Last week, a day after I hiked Boucher Hill, I passed the two year mark. It's been two years since I saw the San Diego Sierra Club's List and decided I wanted to hike them all and write a guidebook about it. It's been two years since I hiked Iron Mountain for the first time, excited at my newly-found fitness, running the entire way down.
I had hoped to be farther along that I am. But in other ways, I am exactly where I want to be. I've been asked by many what I plan to do after I complete all 100 peaks. Most of the time my answer is, "There are a lot more than 100 peaks in San Diego." But in other ways, I have loftier goals.
This site nets me no money. I hope to change that somehow, not by endless advertising, but offering my readers something of value. Something useful. I am not sure in what shape, besides my book, that it will be, but it's bound to be something.
These hikes and blog posts take a lot of time to do. I usually have at least an hour or two of prep-work, including scouring the net for information and maps, staring at Google Earth and TOPO maps for hours, and getting my gear ready. Then it's the hike itself, which typically involves a lengthy drive to the trailhead (my car takes 91 octane gasoline), sometimes a day of hiking, and then the return drive. After that, I edit my photos into two categories, actual size for photo sites like Flickr and Panoramio, which involves uploading the images, renaming them, adding tags, and geolocating them manually, and another size for the post itself. I then import and edit my video from the hike, export it and upload it to YouTube and Vimeo. I then make a map by exporting an image from Google Earth and add landmarks in Photoshop. Then I write the post, inserting photos with captions and embedding the video. After that, I log my peak on sites like PeakBagger and Peakery. I then update my peaks map and update the table on my peaks page.
All the while, I am trying to find time to: - Write about parks, agencies and organizations - Keep my WordPress and plugins up to date - Reorganize my gear page - Keep up to date on San Diego outdoor current events - find a way to "monetize" all of this work - Manage my family, day job, running a household, etc.
Why do I do it? The three greatest things of value I get from doing all of this:
1. The thrill of completion. While hiking up Black Mountain this morning, a thought came to mind:
Nothing is both so completely challenging and rewarding at the same time as climbing a mountain.
Of course that's just my opinion.
2. The exercise I get from hiking regularly. It's great. It keeps me from being a million pounds, since my only competitor for my love of hiking is my love of pizza. (Family not included, of course)
3. People. The people I've met have been great. Social media has allowed me to become a friend or mentor to plenty of people. I love comments on my blog posts and interacting through Twitter and Facebook. But my biggest reward is someone telling me that I've encouraged them to get outside. That's great. If I never get another penny for my efforts, I will be happy just to make an impact on someone's attitude towards the outdoors. If someone goes out into the wilderness, likely they will fight to save it.
Regrets? Only a few. Mostly it's the time away from my family, since they cannot join me on most of my hikes. Since that is often the case, my second regret is the small time I allow myself at the summits of the mountains I climb. I soak in the views, take my pictures and record my video, but often my mind is on my wife and daughter at home and I want to be back with them as soon as possible. So I quickly head back down the trail, even though I would thoroughly enjoy much more time at the peak.
But it's the journey, not the destination, right? Which brings me back to the beginning if this post. I am OK with not being done with the 100 peaks yet, since, until I am done, I am still on the journey.
Thank you all for reading and participating. I truly enjoy our interaction. Tonight I will raise a glass of red and toast my friends of the wilderness. May the next two years be just as enjoyable as the previous two.