Reflections on 2010

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! Today is a day we spend time reminiscing about the year behind us and look forward to the year ahead of us. I’ve got a lot to reminisce about. You might recall that this site was launched with three ambitious personal goals I hoped to achieve by the end of 2010. Let’s see how well I did on completing them.

Goal #1 – Become a member of a Search & Rescue team.
Status: FAIL

I threw in the towel on this goal fairly early in the year. I was excited to be accepted to the San Dimas Search & Rescue Team and start down the 2-3 year road towards becoming a member, but the time needed to dedicate to wilderness classes and homework would not fit into my schedule. Plus, I wanted my weekends to explore! So I replaced this goal with this:

Goal #1 (Plan B) – Become a Volunteer with a local organization that promotes the outdoors.
Status: Double Win!

In 2010, I became a volunteer with two great organizations:
1. Tree People – Founded in 1973 here in Los Angeles, this non-profit organization’s main goals is to add more trees to the geography of Los Angeles – and idea I can get behind. After the devastation in the Angeles National Forest caused by the Station Fire of 2009, I heard that Tree People would be the group that would eventually replant saplings in the burned areas. I became a reforestation supervisor in February and have helped plant trees in the Arrowhead Lake area during the Spring. Next year, Tree People begin the major task of replanting the Angeles National Forest. If you are interested in spending an afternoon replanting trees you can show your grandchildren, Tree People has got a lot of opportunities for you. Check out their site for details. They have tentatively scheduled to reforest every weekend in March and April.

Planting Trees in Fawskin, CA

2. Santa Monica Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA)- The MRCA works with an assortment of other organizations (including the National Park Service) to secure and develop park land throughout the Los Angeles area. The MRCA preserves and protects many public lands scattered throughout the area, including Franklin Canyon Park in Beverly Hills. It was here that I became a volunteer naturalist in April. As a naturalists, I can conduct guided programs for school groups and the general public, assist at MRCA special events, operate park nature centers and information booths, and/or rove trails. I’ve roved a few trails in the Verdugo Hills, offering assistance to hikers, and I taught a program on astronomy at Vista Hermosa Natural Park in downtown LA. I’m looking forward to dedicating more time to guided programs in 2011.

Trail roving in the Verdugo Mountains

Goal #2 – Hike 500 miles in 2010.
Status: WIN! Total mileage: 513

In 2009, I completed the life-changing goal of hiking 100 times in 240 days and I recall thinking that nothing could top such a physical task. Nothing could push me further. I was wrong. My hiking goal for 2010 took me to what I thought was my limit and pushed me beyond it. This year I hiked 91 times in California, Utah, and Oregon.  The final 100 miles were done on an 18-day trip to New Zealand, where I backpacked 20 miles in a single day, something that I never thought I could do.  I was able to witness some of the most majestic natural wonders I’ve ever seen. (I’ll post a slide show shortly.) Best of all, I was able to finish this seemingly unreachable goal on my birthday, December 6th, in New Zealand. Happy Birthday, indeed!

Each photo represents a mile that I hiked in 2010.

[Zoom-able version]

Goal #3 – To hike with 150 people
Status: FAIL

I wasn’t able to get 150 people on the trails, but I was able to hike with many fantastic people that have been an inspiration to me and others. I was able to convince a few who had never hiked to get outdoors and tramp, something that can be quite intimidating for a city dweller. I was also introduced to many hikers whom I now call friends; those who I met on the trail or through my hiking group on Facebook, The Hike Guy’s Hiking Club. I currently have over 200 members in my little club and hopefully they’ll all eventually join me on the trail. So, for this goal, I got less than half way there: I end 2010 with a total of 66 people whom I’ve hiked with since January.

A BIG THANK YOU to the 2010 Hiking Club: Peter, Shawnte, The Mystery Hiker, Casey, Ric, Eliza, Leighton, Lori, Justin, Chris, Jackie, Amie, David, Jassica, Sarah, Chris, Shannon, Jean, Mike, Remi, Alyse, Jamie, Michael, Gregory, Melanie, Lauren, Brandan, Elizabeth, Jen, Sandra, Bob, Michael, Vanessa, Justine, Molly, Karima, Mona, Tim, Justine, McKenna, Sharon, C.J., Dan, Noel, Cassandra, Daniel, Laura, Carlos, Julie, Claudia, Zachary, Joe, Alan, Rashid, Natalie, Ann, Angela, Michael, Emily, Alexandra, David, Robert, Dan, Peter, and Wendy.

So what resolutions do I have for 2011? I’ve been thinking about this for a while and will post something about it soon.

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