I've got about two weeks before I begin my quest to hike every day for a year. I'm quite excited but also apprehensive. Failure is not really a concern; what I will consider a success is what bothers me. Merely hiking every day is not enough. A challenge is what I'm looking for, something beyond just going through the motions. With that in mind, I have decided to set up some ground rules.
1. All hikes must be on unpaved ground. No hiking around Disneyland or the San Diego Zoo or New York City. Dirt, sand, gravel or rock only. OK, snow and ice count because sometimes the ground is covered but no pavement. Hiking on pavement is not acceptable.
2. All hikes must be 1/2 an hour or more. Now, I know a measly half an hour doesn't sound like much to many seasoned hikers but let's be real here. I'm not retired. I have kids who need attention and a taxi service. Were I to become a hiking hobo, my wife would probably divorce me and since she's put up with me for this long I don't want to take that chance. Besides, you can see some really wonderful things on even a short hike. At least that's what I'm hoping.
3. All hikes only count for the calendar day on which they start. Say I do a moonlight hike. It starts at 10:30p.m. and finishes at 12:30 a.m. That's ONE hike for one day. It doesn't count as two. Now, if I start another hike at 12:35, I'll count that but it has to last at least a half an hour. But that brings my next rule.
4. The same hike cannot be taken on consecutive days. There are some people who do the same hike on the same trail, every day, at the same time, with the same people. And while I admire their commitment and consistency, that won't do for me. I want variety and adventure. I want to explore new areas and expand my experiences. Doing the same thing over and over again is tedious and mind numbing. And what I said about admiring people who do the same hikes all the time. That was a total lie. Those people are totally boring and I won't be hiking with them. EVER.
I'm sure I'll think of other "rules" before my little experiment begins on January 1, 2009 but four rules are more than I have ever followed up to this point in my life, so if I am able to keep just those, I will consider this endeavor a great success.