To be honest, this year hasn’t turned out quite how I might have liked. Many of my trips, upgrades and personal goals have been put on hold for one reason or another.

I’d like to make excuses for all of these things, but life is full of changes, and sometimes they can knock you on your butt. I didn’t plan on my Jeep needing an engine replacement, Niecie’s car getting totaled or moving. Yes, this year has been fraught with challenges.

Work has been one of my biggest yet. As the only full-time staff reporter for a weekly paper, I write a lot. Unfortunately, means by the end of the day I’m not always eager to sit back down at my keyboard to write a blog post. Or… get… or stay active.

This spring I started hiking again. I racked up a few dozen miles by mid-May, but not long after that, things got complicated. As the summer temperatures rose, I took a break from one of my favorite hobbies. That break, intended to last just a few weeks at most, has become more of a hiatus.

Niecie hikes alongside my mother and my stepfather Mark during a visit in July to one of our favorite hiking spots, Jay Cooke State Park.

Now, I’m left this burning desire to hit the trails once again. I miss the feeling of the soft yet firm ground under my feet and the warm glow of the mid-day sun on my back.

I’ve committed to making the most of these short days and fitting a hike in at least once a week. As always I’ll bring my camera along and do my best to share with you the small discoveries I make on these walks in the woods.

I’ll also share details from my hikes including the location, weather, altitude, the distance traveled along with a detailed GPS map of my route. I’ll have a post on how to share your GPS tracking data online too.

After a year of getting knocked on my butt, I’m not done getting back up. This year may not have turned out the way I’d hoped, but it’s far from over and time to make the most of it. And, if I’m going to reach my goal by the end of the year, I’d better get started.

Niecie and I hiking in Jay Cooke State Park back in July.

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