Just hours ago I walked out of the building housing the administrative offices of the National Institute of Mental Health where I had worked since 1997. I walked out as a federal retiree – ready to start a new phase in life. I have very specific plans in mind. If all goes well, in about 1 year I will be in the vicinity of Springer Mountain, Georgia, ready to begin an attempt to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. I hope to chronicle here my plans, the good and the bad ideas, as I get ready to do the AT and then actually hike the damn thing. But more than that, I will lay out what I have called my 5 year plan, which includes, if things go well in 2017, both the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail – together with the AT, the so-called “triple crown” of long distance hiking.
At the same time, I don’t plan to give up on actual mountaineering, as my blog name implies. Just over a year ago, I failed to summit Aconcagua, in Argentina, for the second time. In the immediate aftermath, I penned bitter words vowing that I had given up on high altitude climbing after another summit day debacle. Yet now, with the amnesia that comes from a year’s emotional distance, I am not so sure about that vow. Success feels good, failure teaches you things, often unpleasant, but none the less important. I expect to touch on that as well in this blog, as I have experienced success and failure, have achieved goals and also embarrassed and/or humiliated myself on multiple occasions while pursuing my adventure goals. Why not just be completely honest? We’ll see how close I come to keeping that vow as well.