Welcome 2018

Welcome 2018

I come back to this quiet space to find a lot of spam comments about Cialis and Viagra. Well, I don’t need those. Not right now.

I did want to write down some thoughts about last year, and some ideas for this one. I find New Year’s Resolutions just as cheesy as the next person, but it helps to have some inspiration. A goal, an incentive, something to challenge myself or look forward to. Or maybe both.

In 2017, I had two very simple goals I wanted to achieve. I wanted to be able to do a handstand, and I wanted to complete the Four State Challenge. I’ve always been able to do a headstand, but never a handstand. And the Four State Challenge, well, I like the idea of something just a little bit nuts. (The Four State Challenge is walking from Virginia to Pennsylvania on the Appalachian Trail, a total of 44 miles, in less than 24 hours.) In 2017, I tried and failed, only a few times, to stand on my hands. And I tried, and failed, to hike the Four State Challenge, bailing out somewhere around mile 24, where the AT meets interstate 70, after realizing that a persistent heel pain I’d been having was more than just soreness.

I’ll be happy to move these two goals along into 2018, not to be forgotten. Who knows about the handstand, although I’ll happily continue to try. And I’ll attempt the Four State Challenge again in October, when DC UL Backpacking schedules it.

2017 was just fine. In January, I spent New Year’s Eve and Day on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, after hiking out of the canyon on the last day of 2016. Later in January, I had a crazy last minute opportunity to go to Hawaii, purely for the purpose of meeting a lot of people I’d been working on a set of guidelines with, at their annual conference. In the same month, my parents moved from two hours away to ten minutes away. That’s been nice.

Yoga Floats in Oahu, HI. I’ve got the headstand mastered, but what about the handstand?

In May, I finally made a backpacking trip to Grayson Highlands, a beautiful, remote, pony-filled mountain in southern Virginia. In June, I traveled to Florida with Al and our friend J and took a ferry to the Dry Tortugas, a national park in the Gulf of Mexico where we spent three days snorkeling just to avoid the heat.

Little Foal in Rhododendron Gap in the Grayson Highlands.
Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas in Florida.

In July, I went backpacking with some of my favorite people to Dolly Sods, West Virginia, where we froze our asses off at night but had a wonderful adventure. In August, Al and I took a road trip north, winding our way through Montreal, Quebec, Gaspe, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and back again. In Montreal, we found ourselves and our bikes stuck in a massive street crowd of revelers as tightrope walkers dropped feathers on our heads from the sky. In September, I did something half crazy and signed up for a 25k trail run with the Keystone Trails Association and had a surprisingly fun time. Afterwards, I arrogantly said that the 25k was so fun that maybe next year I’d do twice as much.

After completing the KTA Trail Challenge in September.

In October, I ran my fifth half marathon (third in Baltimore) after a great training season with Charm City Run, followed the very next weekend by the fun but failed Four State Challenge. In November, I had a chance to return to San Francisco after many years, remembering just how very much I love that city and California in general. In early December, Al and I led our first backpacking trip with DC UL Backpacking, choosing a 2-day, 20-mile sojourn through Caledonia State Park and Michaux State Forest in Pennsylvania. It was the first snowfall of the season, and one of my favorite backpacking trips so far. And just a few weekends ago, I spent Christmas in a cozy cabin in Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia with Al and my parents where we (with the exception of my dad) knitted like crazy as we watched the snow falling outside the window. Oh yeah, and I learned to knit a little better. These are certainly the highlights of my year.

Our Blackwater Falls, West Virginia, cabin.

I look forward to 2018. Someone has to. And while I’m remiss to make resolutions, I’m always glad to think about the future and make a plan, set a goal, put a date on the calendar. The problem is that all my fun running and hiking in 2017 resulted in an injury. I’m currently in physical therapy for acute plantar fasciitis with bone marrow edema which sure doesn’t feel like plantar fasciitis to me, but I remain hopeful. Every day I do stretches and exercises. Until then, I can’t do any amazing feats of walking, hiking, or running, and that bums me out a little bit. I had planned on joining the next Charm City Run training group, but for the moment, that’s off the list. Once my foot gets better, I’d like to do another training season. Run some races. It keeps me inspired. I’m not one of those runners who loves running (or should I say, “going for a run”), but I do miss it when it’s not a part of my life.

I have been trying to do more yoga. Over the past few months, we took a basement room that was mostly odds and ends of storage and turned it into a little office space/exercise room. It’s been nice to have this at home. I do have a cat who likes to actively participate, and ironically only wants to aggressively sit on me when I am otherwise engaged.

Yogi Melvin.
If I can’t run and hike, I’ll try this instead.

We also finally used our two found bikes from Craigslist. They sat in the basement for a year or two before we remembered to use them. Isn’t it funny how that works? With our basement update, we now have a better space. If I can’t run and hike, I can at least ride a bike (inside, because it’s hella cold in the Mid-Atlantic right now and I’m not brave).

I have other goals too. I’d like to go to bed earlier, get up earlier. Maybe I’ll find there’s more time in the day. I’d like to read more books. I’m ashamed to say that I’m a librarian and I’ve only just discovered the wonderful Libby app that allows me to read e-books without having to purchase them. I have a goal of two books a month, or 25 books total (one bonus book) for 2018, but I’ll be even happier if I can read more. I’m starting with Big Little Lies, which wouldn’t normally be my favorite genre, but I’m open to possibilities. Next, I’d like to read Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl, because Issa Rae’s show, Insecure, is really good. What’s next? I’m not sure. Follow me on Goodreads. I’d like to learn generally about things that interest me, which strangely enough lately have been job-related, things like pharmacology and drugs. I’d like to do some music-related stuff. I’d like to learn to knit better. I’d like to backpack in places I’ve never been, instead of the same old song and dance. I’d like to have a second chance to do the southern half of the John Muir Trail.

Then there’s the usual, you know. Spend more time with the people I care about. Try to be a decent person. Try not to kill anything. Drink more water. Help a kitten in need. Those types of goals are usually pretty good ones.

And I’d like to write more in this space. Because I like it here.

Happy 2018.

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