In my last post I reminisced about all the camping and backpacking trips I took in 2015. It was a great exercise going through my photos and reliving all the fun. There were even a few trips that I had forgotten about. 2015 truly was a great year for me.

But you know what, I’m just as excited about 2016. To start the year off right I’m setting three major goals for myself.

1. Go Camping in the Winter (in the snow)

For the past few months I’ve been chatting with a friend about camping in the winter. I’m not sure how we came up with this idea or who suggested it first. Perhaps we felt inspired by all the recent snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Both of us are fairly seasoned outdoorsmen and have spent a bit of time in the mountains in the summer season. He’s gone snow shoeing before and I grew up shoveling snow in the north east, but neither one of us has ever been camping in winter conditions. We’ve been egging each other on and it’s been built up so much now that we can’t back out. What would our significant others think? We have our manly egos to uphold. Bring on the snow camping!

We’re obviously not prepared at this very moment but we still have another month or two to figure this out. Winter won’t be over for a while yet! I already know that my 3 season tent, canister stove, and non-winterized boots are potential issues. I don’t want to go out and buy a whole bunch of winter specific camping gear just for this one trip, though. There’s a big chance I’ll love winter camping and make it a yearly thing, but there’s also the chance I quit after having gone once and crossing it off the list. We need to do a bit of research to make this a safe and not completely miserable adventure.

2. Take My Son on His First Camping Trip

I welcomed my son into this world last October. He’s been the focus of my life since and I wouldn’t dream of changing that in 2016.

But having a little one definitely puts a damper on the outdoor activities. Prior to his arrival my wife and I were averaging a nice day hike (6-10 miles) every two weeks. Since he’s been born we haven’t yet been back on a ‘real’ trail and have only attempted much shorter distances on paved trails and ‘urban hikes.’

We briefly contemplated taking the little guy camping over the holiday break. In the end we nixed that idea as we we weren’t sure how to provide a safe sleeping environment for him. Even though he runs hot like a little nuclear reactor, it’s a bit too cold for him to sleep outside without a sleeping bag or blanket of some type. He’s still too young to be able to sit up or push things away from his face, though, so suffocation is a real threat.

The baby camping trip will definitely happen, though, as we’re both committed to the idea having the little guy grow up in the outdoors. We figure our best bet would be to try in the summer months at a lower elevation where he can be warm enough in just his Merlin Magic Sleepsuit (life saver!).

It’s awesome to know that he already loves spending time outside. If he’s being fussy I just bring him into the backyard and he’s instantly at ease. Perhaps it was all the hikes he went on in utero (thanks, mom!). I can’t wait to finally take the little guy camping.

3. Through Hike the High Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney

The idea to hike to Mt. Whitney originated in the summer 2015. We were pregnant at the time but still being fairly active and thinking we could stay that way post baby. Now that our son is here we’re facing a bit of reality. I never had 100% commitment from the wife anyway, as a week of backpacking isn’t necessarily her dream vacation. She does enjoy our backpacking and hiking trips… but just not quite as much as me. To her credit, though, she crushed a 21 mile backpacking trip to Ten Lakes in Yosemite while 6 months pregnant.

But hey, a guy can still dream, right? I’m going to leave this one on the list as it’s always good to set your goals high.

So there you are, my top three outdoor goals for 2016. The first two are very doable and the last is a long shot. Whatever actually happens I’m sure it will be another fantastic year of exploring the outdoors and I’m looking forward to sharing it all here.

What are your goals for the new year? Please share in the comments!

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  • Monica Ortega

    Great goals! Good luck!

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