Homer's Travels: A Homer's Travels Look Back At 2019

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Homer's Travels Look Back At 2019

2019 was the year of my Appalation Trail (AT) adventure.  When I added the At to my plan I had a set of expectations based on my experiences on the Camino. The trail turned out to be more solitary and anti-social than I expected, at least near the end.  Some of this was the nature of the AT and some of it was me.  Looking back with 20-20 hindsight there were splashes of positivity all along the trail.  Sadly, in the end, the last half of the trail cast a shadow on my entire adventure on the Appalachian Trail leaving my expectations unfulfilled.

Let's look back at 2019, shall we:

  • January: We started the year overseas in Iceland watching the fireworks explode over Reykjavik. The trip, which was mostly in the last week of December, was documented in Homer's Travels in January when I got home.  My documenting was delayed as I was fighting a nasty bug.  Back home I visited snowmen and we announced our next overseas trip.
  • February: February was a mix of hiking and snowshoeing as Winter decided it was finally ready to snow for reals.  I went to my annual Oscar Shorts viewing.
  • March: I had my last snowshoe as the weather was warming up.  Good thing too since my boots breathed their last gasp on that snowshoe.  The Internet turned thirty years old which I discussed in length.
  • April: This was the month my great adventure started.  I didn't advertise it much since I was afraid to jinx myself.  I started my Appalachian Trail hike.  I had my tablet with me so I could post everytime I took a zero day (a day with zero hiking miles) in town.  In April I hiked from Springer Mountain, GA to Fontana Dam, GA.  Along the way I got my trail name, Little Hill.
  • May: This month I hiked from Fontana Dam, GA to Damascus, VA.  Along the way the Wife's niece got married.  I passed my first Camino distance in the same month I celebrated my Caminoversary.  I left Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina behind.
  • June: This month I hiked from Damascus, VA to Waynesboro, VA.  I passed multiple distance records, including my second Camino distance and longest day ever, making my AT hike my longest ever both time and distance wise.  I celebrated Hike Naked Day in a rundown hotel room in Buena Vista, VA.
  • July: This month I hiked from Waynesboro, VA to Port Clinton, PA.  I crossed the one thousand mile milestone.  The Wife met me in Harper's Ferry and approved of the beard.  I celebrated my fifty-sixth birthday alone in a hot room in Duncannon, PA.
  • August: This month I hiked from Port Clinton, PA to Bennington, VT.  I had my first major accident on the AT, tripping and cutting my forehead.  This is where my forward progress began to slow down.  The rocky trails in Rocksylvania was the beginning of the slowdown.
  • September: This month I hiked from Bennington, VT to Gorham, NH.  After a few long hiking days, I continued the slow down.  While the slow down started before Bennington, it accelerated from this point on.  The White Mountains, while being the most beautiful part of the AT that I saw, was the most difficult hike I have ever done.  At the end of the month I decided to end my AT hike due to my body, and mind, not recovering enough at the end of my hiking days.  My body and mind were just tired and so I came home.  The trail gave me the parting gift of a Moose and a thru-hiker friend I hadn't seen in a couple months.
  • October: This month was a time for recovery from the aches and pains of my adventure.
  • November: I was a bit quiet in November.  Still letting my AT experience soak in.  Near the end of the month things began to look clearer.
  • December: The anticipation for our Patagonia trip dominated this month.  The trip will start this year and end in the next.  I will post about that adventure next month.
  • Walking: When it comes to walking, I think you know what dominated this year.  I hiked 1,952.8 miles (3,142.7 km) on the AT.  This is more than the 1,893.7 miles (3047.6 km) that the AT Guide says but my number includes hiking off the AT to shelters and water sources.  The total millage for the year, which includes hikes before and after the AT is 2083.7 miles (3353.4 km).  This is the most I've ever done in a year.  I hiked one hundred and sixty times averaging 13.02 miles per hike.  This is a year of hiking that I will never, ever, be able to match again.  I will also never, ever, forget my experience on the AT.  As an aside, I also snowshoed this spring before I left.  I added 19.7 miles (31.8 km) over five snowshoe outings.
  • Biking: This year I didn't ride my bike at all.  This was mainly due to the fact that I was on the AT during the prime biking months.
  • Books: Since I was going to be away for six months in a situation where carrying a book or keeping a tablet charged for ebook reading was not convenient, I set a more modest goal of ten books to read this year.  I managed to meet my goal with six days to spare.  Here are my Goodreads stats for 2019.  I didn't read any real clunkers this year nor did I find a gem.  Most of my books were in the four star range with only a handful of three star 'MEH' reads.  We'll see if I can up the number in 2020.
  • Concerts & Shows:  Again, due to the my AT adventure, we went to very few shows in 2019.  The only one was the live Moth podcast event we attended before I left for the AT.
  • I posted 99 times this year - the lowest since I started Homer's Travels in 2006.  The AT, while giving me a lot to write about, limited how many posts I could write.  Having said this, I am surprised how much I actually posted along the trail.
2019 was quite an adventure.  I'm not sure what 2020 will bring.  Politics ... naturally ... but where will I go?  What will I see?  What will I do?  The AT was the last thing on the plan I made in 2012.  Now I move forward into the relative unknown and I think I may just have to sit down and make a new plan.

Here's to a Happy and Prosperous New Year for all.
May all your dreams come true in 2020.

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