Well, That Went By Quick
It feels like yesterday that Joe Wilderness hit the internet, hoping for some folks to get a giggle out of some simple hiking stories. It wasn’t yesterday. Yesterday I spent most of the day laying on the couch watching The Mandalorian over and over. But 2019 feels like it zipped by real quick, right? It’s almost over already and we’re being graced by the all-emcompassing disgustingness that is Winter. Like last year, I’m hoping to make the most of it.
I’ve got a weekend of survival-style Winter camping coming up with Bushman Zack and a new buddy, Tyson. Then, just after Christmas, when winter should officially end, Lauren and I will be headed to Indonesia for a month to escape the snow and reconnect with the soul of the Earth. Once I’m forced back in to these white-out conditions, I’m hoping to spend a weekend further testing my winter tent with my bro-in-law Ian, ice fishing and spending the night on the frozen creek. But that’s then, this is now. And I’m not here to talk about the future. I’m here to share some of my favorite moments from 2019. In Part 1, I’m going to focus on some of my favorite photos and moments, including some stuff I haven’t posted anywhere yet. In Part 2 in a few days, I’m going to break down my 2019 hikes by the numbers and share some other fun moments.
Winter, I Did My Best
It’s not that I’ve never been outside, but to say I hibernate is also not far from the truth. In early 2019, I decided to not waste away the winter and to try to participate. I walked from Ingleside to Cornwall, about 24kms, one afternoon to test winter gear before heading in to the mountains with all kinds of new stuff. I learned a lot. Mostly to pack extra camera batteries. Ugh. You’d be amazed how often I do stupid things for someone who is a self-proclaimed genius. Irregardless (anybody? anybody??), I snagged a couple Adirondack High Peaks in Winter. Sawteeth & Big Slide mountains taught me a lot about myself as a hiker and I won’t soon forget the experiences of those mountains, completely alone, in icy, wintery conditions. Read all about Sawteeth here and my emotional hike of Big Slide here. Here are some of my fave photos from those trips:
A New Friend In The Form Of An Old Friend
While my first, short hiking season in 2018 was patched together with whoever was free to join, whoever was interested, I started 2019 out as a solo hiker. Full of ambition with a packed schedule, I was prepared to hit all kinds of High Peaks as a solo hiker if I had to. I was committed to getting as many as I could. Then my hiking world changed when an old friend came back in to my life in a big way. Complete with my new hiking partner, 2019 was about to become the year of Joe Wilderness & Johnny Mountaintop. Now, I can’t imagine seeing any summit without him. I think Joel and I push each other, teach each other and don’t mind being around each other. That’s a pretty good equation for winning. Here are some of my favorite JW/JM winning moments – including the time he made me climb Mt. Marcy by accident. I figure if I keep saying he made the mistake, eventually the world will buy it.
Jay Z? Never Heard Of Him
The Diamond Is Forever
Let's Make Some YouTube Videos. Nah....
While I’m getting more comfortable putting my beautiful face on camera, speaking to a camera when no one else is around is still pretty friggin’ weird to me. Twice this summer I decided “Why the heck not, let’s do it” when it came to filming some videos. The idea was to take you guys to the summit with me/us and show you some of the awesome views I was experiencing. Well, YouTube didn’t go as planned. In these two unreleased videos, I show you two ridiculous attempts. In the first, I was alone, about to summit Tabletop Mountain. I literally thought I was 2 mins from the summit. The idea was to start filming the final few steps and show you guys the view from the summit. Nope. Those damn “Adirondack Miles” came in to play again. I was more like 15 mins from the summit. So I kept filming. The only sounds in the entire, unedited 16 minutes of footage are the following: me huffing and puffing my way up the trail, me saying Fuck twice, greeting a couple passersby and then me hocking a disgusting loogey. We make it to the summit, but there was no grace about it. Zero. But you get a good idea of the muddy terrain us Adirondack hikers experience.
The second video was on a day when Johnny Mountaintop and I were a little too ambitious. We got to the summit of Gray Peak. Already tired from hiking Mt Marcy the day before, we should’ve called it a day. But we decided we would go from Gray over to Skylight. And so, the video was taken from the summit of Gray Peak to show you where we were headed next. The idea would be to then film from Skylight to also show you where we had come from and the contrasting views. We hiked down Gray Peak and were dead tired and decided to bail on Skylight. And thus, bail on the dual-summit video. In hindsight, it’s pretty amusing. Check out both videos right here for the first time. But beware, you better know how to fast-forward on YouTube for that longer video! Ridiculous.
Coming Up In Part 2
And that right there is why I am not yet doing YouTube videos. How freakin’ awkward. I’ll get over it. In 2020 I’m hoping to do my first series of videos. These will focus on passing on some of the knowledge I’ve gained as a beginner hiker to other potential beginner hikers. We’ll see how that goes….
Part 2 of my 2019 summary will come your way in a few days. I’ll be summarizing my 2019 hikes by the numbers – how many KMs did I actually hike this year? How many mountains did I climb? How many times did I pee on my own pants and not say something to my companions? Things like that. I’ll also be touching on some of the biggest mistakes I made this year and look towards fixin’ em. I’ve said it before, but know that it is a mistake to listen to catchy things like Beyonce the night before you hike alone. Singing Independent Women is fine for, maybe, 15 minutes. Twelve hours is pushing it. If only there were video of me doing my Joker dance, through the snow, alone on a mountain, singing so well I’m putting Beyonce to shame. One day. I’ll leave you with a few more of my fave photos from this year’s adventures. See you in a few days.