjaro, but still another one of the USA's 50 highest points picked off. (1500+ ft)
- Christmas in Washington - got to visit my brother in Newman Lake and take in some great hikes and snowshoeing in the area. Finally got to go to Mt Spokane State Park and get to the top of Mt Kit Carson via snowshoe. (And had the peak to myself)
- Dogs - Jasmine and Wailea made it another year - ableit a few surgeries to fix a torn ACL (Wailea) and remove a ~7 lb tumor and her spleen (Jasmine). The dogs managed to get in 33 nights in a tent and traveled to 6 states. Hopefully both remain healthy enough to continue in 2013.
Backpacker Magazine, Mt Whitney and 2013
Mid-year 2012 I found out Backpacker Magazine was offering up to its readers an opportunity to climb Mt Whitney with their editor, Jon Dorn. So in July, I wrote and submitted an essay, wrote my "I Want to Climb Mt Whitney" blog post and had wonderful friends support me via posts to it to try and get to selected to join Backpacker in their Mt Whitney summit attempt.
After what seemed like forever, I got a response. I was lucky enough to be selected to join Backpacker Magazine to climb Mt Whitney and support a great organization - Big City Mountaineers via Summit for Someone.
Which brings me to 2013. This climb is in April 2013, but I've started training and am really looking forward to this opportunity. I'll get to the highest point in the contiguous 48 states (and highest point in CA), experience mountaineering, meet new people and make new friends, help some under-privileged youth get a great experience as well and finally get to the Sierra Nevada's. I can't wait. I'm sure this will be one of my highlights for 2013.
Thank you to everyone who has joined me and supported me in all the adventures of 2012. And if you didn't join me - feel free to join me in 2013.