Lots of people are bemoaning 2016 as the year that just won't stop delivering bad news. It has been rough for a lot of reasons - the loss of loved ones, a contentious (often vicious) election cycle, world violence, and news that our old earth is really ramping up her protests to our presence. I'm more worried now than I have ever been for the futures of my grandkids. But I won't let any of this get me down. It was even more important this year to take those walks - to walk out the door and put those burdens down. I trained for my long walk across Spain. I slipped out the door more times than I can remember for a few miles break from working on my PhD dissertation defense prep. The Camino. I hiked in the Rocky Mountains with my son. It was a great year for adventures, birding, paddling, and exploring. "Go for a walk" has never meant more than it has this year.
|January hike in Codorus State Park, 2016.|
|February hike on the Mason-Dixon Trail, 2016|
|Icy Muddy Creek trail, March 2016.|
|Trail closing protest, Holtwood, PA, April, 2016|
|Hiking across the Pyrenees, France to Spain, May, 2016.|
|Me and Francoise coming into Santiago de Compostela, Spain, June, 2016.|
|Walking across the Fall Line on the Northeast River, July, 2016.|
|Island water trail on the Susquehanna River, August, 2016.|
|Hiking in the Rocky Mountains with son George, Colorado, September, 2016.|
|River Hills hiking in October, Susquehanna River, PA, 2016.|
|Walk around Walden Pond, Concord, MA, November, 2016.|
|Bug hikes alone without her sister Annie, Mary Ann Trail, PA, December, 2016.|
Again I met my minimum yearly goal of hiking over a thousand miles (which isn't hard to do, actually) including the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (which was) across Northern Spain. My son and I walked above 10,000 feet for four dizzying days in the Rockies - the longest I've spent at altitude in hiking boots. I logged over 100 water miles by canoe and kayak. And with all the counting miles and adventures I've had several great friends to share much of it. But I lost one of my best hiking partners in 2016 and that - above all else that happened this year - was the saddest day when my black and tan coonhound Annie, at age 12 (very old for a coonie) passed away in October.
|Annie, 2004 - 2016.|
2017 will be an interesting year for political and scientific reasons, no doubt, but I look forward to logging more miles by boot and boat as I continue to expand what I consider the Mid-Atlantic hiking region. Getting the grandkids out on some longer trails, joining up again with my son for another adventure or two, and of course grabbing my hiking and paddling buddies for "play day" adventures will add to my unquenchable thirst for experiencing the natural and human history of my home region. This has been a hard year but one full of lessons and gifts. Now it's time to start planning for 2017 and I thank 2016 for giving me the determination to push on.