Dream It. Plan It. Do It. How to Make Adventures Happen

It's the beginning of a new year, which means we're all probably staring at the guidebooks on our shelves or favorited photos on Instagram and making promises to ourselves. This is the year we hike the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim. This is the year we summit Mount Whitney. This is the year we finally book that trip to the Himalayas.


How many years have you made those promises to yourself only to reach November, dig out that resolution list, and wonder where all the time went?

My friend Scott rarely seems to have that problem. In 2014, he put 1153.3 miles on various pairs of hiking boots all over the west coast. There are only a few kinds of people who can spend that much time hiking - through-hikers, outdoor athletes, professional vagabonds, and the very, very organized.

hiking spreadsheet Detailed planning in a color-coded spreadsheet.

Scott is organized. So organized that he knows down to a tenth of a mile exactly how much he hiked last year. So organized that he's also drilled down that distance into various geographic regions. So organized that he also keeps track of monthly driving distances, gas costs, and permit fees. He has a detailed online spreadsheet with all of this information for each year and before you ask, yes, it's color-coded.

This attention to detail also extends to the days before a hike, too. Scott plans out his hiking trips weeks or sometimes months in advance - even when it's just a quick trip to a local trail. And that's the dirty little secret about these adventuring resolutions - sure, spontaneity is fun, but most of the time these trips don't happen if you don't plan them.

guide books

Here are some helpful tips to make sure you make the most of your 2015 outdoors trips:

It's much more difficult to break an already existing plan than it is to let a half-baked idea fall by the wayside. If you're planning a trip to Zion in the spring, book those camp sites now - and consider leaving a day or two on the back end for some unscheduled exploring or in case you want to spend some more time in a place you thought you'd just pass through.

Whether it's a routine weekend dayhike or that epic backcountry peak-bag that's been on your list for too long, find an equally eager partner to come with you. Not only can they help you split gear weight and gas money, but they'll keep you from canceling your plans if something comes up (and, if they're organized, too, they can take care of some of those pesky permits for you!)

If you can't bring someone along to hold you accountable, we have the wide world of social media to help us out. Announce your travel resolutions at the beginning of the year, and check in at the start of every month. If you keep telling people you'll be Instagramming a selfie from Phantom Ranch, you'll have to answer when August rolls around and no one's seen the pic yet.

Hey, no one said you can't have room for last minute unplanned adventures! If that's more your speed, make sure your gear is always packed and ready to go. That way, if the wanderlust strikes you on a Saturday morning, you can ditch the laundry and errands, grab the daypack, and go get your adventure on instead!


posted by
Casey Schreiner
Blogger at Modern Hiker
Casey Schreiner writes Modern Hiker, Los Angeles' oldest and most-read hiking blog. Casey's been encouraging Angelenos to explore the world-class hiking beyond the Walk of Fame since 2005. When not exploring trails, Casey is a freelance television writer and producer. Keep up with Casey on Twitter and on Instagram .
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