Most of us (all?) have played the game: What if money and time was no object? What would I do? Well among outdoor enthusiasts, the conversation invariably is: What is my dream adventure? Well, here’s mine.
If I was gifted with a year of time, enough money in the bank and (this is the tough one) did not have to start over yet again working my way up at an entry level job , I would not do one grand adventure but a series of mini-adventures. Cherry pick trails and routes for the best time of the year. Come back home for a month or so  and then set out again.
Why a series of smaller journeys? Because I like where I live, enjoy my community, and someone would like it if I am home once in a while. 😉
Also, I’ve done some long hikes over the years and I certainly do not regret the time spent out for months on the trail. However, when doing a thru-hike, esp on the Western trails, there is a compromise in weather, possible fire closures and other issues. Cherry picking sections lets you experience the trails at their peak times: Wildflower season in Colorado, the desert blooms of southern California, an exquisite fall in New England.
So, with all that in mind, here are my dream jaunts while I am working in a cube farm plotting my escape from my beige box.
I am tempted to buy a t-shirt with this graphic from Zazzle.com 🙂
So, let’s assume in December of this year, I was told I’d have a year to do what I want. The money is all saved appropriately, the bills are covered while I am off galavanting and I have a nice contract lined up for January 2015. And someone won’t leave me. 😉
How to start my year of fun? Let’s see!
January or so? I’d backcountry ski every day or close to it. When I had some free time a few winters ago, it is without exaggeration to say I was on skis probably 20+ days out of 30 during ski season. It may not have been all day affairs (3 hrs perhaps at time), but it was skiing: Nordic backcountry or backcountry tele. I was in the best shape of my life, too. Cardio exercise along with core, upper and lower body workouts. My balance was perfected. Both large and small muscle groups worked. Plus skiing is beautiful and fun!!!
Which brings us to:
Starting in mid Feb or early March, I would “thru-ski” the 300 mile long Catamount Trail in Vermont. Always wanted to go on a journey on this route. Logistics, esp camping, may be interesting at times, but what a way to see New England in the winter!
Beautiful Vermont from the Catamounttrail.org site
After a short rest at home, I’d get ready for the next adventure.
Early-ish to mid-April: A southwest desert trail. The Hayduke Trail (HDT), the Arizona Trail (AZT) or the Grand Enchantment Trail (GET) would all be worthy jaunts. The AZT for the beauty of Arizona and to explore a state I don’t know well, The GET for the wonderfully easy logistics or the HDT for the sheer uniqueness of the Colorado Plateau. Decisions. Decisions.
Salt Creek in Canyon Lands NP on the HDT
And in May and June, I would focus on local hikes and work on my climbing more. Basically, I’d enjoy my town and haunt the brew pubs after post-hikes and climbing. 🙂
On top of the First Flat Iron. I’m outside. I’m happy.
In July, time to squeeze in the Sierra High Route. The Sierra are awesome mountains and I really need to get back.
Early August? Time to hike the Great Divide Trail along the Canadian Rockies ~700 miles of some of the most scenic, stunning and awesome mountains I’ve ever seen.
Finish by mid-September at the very latest (and hope it does not snow 😉 ) and go back to my very patient someone.
Spend a month again enjoying the local area as the CO Rockies in late fall is cool, crisp and wonderful.
And in mid October or so, I’d hike the Allegheny Trail just as the leaves are hitting their peak foliage. The Eastern hardwood forests are awesomely beautiful in the Fall, and I’ve always wanted to do this obscure trail. At 300 miles long, a nice two week journey for me.
Not my photo…:) Looks gorgeous, though!
And in November? It is car camping season!. Short days, but fewer people in the BLM area, national parks, and national monuments. Makes for long nights in camp, but perfect for what I call “base camp” car camping. Explore during the day; come back to camp and snuggle in the ridiculously large and warm sleeping bags we have. This would be after a delicious meal we cooked on the Coleman stove. Naturally, we’ll see it on our camp chair in our out-of-the way primitive campsite – perhaps somewhere off a dirt road in Utah. We’d enjoy the brilliant night sky above while sipping on a hot drink with “splash of something extra”. someone likes these types of trips and I’ve grown to enjoy them myself in the very late fall/early winter.
The Great Sand Dunes in late November.
And in December? A little skiing while I get ready to start another job.
Worshiping in the Temple of Snow.
So that would be my ideal year of adventure.
Trying to get to the point where I can comfortably take off again for a month or two here and there, but I can dream about the year-long adventure until then. Ah…. 🙂
 Hope to get into IT consulting at some point. We’ll see
 My someone, I think, would like that too 😉
Bring me! Nice trips indeed.
Problem is my “TO DO” list keeps on growing. 🙂
Car camping, eh? My boyfriend just got a Ural–a motorcycle with sidecar. We’re planning on taking some jaunts, using it as a trailhead vehicle for easy-access trails, and base-camping from car campgrounds. We’re trying to blend UL hiking sensibilities with an increased hauling capacity. Still have to keep the weight down, though, as the motorcycle can’t handle too much haulage. Any good recipes for meals you can’t produce while backpacking? You mentioned a fabulous meal in your post.
Yeah, in deep shoulder season (long and cold nights) we find that car camping works well. Places such as Chaco Canyon (https://pmags.com/camping-among-the-ancients-chaco-canyon) , the Sand Dunes ( https://pmags.com/sand-and-snow-great-sand-dunes-national-park ) , Pawnee Buttes ( https://pmags.com/high-plains-drifting-pawnee-buttes-pawnee-national-grasslands ), etc are great destinations but aren’t really good for backpacking. And, in the case of Chaco Canyon, you can’t backpack there. 🙂 So we go there in the off season when no one else is there. As for great meals, anything you can make at home on a stove top you can make on a Coleman two burner stove. A bit more difficult with a… Read more »
Great ideas all around! I would add that a fall trip to the Grand Canyon would be at the top of my list. October in the Grand Canyon is absolutely perfect and a great time for some George Steck loops, like the Powell Plateau loop (the Hayduke follows some of this) or the Walhalla Plateau. While not thru-hiking, these trips are super-high adventure and can take 10-14 days to complete. If you haven’t been on an extended backpacking trip in the big ditch, make it your next one!
P.S. love the website and the Trail Show
That sounds awesome, too! I am a bit ashamed to admit, but I have never been to the Grand Canyon.
This “work” thing just gets in the way!!! 😀