Hello, friends! I've been hard at work on the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail thru-hiker surveys, and so my 2019 recap post (this post) has taken a backseat. But it's still January, so I have met my self-imposed deadline for a look back at 2019 (while it's still fresh(ish) in my mind).
I'll start where I normally do, with a look at my (and your) favorite posts of the year.
- A total of 76 posts were published on Halfway Anywhere this year (up 46% from 2018).
- I continued the Continental Divide Trail saga (which will, hopefully, come to a close this year).
- The seventh annual Pacific Crest Trail Survey was published (and this year I (actually) will do some comparison posts with past surveys).
- The fourth annual PCT Survey Gear Guide was published (more comparison posts coming here as well).
- I got illustrated by thru-hiker First Row (I still need to print and frame this).
- We examined the first thirty years of my time here on Earth (so far, so good).
- Everyone finally learned the great mystery as to how to get your PCT trail name.
- I attempted to launch the now-failed Halfway Anywhere Store (perhaps we will revisit this in the future).
- I went over my reasons for starting the Pacific Crest Trail for a second time (and why I quit this time around).
- We finally answered the question which is better, the PCT or the CDT (and why I'm never hiking the Appalachian Trail).
- I got around to publishing some of my guides to some of my favorite hikes in Tasmania.
- I went down the rabbit hole and made a far-too-detailed spreadsheet of my Japan Alps traverse.
- I published guides to hiking the Timberline Trail and the Wonderland Trail.
I began the year in Japan – where I've spent some time every year for the past seven years (2020 might be the first year I don't make it back) – and then moved onto the place that launched Halfway Anywhere – Brazil (although the Halfway Anywhere of today can largely be attributed to the Pacific Crest Trail).
Then, I made a quick (but significant) stop in Greece where I walked around some islands, made some cat friends, drank some wine, and met @paulinadao (this last detail becomes important later on – for anyone who hasn't been paying much attention to the evolution of Mac this year).
Upon returning to the States in May, I almost immediately began my second Pacific Crest Trail hike. I spent two months on the trail before deciding to get off in Tuolumne (Yosemite), purchase a car (Subaru Outback), and pursue a relationship with @paulinadao (I told you that last bit was important). This led to me starting up a many-month introductory crash course into climbing (particularly bouldering) and spending a lot of time in Yosemite and in the Eastern Sierra.
I took my new adventure-mobile out to Colorado (by way of Utah) where I went stand-up paddleboarding down a river and some Class III rapids, packed a giant inflatable pegasus/unicorn into the Holy Cross Wilderness, and then ventured up to Wyoming to revisit some of the Continental Divide Trail and the Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range (need to get back here and do some climbing).
But then, I got back to the trail, hitting the Wonderland Trail, Timberline Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail (not my jam), and the Lowest to Highest Route before winter set in to prep the mountains for some snowboarding and (planned) snowshoeing. Sprinkle in a trip to PCT Days, a couple of days in Mexico, some PCT trail magic, a month spent on the East Coast visiting friends, and a car accident (yes, my car was rear-ended just a couple months after I purchased it) and that's basically 2019.
In case you're not keen on all the above text, here's a more succinct breakdown of where I got to in 2019:
Notable Events and Adventures
- I made Sacramento, California my new home base (with @paulinadao).
- I spent more time in the USA than I have since 2012 (the purchase of my car definitely helps the being in the US).
- I bought a car which helps to explain why I spent so much time in the USA (a 2019 Subaru Outback for those wondering).
- I hiked my longest day ever at 52.71 mi / 84.83 km (in the Desert portion of the Pacific Crest Trail).
- I began seriously climbing for the first time (mostly bouldering).
- I used a Peloton for the first time (I can see why people are into these things – maybe I should do another bicycle tour).
- I went up my first multi-pitch (and single-pitch) climb and learned how to place gear.
- I attended my first Pacific Crest Trail Days in Cascade Locks, Oregon (basically a large PCT hiker gathering/party and/or small outdoor gear expo).
- For the first time, I hiked through California's Sierra Nevada whilst it was covered in snow (very exciting, highly recommended).
- I took a tour of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in a small passenger aircraft.
- I ate at my first three-star Michelin restaurant (and any-star Michelin restaurant for that matter).
- I spent a month on the East Coast visiting friends from the trail and elsewhere (if I tell you that I'm going to visit you, I'm not kidding).
- I saw Hamilton and The Lion King (on Broadway – not that terrible CGI movie) – did you know I love musicals?
- I went into the Wind River Range and spent a couple of nights sleeping in and/or around the Cirque of the Towers (Wyoming).
But who cares about where I was. What about the places I walked around and/or up? From what I can remember, I could have been found at/along the following at some point during the year.
Trails, Hikes, and Stints in the Mountains
- The Pacific Crest Trail (from Campo, CA to Yosemite National Park)
- The Wonderland Trail (Washington, USA)
- The Timberline Trail (Oregon, USA)
- Some short and random day hikes around various Greek Isles.
- The Lowest to Highest Route from California's Death Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney (except that I didn't reach the summit because of winter arriving).
- A couple of days on the Tahoe Rim Trail (I probably won't be back to finish the rest of it)
- Pico da Tijuca (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
- Pedra da Gávea (my favorite hike in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
- My first (and my second) stand-up paddleboard adventures (courtesy of @dylan.h.brown)
So what's on the agenda for 2020? As with every year, I cannot say for sure, but I can make some predictions (if you want to see what I got right – and wrong – for 2019, you can check out my 2019 predictions from early 2019). Something I can be sure of (so long as I don't die first) – there will be more climbing, more backpacking, and more traveling. I'll publish a detailed plans and predictions post next week.
And friend (because if you've made it this far into this personal post), THANK YOU for reading and for being a part of the journey. Your emails, comments, and occasional hand-written letters keep me motivated and knowing that I am not simply shouting into the void that is the internet (although even if this is the case, I will likely continue to write).
Make good decisions, friends.